The Book of Threes

07/07/07: Is This Your Lucky Day?

If they only knew what the Chinese were thinking.

The number seven is considered lucky due to its frequent and favorable appearance in the Bible, say historians.

"As the number of the days of God's first week, of the levels of heaven…of the numbers of angels and trumpets, etc., the number came in the last few centuries BCE to represent divine perfection," said David Frankfurter, professor of religious studies and history at the University of New Hampshire. "Something organized seven-fold meant that it corresponded to God's own arrangement."

Numbers control our fate?

Just as some people wouldn't dare get married on a Friday the 13th or live in a house with the address 666, believing in the positive influence of the number seven is just another technique humans use to have some jurisdiction over the chaotic world around them, said Frankfurter.

“In our modern American society we have a tendency to look for magical ways to control the world or fate, so numerology is especially important for us,” Frankfurter said.

The obsession with numerology—and other para-sciences like astrology—tends to get stronger especially during significant life events like marriages, he added. "It represents Americans' rather weak (compared to Asian cultures') attempt to exert some numerical or calendrical control over important life-cycle, transition, or other crisis situations," Frankfurter told LiveScience.

Seven not lonely in luck

Trying to find meaning in numbers is a practice that goes back to ancient times, say historians, and doesn't begin and end with 6, 7 and 13.

There are many other numbers in the Bible that were thought to have sacred meanings, said Frankfurter, including twelve (for the tribes of Israel and the zodiac), five (books of Moses) and four (archangels, gospels).

Lucky numbers also vary from culture to culture, proving, skeptics say, that coincidental connections between an event and the influence of a number can always be found if you're looking hard enough, no matter what the digit.

Chinese culture, for example, associates "degrees" of luck according to how a number is pronounced. Eight, whose Chinese name rhymes with the words for prosperity and wealth, is considered particularly auspicious. The Beijing Olympics, as a result, will open next year at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008.

Oh, and many Chinese consider 7 a very unlucky number associated with death. Don’t tell the brides.

Author: admin

Three is the Magic Number

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