Music Revealing the Great Ages of History


From apocalyptic theology, human history will have eight total ages of renewal from the Fall in the beginning all the way to the Second Coming and New Creation, inclusive. The eight phases of history each contain a nature like the earthly day: first part darkness, second part light, as in “evening came, and morning followed, the first day, the second day, etc...”. So then, each age is first part spiritual darkness, or sin, then second part spiritual light, or redemption. So history is like eight great steps of ascending joy when we consider the lights, and eight great steps of descending sorrow when we consider the darknesses. The two scales of music are then octave-ascending-joy scale, imaging the great phases of redemption, and octave-descending-sorrow scale, imaging the great phases of sin.

The primary amazing analogy is that just as the eight DAY in the week RETURNS one to the FIRST, and just as, likewise, the eighth NOTE returns one to the first via the OCTAVE, so humanity, as it were, in the final, that is, eighth, great phase of history, returns its condition to the first. More specifically, the first age of man is the Fall and the Wickedness of Noah’s Day (darkness), followed by the Flood (light), and the final, that is, eighth, age is the Great Apostasy at the end of the world, followed by the Second Coming and Eternal, New Creation.

The parallels are immediate and even suggested by Christ (“as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man”) and St Peter (see 2 Peter 3, where St Peter compares the world at the beginning, wicked and destroyed by water, with the world at the end, wicked and destroyed by fire). Put more succinctly, the world in Noah’s day is nearly totally wicked, sparing a remnant. Similarly, in the great apostasy, man is nearly totally wicked, sparing a portion of Gentiles and most Jews. In the beginning the world is destroyed by water, at the end, by fire.

Music, the Universal Language

Music is the ultimate language of the liturgy, and therefore should be the ultimate language for humanity. It is numeric, complex, and intertwined with emotions, and so, like letters of an alphabet, the notes can convey any experience whatsoever in a manner transcendent to any other vehicle or medium.

Music, the Ultimate Language of the Liturgy

But, it is also said by Holy Father Emeritus Benedict, where he himself echoes oceans of mystics, that the entire faith is summed up in the liturgy. But then, if the liturgy is the supreme image of the faith, and music is the ultimate transcendent language of the liturgy, then it follows, quite probably, that the whole of the essential dimensions of faith should be somehow mystically veiled in essential, natural music.

I have probed these questions and found, at a bare minimum, unbelievable analogies in the basic, natural, Western Music, that indeed summarize the near total essential dimensions of our faith.

Now, we don’t have time for an exhaustive treatment of all dimensions, suffice it to say, I will summarize the first three dimensions briefly and then show one of them, effectively the final one, in all its unbelievable coincidences (?!) of Catholic theology: the sacramental life.

Western Music Structure 101

Before we start the summaries, a word about music: let us look at basic laws of Western Music so that we have a frame of reference.

The The Nature of a Song is Independent of the Key

In particular, Western Music has a total of twelve notes. A key, as it is called, is a point of reference for a song that bases it in a particular spectrum. The key is arbitrary with regards to the intrinsic nature of a song, since what makes a song a song, for all practical purposes, are the chord progressions and technical improvisation relative to the base note of the key. For, since there are twelve total notes, the same song could be vertically shifted from one key to another, up or down, without changing the relative nature. You would play the same ideas, just at a higher or lower base pitch. The Key is Seven Total Notes

Moreover, any key has seven total notes related to it, including the base note of the key. These notes are, in a certain sense, basic and pure. They all “fit beautifully.” There are no real complexities. Moreover, if you traverse the seven notes starting at the base key and then, after the seventh note, continue to the eighth, this eighth step is actually the first note of the key only one “octave” higher. The simplest example of a pure key scale from common folk is

do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do.

The Octave Returns us to the First Note

See, then, the eighth note is “do”, like the first, only at a much higher pitch. Yet, you have returned to where you were before. This is exactly like the days of the week. We go through seven days, and when we reach the eighth day, we return to the first. We will probe this momentarily as concerns the great ages of God’s Plan in human history.

The Other Five Notes Besides the Key’s Pure Notes are Imperfect

We have mentioned the seven pure notes of the key. There are twelve total notes, so five are obviously left over for any key. The other five notes left over, of the twelve, are effectively sharp or flat to particular pure notes in the key. They don’t quite “fit”. They are, if not used creatively and intelligently, effectively, at least somewhat, “discordant”. In fact, based on this observation, we can say they are “imperfect”. We will also probe this later.

