Cognitive Linguistics

Flocks, Herds, and Beasts: Dehumanizing Christians with Conceptual Blends in Christian Scripture

by Mariana S. Abdala
Department of English Applied Linguistics
San Francisco State University

Two years ago, a pastor in Colorado Springs committed a sin that put his entire flock to shame (Simon, 2006): Reverend Ted Haggard had been convicted of having homosexual relations with a male prostitute. After resigning his post as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, he faced his flock and confessed his sins to them. His flock of believers struggled to understand his crime, but instead of casting him aside to live as swine, they forgave their good shepherd and asked him to continue leading them. The flock of the New Life Church of Colorado Springs had faith that their good shepherd would one day lead them again toward attaining the grace of the Holy Spirit, despite his failure to resist temptation.
This news story serves as a contemporary Christian parable of sin and forgiveness; it is much like the timeless Biblical stories that illustrate concepts like punishment, forgiveness, and sin through simple allegorical writings.  Like most religious theory, Christian principles are intricate and abstract, which is why Christians rely on the Bible’s parables, proverbs, and teachings to better understand these abstract complex ideas. The writings appearing in the Bible utilize hundreds of metaphors in order to help people make sense of abstract notions. At issue in this paper is how Biblical writings explain complex religious principles through the use of animals, as animals are familiar and simpler entities that aid in conveying larger ideas when metaphorical mapping takes place.
This paper will explore the abstract complex ideas of sin, punishment, grace, and forgiveness as they are conveyed in Christianity1. The main focus in this paper is how Christian teachings use animals to form conceptual blends and illustrate the meanings of these abstract complex ideas. The first part of the analysis will analyze the conceptual blends that are created by mapping animal characteristics onto complex abstract ideas such as sin, evil, punishment, and grace; each blend creates a conceptual apparatus that helps people understand and interpret the meanings of these religious notions. Some of the animals that the paper will focus on include the dragon, the serpent, pigs (swine), the herd of cattle, and the lamb. These conceptual blends stem from the Great Chain of Being and appear in many folkloric Christian stories to illustrate the core Christian notions of sin, punishment, and forgiveness.
In the second part of the analysis, the conceptualization of God as a shepherd and the believers of the Christian faith as a flock of sheep will be explored in more detail. This conceptual blend has helped preachers, prophets, and teachers illustrate the core values and beliefs of Christian faiths for the last two thousand years. From this metaphor also stems the metaphor of Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ and Jesus as the ‘Good Shepherd’. This paper will look closer at the complex abstract entity of 'God' and the concept of a group of human religious believers and how they are mapped onto simplified domains to create a more tangible understanding of Christian beliefs and folk theories.
The works of Facounnier and Turner (1995) and Lakoff and Johnson (1980) will aid my analysis of animal metaphors found in Christian teachings, as I am applying their models and approaches for exploring and understanding everyday mundane life in terms of  conceptual apparatuses.

2. Background
             A metaphor is essentially a linguistic device, or a linguistic manifestation of conceptual mappings across the known domain onto the unknown domain. Two distinct domains are needed in order to create a metaphor: a source domain and a target domain. The source domain may consist of image schema (a term that I will further define in the next paragraph), which is mapped onto the target domain; the target domain is that which humans aim to comprehend and explain. The conceptual mappings that take place across source and target domains allow the human mind to conceptualize something in terms of something else.
Constructing a metaphor in the manner I have just explained requires image schemas, or recurring structures within a person's mental processes, to help the person establish patterns of reasoning (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). An Image schema is a prelinguistic structure of experience that stimulates conceptual metaphor mappings. For example, the containment schema is created from a person’s experience with a container as a physical object in which you place things. The container concept is mapped onto a more abstract concept, like a person’s state of mind; this mapping creates the conceptual metaphor of “mental states as a container” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Thus, emotional states of mind may be described as someone being in love, or someone being in a state of depression. Image schemas dominate and govern our daily thoughts and actions, especially when the human mind tries to make sense of complex abstract concepts.
2.1. Metaphors in Religion
God and religion are complex abstract ideas that the human mind encounters every day.
Metaphors are used to describe intricate ideas in all religions and oftentimes, the same metaphors for one religion are used in various cultures. Much like ancient proverbs, religious metaphors can be applied in many ways by people of different backgrounds because of their universality. Universal meanings are possible with metaphors because they are linguistic expressions that cluster together to form a system of conceptual apparatuses, stemming from even larger, all-encompassing systems (Kovecses, 2002).
The Christian religion conceptualizes 'God', their higher power, and 'Christians', God's believers, through the metaphor system known as The Great Chain of Being. The Great Chain of Being demonstrates how the conceptual metaphors used to describe and understand 'God' and 'Christians' (or ‘humans’) are not independent of each other. Ideas like 'God' and 'Christians' can be appropriately understood and accounted for with the help of large metaphor systems like The Great Chain of Being. The system looks like this:
Figure 1.1 The Great Chain of Being
Complex Objects
Natural Objects
The human mind moves up and down this chain, according to the source and target domains that are being connected. The Great Chain of Being summarizes the relationship of things in the world as seen through the Judeo-Christian tradition and, similar to the point I made about universality above, this folk theory regarding the hierarchical order of things in the world "can be found in many cultures and it may well be universal" (Kovecses, 2002, p.126). However, the concept of 'God' is a very abstract concept that is quite difficult to describe because it is an intangible and ineffable entity. Also, one may ask, “where is ‘God’ positioned in this great chain?”  Lakoff and Turner (1999) have extended the Great Chain system to accommodate people’s conceptualizations of God:

