Experience teaches us that fire is a destructive, devouring agent. Scripture teaches us that, short of miraculous intervention (the burning bush, Shadrach and friends), a fire that remains unquenched will consume that which it burns, leaving nothing behind but ashes (Jeremiah 17:27, Ezekiel 20:47).
Scripture also teaches that the fire which issues from God’s holy presence—sometimes called the eternal fire—is no different in this regard. God’s wrathful fire came down from heaven and annihilated Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:14-19, cf. 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 7). It consumed Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:2). Twice did Elijah call down fire from heaven to devour the king’s fifty men and their captain (2 Kings 1:9-11). Continue reading “Strange Fire: Distorting a Biblical Symbol”