The Rainbow: Illusion “ye shall be as gods” Gen 3:5 Reality “a covenant between God and all living creatures Gen 9:16

06-16-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Leonard F. Villa

A recent article notes: A rainbow is an optical illusion. The latter term means: an image seen by the eye that differs from what is actually there. The rainbow occurs when sunlight hits water droplets, be they raindrops, mist from a waterfall, or fog. In order to be visible, the rainbow must be directly in front of the viewer, and the sun must be behind him….. Even though it seems to be an arc, a rainbow is actually a circle. An observer only sees the half above the horizon. Since the rainbow is an optical illusion, every viewer sees a different one. Vantage points and horizons differ.

“Every viewer sees a different one” can also describe the illusion of a rainbow-political-ideology where the rainbow is seen to stand for the power to determine human nature, marriage, sexuality, and gender as if there were no natural order, created by God, as if there were no God, no covenant, with each individual now a “god,” deciding good and evil." Its root error and intellectual disorder is described well here: If knowledge depends so much on the mind, if its possibility does not require that reality be its object, then truth has no solid ground on which to stand. Every notion becomes legitimate on the sole grounds of having been produced by an individual’s mind.

Some have called this ideology, correctly, “gaslighting” a term based on the play Gaslight, also a film with the same name. The plot involves a young woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is descending into insanity. Hence “gaslighting” involves distorting reality to cause persons to question their own eyes, judgment, and intuition. This illusion flourishes with ideologies claiming absolute power over everything. An example of this illusion is “political correctness.” The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what the progressives say about themselves and the world, progressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real as if what is correct politically—i.e., what thoughts serve the party’s interest— were correct factually. Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. (emphasis added) Angelo Codevilla

This particular illusion also carries with it anger, resentment, unhappiness, and the desire to cancel people who oppose it. Here is part of the reason: …the refusal to accept and admit things …that are not totally created by the mind of man and therefore perfectly manageable by him. This is …only another side of a desire for absolute independence and an unlimited desire for power. As long as such a will collides on all sides with the reality it did not create, then what remains except to throw itself into revolt against reality, and to seek assistance in outbursts of violence that nothing is able to appease? Because all reality, then becomes truly unbearable … This is why, in rage at not being able to create, the person becomes anti-creator. (emphasis added) Schmitz, Progrès social et Révolution This reflects something called “nihilism” (literally, nothingism), a disillusionment with the government and all forms of authority, a rejection of religious authority, the espousing of atheism and rationalism, and the use of violence for political change.

The rainbow is really a reflection of God as Creator, His majesty, and His love for us. And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” A writer reflects this way: The rainbow is generally a positive symbol in Western culture. The natural phenomenon signifies the end of a rain event, evoking the emotional well-being of light emerging after the darkness of a storm.

The Hebrew word underlying ‘rainbow’ is (qešet). It occurs 76 times in the Bible. Among these citations, only two passages unambiguously use this term to mean rainbow: Ezekiel 1.28 uses the rainbow as a simile to describe the divine presence: Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Sirach 43.11–12 refers to the rainbow encircling the vaulted sky as a testimony to God’s work as Creator: Look at the rainbow and praise him who made it, It is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness. It encircles the sky with its glorious arc; the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.

Otherwise, the Hebrew word qešet is used in almost all other 72 instances in the Bible to refer to the bow as an instrument of war or hunting, or figuratively as a symbol of power and authority. Even when used a second time in the book of Sirach, comparing the High Priest Simon to a rainbow (Sir. 50.7), there is undoubtedly the intention to convey power and authority along with beauty; (qešet) is frequently paired with other weapons and in the constructions ‘bend the bow’ and ‘draw the bow’, reflecting the weapon’s physical use. This brief survey indicates that the overwhelming use of the word ‘bow’ in the Hebrew Bible is as a metaphor for warfare. ‘Bow’ occurs in a small number of Bible-passages that the Lord’s intention is to bring an end to conflict by breaking or abolishing the bow: He will cut off [the] chariot from Ephraim and [the] war horse from Jerusalem; [the] bow of battle will be cut off, and he will speak peace to the nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from River to [the] ends of earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; bow he breaks, and spear he shatters; chariots he burns with fire. I will cut for them a covenant on that day with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will break bow, and sword, and war from the earth; and I will make them lie down in safety. Zech. 9.10, Ps. 46.9, Hos. 2.18

There is a striking similarity in Hosea and the establishment of the covenant through the sign of the bow in Genesis 9.8– 16. The unit that forms Hosea 2.16–23 In that day I will make a covenant for them, with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in[f] love and compassion I will betroth you in[g] faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. Similarly, God’s covenant in Genesis was with Noah and every living creature. In both passages the covenant will have implications for the whole earth. In Hosea, the sign of the covenant was the breaking of the bow, while in Genesis the sign is the setting of the bow in the clouds. Imagined as a weapon, the position of the bow in the clouds is doubly significant, since an arrow shot from that bow would be directed away from the earth.

See also: about another type of intellectual malaise. Regarding the rainbow and the Bible see'This%20is%20the,between%2 0me%20and%20the%20earth.