Figure 1.2 Extended Chain of Being
Complex Objects
Natural Objects

The highlighted items in the Chain are considered abstract complex systems that are usually the most difficult for humans to understand without simplified meanings. The Extended Great Chain of Being illustrates a hierarchy, with the supernatural and the cosmos at the top, and humans and animals below them. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the supernatural defaults to God. The bulk of our analysis will consider the hierarchical structure of the Extended Great Chain of Being as this metaphor system lays the groundwork for understanding the power and impact that metaphors about humans and animals have in the teachings of Christian values.
2.2. Conceptual Blends
            Like all stories and folktales, Christian parables challenge people to think creatively and place unrelated objects together into one mental space. To make sense of these objects, a person’s  mind will combine knowledge from two areas (the target and the source domains, as mentioned earlier) and create a conceptual metaphor. This is merely a fundamental beginning, however, to understanding the cognitive blending of knowledge in order to create more knowledge and fuse ideas together. In order to deepen our understanding of the recurring animal characters in the Biblical scripture, the analysis must apply an expanded model of the two-domain model. This expanded model is known as the “many-space” model, which includes the two-domain model, but also includes two other middles: the generic space, which consists of the skeletal structure that applies to both input spaces, and the blended space, which is a fresh new space that integrates and combines specific pieces and objects from both of the input spaces (Fauconnier & Turner, 1995). The blended space may also include pieces and objects that are not projected into the space from just one input space, and perhaps not both. The blended space is the newly generated knowledge in a person’s mind when the person interprets a conceptual metaphor (see Figure 1.3).
People reading the stories and parables in which this paper’s metaphors appear must undergo the mental process that is illustrated below in order to truly understand and correctly interpret the Christian teachings.
Figure 1.3 (Fauconnier and Turner, 1995). 

3. Analysis
This paper will analyze evil, sin, punishment, forgiveness, and finally 'God', all of which are abstract complex systems. These ideas are the target domains of the conceptual metaphor, and one portion of input for the blended space. The source domains will include the dragon or serpent for sin, the swine for sinners, and the herd of cattle for punishment. The second part of the analysis discusses the lamb and the flock of sheep mapped onto the concept 'Christians,' and the image of the shepherd guiding his sheep is mapped onto the source domain, ‘God.’
The Extended Great Chain system as seen through the Judeo-Christian tradition describes humans as dominating animals, and God as dominating everything because God is an entity that is above all other entities. This system is the most commonly used system to describe Western Traditions, and people who have been socialized in Western societies learn from very early on that this hierarchical order is the order in which things not only fall into place, but the order in which things should naturally be, no questions asked. Perhaps this happens because this metaphor system makes it so much easier for the human mind to understand (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980).                    
During the analysis, keep in mind the Extended Great Chain of Being as the animals in the biblical stories are discussed. For centuries, folk theory has mapped animal traits onto humans and vice versa to make sense of people’s character traits, as well as animal instinct. The metaphor that essentially lays the groundwork for the first three metaphors discussed in my analysis is:
The principle meaning of this conceptual metaphor is that the objectionable behavior of which humans are capable is undesirable, and would only be expected of an animal that does not have the same cognitive abilities as a human (Kovecses, 2002). Although not all animal metaphors capture the negative characteristics of human behavior, many of the stories in Biblical scripture apply these types of metaphors in order to teach people about sin, evil, and God’s wrath.
3.1. The Serpent / Dragon
            Serpents and dragons have been described in folkloric stories as cunning and sly animals because of the manner in which they stalk and strike prey. They slither on the ground rather than walk, live in dark, cool spaces (usually under rocks or in caves), and the most dangerous serpents produce poisonous venom. All these characteristics are combined to create the biblical animal that most accurately represents sin and evil. Consider the following data that tells the story of the origin of sin:
“Yahweh God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ Yahweh God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.’” (Genesis 3:13-14).
The metaphor in the passage above can be described as: SIN AS SERPENT            
The serpent has deceived God’s first woman, Eve, and has thus been cursed to forever crawl on his belly. The serpent is introduced as a sly and malicious animal in Genesis, the Bible’s first featured story, but he keeps this reputation throughout the stories, all the way until the final stories in the Bible that discuss Judgment Day, or the last day of the universe:

