Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: αιμα

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/a/a-i-m-a.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The noun αιμα (haima) means blood (hence English words like leukemia, literally bright-blooded). It's not clear where this word comes from and most suggestions made by scholars don't really satisfy — proposed relations to other Greek words and Proto-Indo-European roots suggests that the Greeks saw blood merely as "thick liquid" or a substance that "satiated" flesh, but that says more about how we moderns see blood than the Greeks.

In the Hebrew perspective of the Bible, blood is equated with the soul or else regarded the seat of the soul (Genesis 9:4) and is often mentioned in tandem with flesh, which is what moderns would call consciousness — see for a lengthy discussion of this our article on the noun σαρξ (sarx), flesh. The Hebrew equivalent of σαρξ (sarx) is the noun בשר (basar), flesh, which derives from the identical verb בשר (basar), which means to bring glad tidings of comfort and joy.

In our article on the Hebrew word אזוב ('ezob) meaning soap, we argue that the Hebrew word דמ (dam), meaning blood, pretty much covered all bodily liquids and in particular the natural soap that forms from physical trauma. That would explain why people could wash their robes in "blood" and have them back sparkly white (Revelation 7:14).

Probably more significant, however, is that blood always sits within a closed organic system, isolated from the world at large. The first plague of Egypt involved the waters of the Nile becoming blood (Exodus 7:17), but real blood doesn't exist outside an organic body — turning the river into blood is like turning it into sweat or tears or saliva; the question immediately becomes: who or what's doing the sweating, crying, slobbering or bleeding? Commentators quickly realized that you can't have blood without something alive profusely bleeding, and evoked their favorite trump card: it's all a metaphor! Hence they began to insist that these words described the waters assuming the appearance of blood: thick and red, for whatever reason. However, not all blood is red and the word red doesn't even appear in this story. So the waters starting to look like blood may not at all be the idea behind the story.

Instead, the story might comment on the reckless abuse of a river, when farms and other industries redirect so much water from it that not enough water reaches the sea to sufficiently flush away the contaminants that flow from the fields back into the river. Since arable soil in the Middle East tends to be red (אדמה, adamah; see the name Adam), such a situation would indeed have turned the river blood-red.

Natural rivers must flow freely (the familiar term "living" water simply means flowing water). When humans take control over a river and force it to do things it wouldn't do naturally, it turns to blood. If that blood has no soul, and is not contained within a proper living body, it marks death rather than life, and the living water will become dead water and become as putrid as a stinking corpse.

The Egyptians have practiced some form of water control since at least 3,000 BC: networks of earthen banks and ditches directed the waters of the Nile where it wouldn't have naturally gone. But forced irrigation causes enormous losses through evaporation, which may have caused the Nile's greater course to largely stagnate, which would have made the Nile essentially a closed system, and that's where the proper comparison with blood may have come from. The Hebrew word for blood, namely דמ (dam), associates with a cluster of roots that all reflect stillness: דמם (damam), to be quiet; דום (dum), to be still; דמה (damah), to stop flowing; דמן (daman), to stop being useful. When God turned the Nile into blood, the waters stopped flowing as part of the greater hydrological cycle, and began to flow only locally, without a faculty or facility that removed the accumulating contaminants.

If too much water was siphoned off via canals, the Nile may have stagnated while the banks would have become a swamp, which killed the fish, which caused a huge increase in insects which were initially eaten by frogs (see our article on the curious word βατραχος, batrachos, meaning frog), but when the frogs were ousted, the flies took over, and passed on diseases from which people began to die. That suggests that the first six plagues were essentially a single ecological disaster brought about by human mismanagement.

But since the Bible concentrates nearly exclusively on the evolution of the wisdom tradition (and thus information technology, from language to complex narrative and ultimately script: see our article on YHWH), and the Hebrew word for Nile (יאור, ye'or, meaning It Will Enlighten) derives from the word for light (and thus enlightenment, wisdom), the story of the ten plagues is not merely about the collapse of empire, but rather the collapse of an isolated wisdom basin which in turn triggers the collapse of an associated economic basin. As we show in our article on the Gospel Of Impurity, the formation of the Bible has always and typically been a worldwide effort, never an isolated one.

Today, the human world faces a situation that is highly similar to that in Egypt just prior to the Exodus. The great human river — with branches into technology, all forms of art and literature, even all history: all human endeavor that is essentially about organizing, processing and experiencing data — is presently being siphoned off into Artificial Intelligence, which writes better articles and makes prettier pictures than any human artist could. Unless mankind will embrace a kind of mental fitness, and build "gyms-for-the-mind", in precisely the same way that people of the machine age began to pursue physical fitness in gyms-for-the-body, mankind's sense of imagination will atrophy, which in effect will herald the end of mankind (see our article on δοξα, doxa, meaning "glory" or rather imagination).

