Day eighteen of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’ and I’m straying into unknown territory. I would not regard myself as a religious person but I have already done that bit. I have very little knowledge of any of the religious texts yet it was a book by AJ Jacobs called ‘The year of living biblically’ which gave me the loose idea for this challenge. You may recall that in the book the author tries to live his life taking every word of the bible literally. It is an enjoyable read that at times is intriguing, incomprehensible, funny and poignant. You should give it a go.
So if I can be inspired by a book could I be inspired further by delving deeper into a more spiritual meaning of life? I certainly don’t have time to question my lack of religious leanings so in the spirit of this blog I have set out to ask the question – Is God right-handed? I hope that this investigation is not too blasphemous.
Apparently for the most part it is not clear how many arms or hands God has yet there are many more mentions of his right hand than his left, which gets only a few. From what I can ascertain the Hebrew word for right is ‘yamiym’ which means stronger while the word for left is ‘smowl’ meaning dark. From this it is clear that God has a preference for the right hand. It is with this hand that he does good things.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy god: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. – Isaiah 41:10
The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly. The right hand of the lord is exalted. – Psalms 118:15-16
If God’s right hand is the good one then the implication is clear that the left hand is the opposite. It is the dark side.
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’… Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. – Matthew. 25:31-46
From this comes the common belief that we have good people on our right and not so good on the left. It reminds me of the old Tom and Jerry cartoons in which Tom tried to be good yet was torn between the angel on his right shoulder and little devil on his left. Don’t forget to throw the salt over your left shoulder.
In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. – Psalms 16:11
It would seem therefore that God has two hands or at least two sides, one of truth and one of judgment. The right hand is offered in righteousness.
However, on the 22 June 1986, six minutes into the second half of the football World Cup match between England and Argentina, Maradona scored what would turn out to be the deciding goal. The ball clearly came off his left hand and into the net. He later described it as ‘a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God’.
Perhaps at times God is a little more ambidextrous.