The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelations 12:9)
He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years (Revelations 20:2)

In the excerpts above, serpent and dragon are used interchangeably to describe Satan. Satan is the most horrific, terrifying character in the Biblical stories, and he is the embodiment of sin and evil. Satan has the capabilities of tempting people and distracting them from doing good deeds. This conceptual metaphor is much like the first:
            Sin (which is the Christian notion of evil or evildoing) is an abstract complex idea that is difficult to understand without image schema and a characterization of its consequences, since sin is comprised of acts, not tangible objects. Figure 1.4 shows some different traits of the serpent that are used to describe the nature of sin.

Figure 1.4


Target Domain                                                                      Source Domain              -punishable                                                                                                                                 
-causes harm (venom)
                        EVIL                                                                                     Serpent/Dragon

In Genesis, the serpent illustrates cunningness and wrongdoing, and later in the New Testament, (Book of Revelations), the serpent represents Satan, the most evil entity that exists. By mapping these negative characteristics onto an animal people are typically afraid of, the stories teach Christian believers about the harmful consequences of sin.
Serpents, otherwise known in the ancient stories as dragons, are categorized in the Bible as wild, beastly animals. The potential of beastly animals is not fully understood by persons; the animal is untamed, unpredictable, and sometimes even mysterious. Other symbolic Biblical animals that are categorized as untamed and powerful include the Lion and the Eagle, which typically stand for power and courage. Metaphors consisting of wild beasts have an added supernatural sense, since the source domain is known by people, but perhaps not entirely trustworthy. Hence, a blend is formed:

Figure 1.5

                       Generic space  
                       Wild, untamed beast

Input1                                                                               Input2
Evil                                                                                 Serpent
                            Blended Space
Christian Sin
                         in Biblical folktales

These representations of wild beasts differ greatly from those of tamed animals, such as sheep or cows. At the time these Christian allegories were being developed and taught, many people found themselves in situations where they were either defending themselves from wild animals, or living in close quarters with tamed animals. In the section above, I demonstrated how beasts conceptualize abstract Christian concepts, like ‘sin’ and ‘evil.’ In the next section, I will show how linking the traits of tamed animals with complex abstract ideas created very powerful and compelling teachings for ancient audiences.
3.2. Swine and Cattle
            Serpents are not the only animal used to conceptualize sin and evil. Pigs (usually referred to as Swine in Biblical scripture) were also used to illustrate evil and wrongdoing, and oftentimes paired with the abstract complex notion of punishment.  Certainly, evil, sin, and punishment are all independent concepts, but they are very tightly interconnected. Although they each have their own individual attributes, their structures result in similar metaphors. The metaphors that construct these ideas usually fit together in a coherent fashion and help define the more specialized aspects of each concept. Consider the following data that contains conceptual metaphors using swine:
“And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.” (Mark 5:12)

“And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” (Luke 15:16)

The image schema “swine” is being used above to conceptualize the following metaphor:
Swine are traditionally depicted as filthy animals in many religions and cultures. Tossing devils (evil spirits) into places where swine are kept, or making a man eat the same scraps as swine associates the devils and the man with filth. Filth is essentially seen as unfitting and as negative, therefore filthiness is often mapped onto sin to depict the distaste that people have toward sinners. Figure 1.6 illustrates the relations between swine, filth, and sinners:

