Space and the Gods
So i was grading student papers this week and one of them made the comment tangentially that we always seem to think of god or the gods as looking down on us from above. This stopped me in my tracks and I thought “yeah, we do.” I’ve been wondering why ever since. I mean, it’s certainly a spatial representation of the implied hierarchy that exists between Gods and people. But there’s got to be more to it than that. There’s no theological reason for us to automatically position the Gods physically above us in space. This is particularly true of those traditions that hold that God or the Gods is/are everywhere. I find it funny and intriguing and very, very interesting that this seems to cross religious boundaries. Is it just the localization of religious iconography in temples and churches and other religious spaces that tend to place the images of the Gods above us or at least taller/higher than we? Does it just come down to the influence of art and architecture? Or is there something inherent in the religious experience that translates into this spatial presentation? Or is it something else all together or a combination of factors? What do you all think, folks?