Piano Key of C is Best Visible Illustration of Nature of Western Music

Additionally, as a structure of illustration, for the ease of reference to these analogies, we will use what is more or less the best illustrative instrument, the piano, and, in particular, the key that is most appropriate for visual and the same structural example, the key of C. We all probably know that a piano has white and black keys across it is various arrangements that repeat after the octave. The reason we will use key of C is because the seven unique notes of the key of C are all of the white keys and ONLY the white keys, leaving the five black keys to be the imperfect, or sharp and flat notes. Hence, this is the best way to illustrate our analogies.

Now, some over-educated persons think that music is relativistic, meaning, there is no objective NATURAL music. This is not true. They argue, how do we know that what we are doing in partitioning the music period in this way is not actually just a cultural tradition that is not based in logic or rigor? For example, some other cultures besides the west, partition the period in different ways. For the explanation that Western Music is natural and builds on the basic natural law of harmonics, see this article, so we do not get sidetracked:

Western Music Structure is Not Relativistic but Objective and Natural

Now that we know that Western Music is not an arbitrary partitioning of the musical period and that, therefore, is based on natural law, we have argumentation that God could have instituted this thus as a means to communicate Divine mysteries. We shall now show that at least in circumstance, several simple but profound analogies of the music nature perfectly image Catholic doctrine.

The first one we shall look at is the major ages of human history in God’s Plan according to the Days of Creation model.

Since this article is about the Sacraments, we will only summarize here. For full reference, see this article:

The Days of Creation and the Octave as Image of the Great Ages of God’s Plan in History

Recall from above that there are seven notes in a pure key, and, when you reach step eight, you return to note one, where you started, as in, "do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do." We note, too, as we did before, that the days of the week bear the same nature: there are seven days in the week, and when we reach day eight, we return to day one. Returning to music, we note as well that in any key, there is a primary major scale (major chords and songs are "happy songs") and a primary minor scale (minor chords and songs are "sad songs").

Now, the days of creation seen in another writing of mine, per several Early Church Fathers, are an image of the greater ages of REcreation of man, his redemption. Further, when we break it down, each “age”, like a day, has the first part darkness [in this case, a spiritual phase of major sin in history] and second part light [a spiritual phase of God’s grace or victory in history] (“evening came morning followed, the first day, ... the second day...”). One can view this article here for reference:

The Creation Days and the Beast Heads as Image of the Whole of Salvation History

Suffice it say for now, the ages are as follows:

Day 1:
Darkness: The Fall and Wickedness of Noah's Day
Light: The Flood

Day 2:
Light: Confounding of tongues and formation of Hebrew People, Abraham

Day 3:
Egypt Enslaves
Light: Exodus, OT Kingdom, Prophets

Day 4:
Darkness: Pre-Exile Apostasy of Jews
Light: Babylonian Exile, Jewish Repentance, Restoration to Holy Land and Temple

Day 5:
Maccabees, OT Antichrist Antiochus
Light: First Coming of Christ, formation of Church

-- Coming of Incarnate One --

Day 6:
Pagan Rome persecutes (50 - 300~)
Light: Catholic Christendom and Development of Church doctrine (~300 - ~1950)

Day 7:
Minor Apostasy of Gentiles, 1950 - present
Light: [future] Minor Chastisement, Catholic Restoration, Age of Our Lady’s Peace, Fullness of Gentiles

Day 8:
Great Apostasy, NT Antichrist
Light: Second Coming of Christ, General Resurrection, New Creation

So then, salvation history can be seen as seven [eight] great steps of light, or Redemption (joy), or seven [eight] great steps of darkness, or sin (sorrow).

The Joyful Phases of Redemption ASCEND in Degree

The phases of light above are also surely an ASCENDING scale, since the joy in salvation history grows as God’s People, and more of the world eventually, grow in love of God, the objective of history. For example, in the Exodus, the Jews are indeed being delivered from slavery, but they are stubborn and quite sinful. Later, however, after the exile, in the restoration, after having been supremely unfaithful just prior to that exile and then restored, their relationship with God is stronger, and they are holier for it. Too, in the sixth light, an unbelievable transition occurs: prior to Constantine, the vast majority of the Gentiles are in darkness, paganism, and sin, but with the Church’s apocalyptic victory over pagan Rome, suddenly the largest and most advanced civilization in the world has been transformed into a world that at least knows God in full and has the Gospel. Hence, an even greater ascension of joy than the post-Exile Jewish renewal.

