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7 (Seven) - Is it a Magical Number?

Updated on December 8, 2009

Things That Come in 7's

Dice from ancient Pompeii (opposing faces add up to 7 - the same as modern dice).
Dice from ancient Pompeii (opposing faces add up to 7 - the same as modern dice).
7 "hills" (cities) of Rome
7 "hills" (cities) of Rome
The beast of Revelation, having seven heads and ten horns and rising from the sea.
The beast of Revelation, having seven heads and ten horns and rising from the sea.
Jesse James' 7-cylinder motorcycle (2800 CC)!
Jesse James' 7-cylinder motorcycle (2800 CC)!
The Smith & Wesson (S & W) Model 686, a seven shot double action revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum or .38 Special cartridges.
The Smith & Wesson (S & W) Model 686, a seven shot double action revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum or .38 Special cartridges.
7-Legged Deer:  "It was tasty"
7-Legged Deer: "It was tasty"

Ancient Traditions

The most ancient recognized significance of the number "7" is in the Torah and/or Bible. In the creation story of the book of Genesis, Genesis 2:2-3, NIV. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." Since that time, the number 7 has been recognized as the number of completion, perfection, and creation and as such, it has become a "holy" number. Exodus 20:11, NIV. "For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested the seventh-day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." After the creation story, 7 appears numerous times in the Bible.

The Egyptians had seven original and higher gods; the Phœnicians seven kabiris; the Persians, seven sacred horses of Mithra; the Parsees, seven angels opposed by seven demons, and seven celestial abodes paralleled by seven lower regions. To represent the more clearly this idea in its concrete form, the seven gods were often represented as one seven-headed deity. The whole heaven was subjected to the seven planets

7 is also a prime number and the Greeks recognized it as one of the nearest integer components of a perfect circle. Archemedes realized that a circles magnitude can be bounded from below and above by inscribing circles in regular polygons and calculating the outer and inner polygons' respective perimeters. By so doing, he proved that 223/71 < π < 22/7. Now if you want a magic number, you should really be exploring π!

There are 7 days in a week; four 7-day weeks in a lunar month, and 13 lunar months in a typical year for a total 364-day year (52 7-day weeks). The most ancient Lunar Calendars began each year at the first New Moon after the Spring Solstice, which coincidentally is the night of April 6-7 this year (2008)! Happy New Year!

Seven is so ingrained in our traditions, theology, and time keeping system that it seems "magical" in nature. In fact there is nothing magical about it in-and-of itself. Only our prolific use of the number (it is an Arabic numeral) seems to make it extra-special and that use is most likely a result of the significance placed upon it in the story of creation and the sanctification of the seventh-day Sabbath.


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