Figure 1.6
                       Generic space  
                            Filth, lowly,
 Input1                                                                               Input2
sinner                                                                                      swine
                                    Blended Space
            The diagram above describes how swine is conceptualized as an animal in Western Judeo-Christian culture (under Generic space). This is the skeletal structure, or the preexisting knowledge one has about the source domain (input2). The object swine, a lowly and filthy animal, is mapped onto the target domain (input1) to illustrate that “sin” causes one to be filthy and cast away as an outsider. The mental spaces are combined in the new blended space, where the mind creates the notion of “sinner,” according to Christian scripture.
            Ultimately, there is coherence between the metaphors SERPENT AS EVIL and SWINE AS SINNERS, as they both convey the specialized aspects of the abstract complex idea of sin and its consequences, according to Christian folklore.
The stories in the Bible’s Old and New Testaments were compiled and preached long before they were actually written down. Nomads and shepherds who heard the stories would pass them onto the next village during their journeys, and the stories thus grew in familiarity. One of the commonalities between people of middle or higher social classes was that they usually owned or tended animals; perhaps sheep, pigs, or cattle. Therefore, the parables and stories told at the time were loaded with metaphors containing tamed animals, or animals with which people were familiar or which they owned.
Thus far, I have discussed how animals, both tamed and wild, have illustrated some very intricate religious virtues, such as sin and evil. In the next section, I explore how the fundamental and critical Christian concept of punishment is conceptualized in terms of yet another animal entity.

3.3. The Herd of Cattle
Herds of cattle were like bank accounts for the communities and persons portrayed in the Old Testament of the Bible. There is evidence of the significance that was placed on cattle in the following passage:
“And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis, 13:2)
Knowing this, it is simple to see how parables and stories were created from everyday scenarios to teach believers the consequences of evil and sin. Consider the following data and notice how cattle are used to conceptualize punishment from God:
“And the seven thin and ill favored [cattle] that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.” (Genesis 41:27).
“And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” (Exodus 9:7)
The excerpts demonstrate how cattle are killed or famished by order of God to portray punishment. In the first excerpt, the thin cows represent famine and malnourishment, which is being presented as a consequence for those who do not listen to or for God’s word. The second excerpt depicts the suffering of the Israelites due to their king’s disregard for the plan God had for the Israelites. The following metaphors are created from these excerpts:
Figure 1.7
        Target                                                  Source
       wealth                                                   cattle   
         Target                                                 Source
     No  cattle                                                punishment
The image schema of cattle is being compromised in instances where God is angry with one’s wrongdoing. Thus, the mind conceptualizes famished or slaughtered cows as the loss of one’s wealth, which is God’s way of punishing people. With this conceptual metaphor, there are several complex ideas being juggled in various mental spaces, which is illustrated in figure 1.8:

Figure 1.8
                       Generic space   
                            Famine, murder
Input1                                                                                                                           Input2
loss of wealth                                                                      no cattle 
                            Blended Space
                                God’s wrath

The image schema of compromised cattle explain the abstract complex idea of “loss of wealth,” while the generic cognitive space assigns preconceived extended meaning to the idea of image of compromised cattle. The result is a blended space where the concept of Christian punishment is formed. This teaching explains that valuable things will be taken away from those who ignore God’s word or sin. Biblical scripture contains several stories of plagued animals, including horses, asses, and camels, to conceptualize the loss of valued possessions and the severe consequences of punishment.
Metaphors constructed from The Great Chain of Being convey the essence of things; these essences affect the way certain things behave or exist in the world, and metaphors convey the essential structural attributes of certain things in terms of other things. If one understands this fundamental building block of metaphors and the role they play in our understanding of things, then thus far, one understands the significance of animals in Biblical scripture. Ultimately, animals were a type of intermediary that helped common, uneducated people unravel the crucial Christian teachings of the Bible.
The section that follows will change the pace of my analysis and turn the reader’s attention toward a set of metaphors that blend aspects of humans, animals, and God. The metaphors that follow are used to conceptualize the teachings and beliefs that are the core of the Christian religion.
3.4. “The Lord is my Shepherd” and “the Lamb of God”
Abstract complex systems are described metaphorically as persons. Below we see the first metaphor in the series of metaphors that will be analyzed:
            GOD AS A SHEPHERD
            God is at the top of the whole divine order that is described in the Holy Bible. God is the most complex entity with the most power in the entire universe because, according to Christians, God created the whole universe. In order to conceptualize God and better explain God's traits so that the human mind can properly grasp them, God is mapped onto the idea of a human.
Figure 1.9
                  Target domain                               Source Domain        ---shepherd
                           GOD                                               HUMAN BEING     ---strict father

