The all-seeing eye, also called the Eye of Providence, is sometimes used as a symbol of God's sovereignty or omniscience. The European Christian version usually includes a triangular frame. The Egyptian Eye of Horus is similar looking.
Many in the United States of America are familiar with the all-seeing eye because it appears on the currency. On the reverse of the one-dollar bill is found an unfinished pyramid with an all-seeing eye within a triangle as the capstone. The year 1776 is written on the base of the pyramid in Roman numerals. Underneath are the words Novus Ordo Seciorum ("New Order of the Ages" in Latin) and above Annuit Coeptis ("Favors Undertakings" in Latin). These make up what is known as the Great Seal.
Many other cultures use a similar eye graphic—from the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia, to hieroglyphic texts. Some use it as a talisman or charm to protect the wearer. Some use it as a protection against the so-called evil eye. Buddha is sometimes referred to as the "eye of the world," though the symbol itself is not found in Buddhism.
J.R.R. Tolkien's evil Sauron in The Lord of the Rings is depicted as a fiery eye peering over Middle Earth. In the movie National Treasure, the all-seeing eye is tied with Free Masonry and the US Founding Father. However, an eye with an unfinished pyramid is not, nor ever has been, a Masonic symbol. The all-seeing eye has been in use in Free Masonry since only 1797, several years after the Great Seal was finalized.
Christianity does not assign any power or protective shield to any symbols, including the cross and the simple fish design. These symbols remind many Christians of specific doctrine or biblical accounts. The Eye of Providence within a triangle was more popularly used as a symbol of the Trinity and of God's omniscience hundreds of years ago, particularly in Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
The all-seeing eye means different things to different groups of people, from a representation of a Higher Power, to a good-luck charm, from a Masonic icon to God's sovereign guidance over the founding of the USA. It has no power in itself and is simply a symbol representative of diverse things to different groups.
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