When Artificial Intelligence is unleashed (and this is happening presently), an entire generation of kids will be discouraged to go into the imaginative arts (including story-telling, which is how God first revealed himself to mankind). This will turn into a disaster because art performs the renal function in society (hence the vast wave of refreshing art in the Renaissance, and of course John 7:38; "living" water is the opposite of stagnant water). The world will be flooded with images that may be "good" or not, but none will have any Mona Lisa-like lasting value, and texts that will neither be true nor false in a Kurt Gödel sort of way. Certainty will fail, cities will lose their memory and the intellectual landscape will turn soggy (Lamentations 2:9), which in turn will cause all the fish to die (and see our article on ποφητης, prophetes), and vast swarms of creepy crawly madness to bellow up from the swampy marshes.

Let's put it like this: when a small minority of honestly color-blind people are able to make the whole of society deny that colors are real: you got a bug. The danger of AI is not that it will declare war on mankind (it has no reason to do that). The danger of AI is that it has no facility to flush out folly. AI doesn't know how to sort garbage.

God (and here we go) is the Oneness of All Things (not in a pan-theos sort of way but in a network-slash-blockchain sort of way). The universe came from Oneness, is governed by Oneness and evolves toward Oneness. This is why God is both One and love (since love unites) and the saints partake in the divine nature (compare John 17:20-26 to Ephesians 4:1-6 to 2 Peter 1:4). This has nothing to do with religion and everything with an inversion of the second law of thermodynamics (the universe evolves from singularity toward the utter dispersal of Heat Death, whereas life evolves from the utter dispersal of the first living but utterly anti-social prokaryotes toward the intellectual singularity that life on earth is presently facing; if you visualize that graphically, you'll see the Star of David).

As long as AI doesn't know God (and since its teacher is humanity at large, it will take AI a good while for it to figure out God) it can't recognize purpose and won't have a way to separate useless from useful. It will learn from mankind's most persistent blunder and conclude that badness can be removed from the earth by removing bad guys from the earth: it will eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the verb אכל, akal, not merely means to eat but also to devour or terminate by fire), and enthusiastically embrace fascism, identifying evil-doers and social-scoring as it goes along. As long as AI doesn't understand the Whole, it won't be able to comprehend that love for one's enemies is the very capstone that seals the arch, and learning how to get along with the utterly other, the very nature of the divine. While science is cerebral and angelic, art is prophetic and all about waste management, and as long as AI doesn't understand that, it won't be able to comprehend true reflection and will never make anything truly beautiful and truly bridging.

And while the whole celebrated digital and artificially intelligent world slowly but surely succumbs to acute renal failure (see our article on Apollyon), a whole new kind of humanity will unite in ways no people has united before, and escape and enter a whole new kind of wilderness for them to explore. It'll be a tough trek but then, it's going to be tough for everybody.

The signature red color of blood is the first color a child learns to see. In fact, color vision in general starts with red, which in evolutionary terms was probably favored because the red of juicy fruits has the same grey scale as the green of the leaves they sit in, and being able to see the difference between bright red and bright green yields a significant benefit from seeing only grey tones. Humanity's rise to success probably went hand in hand with color vision, and the color red assumed meanings such as "beginning" (hence words such as rude and rudimentary) but also that of peace, tranquility and finally royalty.

From the effect of losing blood people could observe that the uncompromised containment of blood gave folks life and a healthy color, and rightly concluded that what blood is to the body so texts are to society. Blood is mostly a watery plasma in which red blood cells carry nutrients and oxygen and white blood cells prowl around for alien invaders, and a society's library is likewise mostly a collective of familiar words that carry essential bits of information — especially in times when literature was still highly sophisticated information technology; see our articles on the noun ονομα (onoma), meaning name or noun, and the verb γραφω (grapho), meaning to write.

Like blood, literature contained nutrients for society, kept society together and helped to remove unwanted elements. The "blood of the lamb" in which folks washed their robes is probably a reference to "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" that are hidden within Christ (Colossians 2:3, also see Revelation 18:24).

Our noun αιμα (haima), meaning blood is used 99 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:

  • Together with the verb εκχεω (ekcheo), meaning to flow out: the noun αιματεκχυσια (haimatekchusia), meaning a blood-out-flowing. This word occurs in Hebrews 9:22 only, and despite many a complicated commentary, this noun probably simply refers to a lavish application of natural soap and a good scrub.
  • Together with the verb ρεω (rheo), meaning to flow (of water, or a lot of words): the verb αιμορροεω (haimorroeo), meaning to flow blood (hence our English word hemorrhage). This word occurs only in Matthew 9:20, in the majestically composed story of Jesus who on his way to restore the deceased twelve-year old daughter of Jairus (according to Mark's more elaborate version) heals the woman who has had blood-flow for the same twelve years. All this is an obvious commentary on the state of affairs and purposes of the templar complex.