Figure 1.9 shows a couple of different human traits that are used to describe the nature of the Christian God. The metaphor of ‘God As a Shepherd’ derives from a set of metaphors that Eve Sweetser (as cited in Lakoff, 2002) points out as radial categories, "with 'God As Father' at the center" because this is the metaphor that overlaps with other human conceptualizations of God (p. 246). God is conceptualized as a strict father in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and like the strict father of a traditional household in Western Society, God is assigned absolute authority. God the Father has the authority to discipline his children, which means he rewards them with love and kindness when they obey him, and he punishes them with verbal or corporal abuse when they have disobeyed him, and he protects and looks after them.
When it comes to teaching children and non-Christians, preachers and teachers of the Christian faith rarely choose to describe God as a strict father because it is not as comforting as having God described as a shepherd. Shepherds are considered responsible, watchful, kind, and protective. Children of Christian families will much rather hear about 'The Good Shepherd' who will nurture and protect them than the 'Strict Father' who demands authority and will punish them. Furthermore, the ancient Israelites, the first documented Judeo-Christian believers, were pastoral people and many of them were shepherds. Shepherds were critical to the survival of the Israelites because they provided cloth, food, and milk from their flocks. Thus shepherds and sheep were entities that early followers were very familiar with. God, an ineffable entity that is high up on the Great Chain, was more easily understood as a shepherd by the Israelites, and for the sake of tradition, the metaphor is still effective today.
Figure 1.10
Source- known experience
A shepherd protects his flock of sheep
God protects Christians from harm and watches over them
            As described in the previous section, the Great Chain describes a hierarchy, and God rules the hierarchy. The Christian Chain that is described in the New Testament of the Bible and, as implicitly interpreted by Christians, exists within the Great Chain of Being described above, looks something like this:
            The Holy Trinity
            Pope's assigned Clergy, as in Cardinals, Priests, etc.)
            Complex Objects
            Natural Objects

            God is at the top and has ultimate rule over all the other components of the Great Chain, much like a king has ultimate rule over his kingdom and all the components in his kingdom. The following metaphor is commonly used to conceptualize God:
                    GOD AS A KING
             This metaphor is also commonly described as
GOD AS A LORD. We see examples of this conceptualization of God in the Christian song of praise, Psalm 150:
Great is our Lord God.
                      Great is our Lord God.
                      Praise the Name of our Lord God.
                      Great is our Lord God.
                      Great is our Lord God.
                     Praise the Name of our Lord God! (Psalm 150:1-6)

            Considering that ‘King’ and ‘Lord’ are synonyms, these metaphors conceptualize God as a noble human entity. Here we have God being mapped onto the idea of a powerful human in the Great Chain to illustrate God's power and authority. Going back to our analysis of why ‘God as a Shepherd’ is a favorable and effective way of describing the Christian God, let us now consider the following Psalm title:
                   THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
            This is the title of perhaps the most recognized Psalm from Christian scripture, Psalm 23. The title describes an authoritative figure (‘Lord’) as a protector and keeper (‘Shepherd’). To Christians, this conceptual blend invokes ideas of protection from danger, and they may feel less fearful of sin, temptations, and dangers because a figure of authority is taking care of them and nurturing them at the same time. This metaphorical blend paints a very powerful and effective picture of the God Christians use to teach children and non-believers about the religion.
            Taking a closer look at Psalm 23[2] will further illustrate the effectiveness of the metaphor ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’. In the first line, "the Lord is my shepherd/ I shall not want", the two-way relationship between God and his believers is introduced. God is a lord, a totalitarian ruler who is stately and wealthy. This lord is a shepherd, a man who is tender, loving, patient, and guides his sheep to safety. Although the believers are not described metaphorically as sheep in this line, one can assume that "I shall not want" is the Christian believer as a sheep who feels protected and taken care of by this shepherd king (Lampen, 1991). The metaphor of God as a Shepherd King and Christians as the Shepherd King's flock of sheep was first introduced in the Old Testament as an allegory of the loving and protecting God that supplies all needs (Lampen,1991). So, the two-way relationship of God as the protector and Christians as the protected is illustrated in the first line of the Psalm. These lines from Psalm 23 lead to the next line of analysis that examines the Christians as a flock of sheep that are following the shepherd king.                                                                                                                                                 3.4.1. God and His Followers
            The lines "he leadeth me beside/ the still waters" and "thy rod and thy staff/they comfort me" taken from Psalm 23 also describe the protective and guiding attributes of the Shepherd King. They imply that Christians are sheep that the Shepherd king is leading and comforting. "Still waters" embodies the tranquility that God provides for those who follow him, and "thy rod and thy staff" conceptualize the commandments of the Christian religion that help God keep his followers in line. To thoroughly understand how Christians are conceptualized as sheep, the metaphor will be broken down:

            Humans who believe in the one God described by the Judeo-Christian tradition, who are baptized into the Christian Religion, and who follow the Ten Commandments given to humans by God are considered Christians. Christians consider themselves believers and followers of the Christian faith, and can belong to several religious denominations. Christians follow commandments implemented by God, and are therefore at God's mercy. Therefore, Christians make it a devout point to 'follow', or adhere to the commands and desires, of God. Since it is the case that God is conceptualized as a shepherd, the following mappings are able to take place:
            A GROUP OF HUMANS AS A FLOCK OF SHEEP                       

 Christians, depending on the religious denomination they have chosen, form congregations, groups, parishes, and other kinds of communities that are bound by common Christian beliefs. These groups are conceptualized as a flock of sheep. Like a flock of sheep, the Christian believers are kept together by their shepherd and they are dependent on the shepherd for guidance. A shepherd leads a flock of sheep to fresh water sources, shelter, brighter and smoother paths. Similarly, God leads his group of Christian followers to morality, salvation from evil, and a life full of well-being. Notice that the flock of sheep stands for a particular group of humans, not all humans. These humans are strong believers of Christianity. The following figure shows how abstract complex ideas such as God and Christians are mapped onto concepts like Shepherd and Flock:

Figure 1.11
        God                                             Human Christian congregation
King (noble human)                             animals that live in groups

Shepherd (common human)                             sheep
= Shepherd King (Blend)                          = flock of sheep

The conceptual metaphors ‘Shepherd’ and ‘king’ imply that Christians believe in a God that provides guidance and protection from an adversary entity. This adversary entity is most likely hell. Hell is the epitome of evil and sin. God the 'Strict Father' will punish those who succumb to hell's temptations, therefore hell is capable of destroying a Christian's well-being. This is precisely why Christians seek a God that has the human attributes of a shepherd and a king. The Shepherd King protects Christians from what they fear most.
            The final component to this conceptual metaphor that must be analyzed is the concept of sheep, and why Christians have been characterized as sheep as opposed to another animal that needs human guidance. 
            Sheep are raised and cared for in large groups and they live, travel, and feed together. They require the guidance of a human because they have been characterized by people as having the tendency to fall into danger and not defend themselves. According to Kovecses (2002) humans attributed human characteristics to animals and then reapplied these characteristics to humans" (p. 125), and sheep have traditionally been characterized as naive, helpless, and dim. Thus, sheep need to follow a more powerful entity together in a cohesive group. Evidence of Christians relating to this conceptual metaphor is seen in an article published by the San Francisco Chronicle that is titled, "Pastor in gay scandal asks flock forgive him" (Simon, 2006). In this example, we have a congregation of people referring to themselves as a 'flock' rather than just ‘Christians' or 'members of the New Life Church'. 'Flock' is a cohesive term that brings Christians together.                                                                                                                                   The relationship between 'Shepherd' and 'Flock of Sheep' becomes skewed when considering the next set of conceptual metaphors, but they serve as a monumental explanation for the human and divine essences of the Holy Trinity.
3.4.3. Jesus Christ the Lamb and Jesus Christ the Shepherd                                                                     Many people, even Christians, have a difficult time understanding the complex and multi-dimensional nature of the Holy Trinity, specifically the relationship between God and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the human figure that Christians believe is the son of God and was sent by God two thousand years ago to save the 'flock' of believers from evil and sin. The following metaphors are, at first glance, difficult to understand when they appear in the same context:
            JESUS AS A LAMB

