The number 6 is a consistently recurring theme in the Bible, showing up in all four of its major divisions: the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Torah and the book of Revelation. On the surface, the number 6 may appear to be an ordinary number, not special in any way. But, upon closer examination, the number 6 in the Bible represents quite an extraordinary meaning.
The number 6 is thought to be significant because it is short of the ‘perfect number’ 7. This idea crops up in the story of creation: God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. This concept has been thought to be symbolic – 6 days of toil and 7 days of rest – something that has been built into our collective consciousness ever since.
The fact that there are 6 sides to a die has also been seen as a means of expressing ‘the luck of God’; as if it were a way of saying that, whilst nothing is pre-determined, He is always with us, and guiding us. This same philosophy is echoed in the book of Ecclesiastes, which speaks of ‘working six days, but resting on the seventh’.
The number 6 also appears in the Bible regarding the laws of purity. The book of Leviticus states that a person can be defiled for 6 days following contact with certain sources of impurity. This has been used to symbolize the importance of purity and staying true to your beliefs.
In symbolism and numerology, the number 6 has been associated with the idea of ‘completeness’; 6 is thought to be the perfect balance of the physical and the spiritual, a balance of body and mind, a perfect harmony between God and man. It is also often a symbol of deep faith, of cultivating trust and reliance in God.
One of the more controversial theories surrounding the meaning of the number 6 is that it could be a reference to the mark of the Beast in the book of Revelation. The number 666 is seen as a code used by the antichrist to assign humans a ‘mark’ – suggestive of some form of human servitude. Of course, this view is largely disputed and is certainly not universally accepted.
In aggregate, the number 6 is seen as a highly spiritual number, one that is full of meaning, representing a perfect harmony between mind, body and soul. A symbol of both productivity and of purity, it is thought to have been a powerful force in guiding not only the major players in the Bible, but the collective awareness of man since.
Examples of the Number 6 in Literature
The number 6 plays a major role in literature. In Greek mythology, the story of the creation of mankind is narrated in Hesiod’s Theogony and we are told that the original human race emerged from a clod of earth which was shaped by the six of the Olympian gods. Dante’s Inferno is also notable for its use of the number 6 as a symbol of the punishments meted out to sinners as it contains six circles of Hell.
In C.S. Lewis’ Christian allegorical fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia, a group of six children is at the centre of the story, and their adventures foreshadow the Christian story of salvation. The novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdie uses 6 portals as a symbolic pathway to Hell in order to illustrate the narrator’s decline into despair.
More recently, the popular young adult novel ‘The Hunger Games’, by Suzanne Collins, introduces 6 tributes to represent each of the 12 districts in the story. This concept of 6 has been widely accepted by fantasy authors, utilising it to represent a range of concepts, from harmony to suffering and from good to evil.
6 in the Arts
The number 6 is widely accepted in the arts. The Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli painted the influential and iconic painting, ‘The Birth of Venus’. The painting features six figures, mirroring the six sides of the hexagon in a formation that symbolizes perfection and harmony.
Six is also significant in the field of music. The most common fretboard guitar has six strings, and this is seen to represent the idea of completeness. The ‘Circle of Fifths’, the most common chord progression in music, is completed in six steps. It is thought that the six-notes in a scale display all of the notes that form the basis of great compositions.
The meaning of the number 6 is also pertinent in architecture. The seven wonders of the ancient world include the Pyramid of Cheops, and this too is said to be full of symbolism. The pyramid is comprised of six steps, either side, and it is believed that these steps represent the six directions that lead back to our Creator.
Number 6 Spiritual Meaning
The number 6 is thought to have a spiritual meaning, as it is seen to represent a perfect balance between body and soul, between physical and spiritual. This representation has been around for centuries, and is thought to signify the importance of holiness and righteousness. The number 6 is seen to be the highest number that is divisible by 3, a number which is highly symbolic in the Bible.
Another spiritual meaning of the number 6 is found in the Jewish tradition, where it is seen as a symbol of healing and creation. This reflects the idea that, despite our human suffering and suffering, God always has the power to create and heal. This is represented by the number 6, which is seen to represent transformation, joy, peace and acceptance.
The spiritual meaning of the number 6 has also been linked to the idea of loyalty and justice. This is seen in the ancient Jewish tradition of ‘gematria’, which is the practice of assigning a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet. When the words for justice and mercy are calculated using this system, the number 6 is seen to be the result, indicating how justice and mercy will be found in a perfect balance by God.
The number 6 is a complex symbol which has been depicted throughout the Bible. On the surface, the number 6 may appear to be an ordinary number, however upon closer examination the meaning slowly reveals itself. Ultimately, it is thought to signify a perfect harmony between mind, body and soul. It is a representation of the idea of completeness, something that is also echoed in literature, arts and culture. The number 6 is a powerful symbol, one that has been deeply embedded in our collective consciousness from the earliest beginnings.