The Sea and the Subconscious Mind

As the oceans make up the greatest part of the earth, the subconscious mind makes up the greatest part of our thinking processes. Let's examine scriptural references concerning the sea to discover if God is giving us insights into our innermost thoughts.

The sea, as every other part of creation, was good and without flaw: "Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear', and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good." (Gen 1:9-10)

The sea was fruitful and full of life: "Then God said, 'Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures' . . . So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind. . . And God saw that it was good." (Gen 1:20-21)

Adam and Eve were also good, and their minds were free to love and worship God. Their thinking must have been full of lively and delightful images and conceptions, full of the wonder of creation.

The next Biblical reference to the sea comes after the fall: "the Canaanites dwell by the sea . . ." (Num. 13:29) The Canaanites were known for idolatry. One of their chief gods was El, a god of fertility and creation, represented by a bull. Here we see a perversion of God's perfect abundance of life. What mankind refused to receive as a loving gift from God the Creator they tried to steal from Him by religious rituals and sacrifice. The second prominent god of the Canaanites was Baal, meaning master. Baal stands for power and destruction. Is this not a picture of the mind of fallen man? We want what we want, and we desire the power to get what we want any way we can.

What else is next to the sea? "Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea . . ." (Deut. 2:1) Most of human life since the fall has been barren of joy and full of emptiness and frustration. Twentieth century's most famous poem might be The Waste Lands by T.S. Eliot. When we became separated from God, we became separated from the wellsprings of life.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote that God put a boundary around the sea, and compared it to the people's defiant hearts:

"Do you not fear Me?" says the Lord.

"Will you not tremble at My presence,

Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea,

By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it?

And though its waves toss to and fro,

Yet they cannot prevail:

Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.

But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart.

They have revolted and departed." (Jeremiah 5:22-23)

Scripture tells us that the seas have channels in them: "Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils." (2nd Samuel 22:16) Similarly, the mind has certain channels of thought which repeat over and over. Some people call this "self-talk." It is generally destructive to the person himself, and also feeds areas of bitterness and resentment toward others.

As the sea is the home of the leviathan, the mind of unredeemed man is open to the influences of satan: "Can you draw out leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? . . . He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment. He leaves a shining wake behind him." (Job 41:1, 31-32b)

The sea is associated with rebellion: "Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders. They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea - the Red Sea." It was only after God rebuked the Red Sea that He led His people to safety, "and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy." (Ps. 106:7,10b) Similarly, the deep workings of our minds are very much involved in our rebellion against God. It is only when we allow Him to deal deeply with our innermost thoughts that God is able to lead us into holiness. As Paul wrote: "For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7 excerpts)

Concerning false believers, Jude wrote: "They are . . . raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame . . . for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." Truly we can see that, "The mind of sinful man is death." Rebellion, anger, rage, and spiritual blindness all have their centers in the inner recesses of the subconscious mind.

The unredeemed mind is fruitless:

"Be ashamed, O Sidon,

For the sea has spoken,

The strength of the sea, saying,

'I do not labor, nor bring forth children,

Neither do I rear young men,

Nor bring up virgins.'" (Isaiah 23:4)

What then, is the remedy which God is providing His people? His promise is this: "Now I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." (Rev. 21:1) No more sea! God will cure the subconscious mind by bringing everything into the light. Everything will be uncovered, everything laid bare before His holy gaze.

We, as believers, can enter this rest now, at this very time. As John wrote, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1st John 1:7)