Still, the over the last some 1700 years, the Gentiles have kicked and screamed with the Gospel, in much the same way that the Jews did post-Egypt and before the Exile. Too, in our modern times, we see that private revelation strongly suggests that an imminent chastisement will renew the Gentiles incomprehendably into a civilization of love, of peace, to last as long as humanity wishes to cooperate with God’s grace, a far more substantial and loving conversion than the mere Middle Ages. In this suggested coming age of peace, the Gentiles’ embrace of the Gospel will be far more widespread than merely European Civilization and far more profound and heartfelt because of the painful lessons that the world will have learned in the impending chastisement of our times (showing them anew the need for the Church in all its fullness), even as we just mentioned that the Jews had a stronger more heartfelt relationship to God after the chastisement of the Exile that showed them in a supreme way their need for the love of God and faithfulness to His Covenant.

Hence, clearly, the scale that best represents the ages of joy in human history is ascending major, or, relative to our modeling key of C, the ascending scale of C up to C, eight notes, one octave.

The Sorrowful Phases of Sin DESCEND in Culpability and Degree

Without going into too much detail, a parallel but reverse situation exists for the scale of sorrow: the phases of sin are DESCENDING since each new phase of sin is MORE sinful and culpable than the one before, so as to make humanity falling farther and farther down to the ultimate sin at the end, the great apostasy. This is most easily seen in the New Testament darknesses. To start, note from the above list that the first darkness of NT history is pagan Rome. Here, sinful humanity, and the govt, rejects Christianity and viciously persecutes it. However, we can note that the world, as of then, did not fully understand the Gospel. They misunderstood Christians. As the love and courage of the Christians as brave, kind and benevolent persons progressively manifested itself through the persecutions, persons were won over.

Today, however, the modern renewed rejection of the Gospel in the former Christendom is more culpable, since Christianity has been present in history substantially. The European world and its derivatives have KNOWN God to a great degree, and found Him lacking. So the modern apostasy is more personal, more irresponsible.

Finally, at the end of the world, the Gentiles will have reached full culpability, since before that time, and after ours, God will have vindicated His Church and Her Teaching in the chastisement, showing humanity the terrible, even apocalyptic, consequences of not listening to Her. And were that not enough, He will even give to humanity that fullness of spiritual temporal peace for a great age, so that the full fruits of truly following His Gospel will show humanity God’s Infinite love and wisdom, Hence, when the great apostasy comes, man will be utterly culpable; they will not be able to say they didn’t know any better, nor that the have not seen the beautiful fruits of the Gospel lived and experienced nearly globally.

So, to cap up so far, the ages of Redemption can be seen as ASCENDING JOY, and the ages of sin DESCENDING SORROW.

The OCTAVE: The Eighth Age Brings us Back to the First

Now for mind blowing parallel: to octave! How? Well, what does the octave do? At step 8, you return to step 1, only one octave higher. Bingo! In the above history, day one is indeed like day eight, both in respective darknesses and lights! “As it was in the days of Noah [age one, the Fall and the Flood], so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man [age eight, the Great Apostasy and Second Coming].”

Yes! In day one, or age one, the world has fallen and quite quickly become, in Noah’s life, very wicked, sparing the righteous remnant of Noah and his family. Similarly, in day eight, or age eight, the world is likewise nearly totally wicked, the great apostasy, sparing remnant, a small portion of Gentiles and most of the Jewish People, who convert to the Gospel at that time. And in the light of day one, or age one, God DESTROYED the world, with WATER, and BEGAN to REDEEM it. In day eight, or age eight, God will DESTROY the world, by FIRE, and usher in the UTTERLY REDEEMED World that shall never end, the NEW CREATION.

2 Pet. 3:

Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] Saying: Where is his promise or his coming? for since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [5] For this they are wilfully ignorant of, that the heavens were before, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God. [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. [7] But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of the ungodly men. [8] But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance. [10] But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up.

Profound, huh?