            Jesus is historically known as a human being who was very spiritual and, according to many religions, was a very significant and powerful prophet. Christians see him as more than a prophet because he is believed to have been chosen by God as both a son and a human sacrifice. In an attempt to teach his followers about his love for them, his devotion to them, and his desire to protect them from the temptations of sin, God sent Jesus Christ as a model human being and as a human sacrifice. Sacrificial lambs were first introduced in the Judeo-Christian tradition back when Jewish temples would sacrifice lambs for Passover[3]; lamb's blood was sprinkled on their front door and then lamb was eaten at the Passover meal. Lambs were used in sacrificial ceremonies and in ceremonies of atonement because they are small and do not cry when they are killed, a behavior that symbolizes a willingness to succumb to suffering and sacrifice. According to Christian tradition, this symbolism describes the suffering and sacrifice that Jesus endured to save his and God's followers from sin. The following Biblical passages from the New Testament describe the way God's believers conceptualized Jesus as a lamb:
              "The next day [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said
              'Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world'" (John 1:29)
              "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he
               watched Jesus walk by, he said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God'" (John 1:35)
            Jesus is the target domain and it is being mapped onto the idea of a sacrificial lamb so that one draws similar conclusions about Jesus and lambs. [4]                                                                 

  The lamb describes Jesus Christ as the son of God while he was on Earth, but Christians believe that after Jesus was sacrificed and crucified, he resurrected and became part of what is known as the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity consists of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit- three entities that are all part of the fundamental essence of the Christian God. After Jesus' resurrection, he is described, like his father God, as a shepherd, and he inherits all the qualities of the Shepherd King that is described at the beginning of my analysis. Thus, the metaphor of ‘Jesus as a Shepherd’ takes effect. An example of the shift from Jesus depicted as a lamb and Jesus depicted as a shepherd appears in the following Biblical passage:
                "And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also,
                 and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
                  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that
                  I may take it again" (John 10:16-17)
            These are the resurrected Jesus' words according to one of his apostles, John. In the Gospel books of the Bible, there are many descriptions of Jesus as the lamb that becomes part of the flock, and then later in the books Jesus is depicted as a shepherd with a staff. These two images may seem contradictory at first, but one describes Jesus the human being, while the other describes Jesus as part of the Holy Trinity.
4. Discussion
            The metaphors presented in this paper have shown that conceptual blends are effective cognitive devices that the human mind applies in order to understand abstract complex ideas. I have covered several conceptual metaphors and metaphor blends appearing in Christian scripture; these metaphor blends use animals to ultimately describe two polarities: objectionable behavior and desirable behavior. While images of sly serpents, filthy swine, and famished cattle cover negative ideas like evil, sin, and punishment, a flock of sheep and a lamb represent humble following and salvation. The folk theories that these metaphors help convey and describe have relatively stayed the same as they have been passed down through generations. All of the metaphors covered in this paper stem from a larger metaphor system with which Christians and other people of Western Judeo-Christian traditions are quite familiar, that which is the Extended Great Chain of Being. This metaphor system explains the hierarchical order of things in the world and helps Christians conceptualize complex abstract systems like God, faith, and salvation, in terms of things they have familiarized themselves with through life’s experiences, like serpents, herds, flocks, and lambs.
            Metaphors are needed to conceptualize God and other fundamental ideas in Christianity because, as Lakoff (2002) so adequately states, "literal modes of thought and literal language are simply not adequate for characterizing God and the relation of human beings to God" (p.245). Humans can only describe, interpret, and understand all complex abstract systems through their own experiences as humans on Earth.

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1 Due to the abundance of Christian denominations, this paper only uses references known to be acceptable in the Roman Catholic religious denominations, and according to Roman Catholic creed.

[1] God in the Judeo-Christian Tradition.
[2] For complete Psalm 23, see appendix 1
[3] Passover is a Jewish holiday that remembers the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days by Orthodox and Conservative Jews outside of Israel and for seven days by Reform Jews and Zionists.
[4] There are countless references to lambs that are unrelated to Jesus in Abrahamic traditions and other Judeo-Christian scripture and Theological scholars have debated their various symbolic meanings.