12/31/2013 11:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Star Wars' Versus the Bible


A common expression that is found in the Bible is "Go in peace." It is an expression of greeting that is still used in contemporary Jewish circles today. When Jews are entering the synagogue they often say to each other shalom aleichem -- "peace be upon you." The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom." Interestingly, this word shares an etymological root with the word for complete -- shaleim. Finally, this word is also used as one of the names of the Creator (Talmud, Shabbos 10b). Peace, Completeness, Creator. Why would one word house all these meanings?

Cornelius Plantinga beautifully describes the concept of shalom as follows:

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call 'shalom.' We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight -- a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be." (Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin)

Perhaps this should be the Bible's new marketing phrase: "Shalom... the way things ought to be."