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Pascal Fervor said...

Please provide source material including its mechanism for proving the sabbath back-inclusion. Fascinating whether or not it's sound.

Teresita said...

I can begin with an excerpt from the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia for the Sabbath:

...In recent years a Babylonian origin has been advocated. A lexicographical tablet gives shabattu as the equivalent of um nuh libbi, "the day of the appeasement of the heart" (of the gods). Furthermore, a religious calendar of the intercalary month Elul and of the month Marchesvan mentions the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, and 19th days, the latter probably because it was the 49th (7x7) day from the beginning of the preceding month, as days on which the king, the magician, and the physician were to abstain from certain acts. The king, for instance, was not to eat food prepared with fire, put on bright garments, ride in a chariot, or exercise acts of authority. These days were then, days of propitiation, and therefore shabattu days. We have thus periods of seven days the last day of which is marked by abstention from certain actions, and called shabattu, in other words the equivalent of the Sabbath...

Pascal Fervor said...

My first reaction was, "are you sure this is the same Babylon of the time of Nebuchadnezzar or the earlier kingdoms?" When I went to your first source, the very sentence following indicates the author thinks the earlier time. "A Babylonian origin is not in itself improbable, since Chaldea was the original home of the Hebrews, but there is no proof that such is actually the case."

If I recall correctly, Chaldea were mostly Zoroastrian. Still that didn't exclude other forms of worship, including those allied with cycles of the moon which would indeed be inclined to seven day divisions.

Yet none of this suggests any need for back peddling though. What else have you got?

Teresita said...

http:www.bibleorigins.net'sabbathorigins.html

"It will be argued in this brief article that Genesis' Garden of Eden and its concept of a resting God setting aside a seventh day as a Sabbath rest day is derived -in part- from motifs associated with the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak Flood found in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atra-Khasis (Atra-hasis'Atrahasis) Flood Story."

Enjoy!

Pascal Fervor said...

Egads Teresita, that's over 45,000 words not including the Bibliography! About 100 pages including the Biblio. I bet you could be a bit more concise as to which passages float your boat! :)

What specifically do you find compelling?

Teresita said...

. . .Another scholar, Gordon J. Wenham (Senior Professor of the Old Testament at Cheltenham & Glouster College of Higher Education, in Cheltenham, England in 1987), made another important observation about Genesis, it is apparently a polemic, challenging the Mesopotamian view of the relationship between God and Man:

“Viewed with respect to its negatives, Gen 1:1-2:3 is a polemic against the mythico-religious concepts of the ancient Orient...The concept of man here is markedly different from standard Near Eastern mythology: man was not created as the lackey of the gods to keep them supplied with food; he was God’s representative and ruler on earth, endowed by his creator with an abundant supply of food and expected to rest every seventh day from his labors. Finally, the seventh day is not a day of ill omen as in Mesopotamia, but a day of blessing and sanctity on which normal work is laid aside. In contradicting the usual ideas of its time, Genesis 1 is also setting out a positive alternative. It offers a picture of God, the world, and man...man’s true nature. He is the apex of the created order: the whole narrative moves toward the creation of man. Everything is made for man’s benefit...”

(p. 37. Vol. 1. “Explanation.” Gordon J. Wenham. Genesis 1-15. [Word Biblical Commentary, 2 vols.]. Word Books. Waco, Texas. 1987)

Professor Bruggemann appears to be in agreement somewhat with Wenham regarding Genesis being a refutation (emphasis mine in italics):

"The text is likely dated to the sixth century BC and addressed to exiles. It served as a refutation of Babylonian theological claims."

(p. 24. Walter Brueggemann. Genesis. Atlanta, Georgia. John Knox Press. 1982)

Lambert, Wenham, and Brueggemann's observations are, for me, “keys” to understanding how and why Genesis was formatted in the manner it now appears. I understand, in agreement with Wenham and Brueggemann, that Genesis _is denying, challenging and refuting_ the Mesopotamian beliefs regarding how and why man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why he was denied immortality. For me, this was accomplished by the Hebrews having taken motifs from a variety of contradicting myths and giving them “new twists” (to use Lambert’s phraseology), changed the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events. It is my understanding that the Hebrews are deliberately recasting the earlier myths and their motifs in order to refute and deny them, hence the “reason why” there are no individuals called Adam, Eve, the Serpent, and a God called Yahweh-Elohim appearing in any of these pre-biblical compositions. It is my understanding that the Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings) in its present format was created by one author in the Exile circa 560 BC. This “late” composition however possesses motifs and concepts -especially in Genesis- that can be traced to the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC and Lower Mesopotamia and a city there called Ur of the Chaldees where dwelt a man called Abraham.

Professor Rogerson, who seems to share "somewhat" Brueggemann's view on the final "dating of Genesis," understands it last form or redaction'editing was in the Exile or shortly thereafter:

“The simple answer to the question of date is that Genesis 1-11 is part of the larger work containing Genesis to 2 Kings...This complete work did not reach its final form until during or after the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century BCE. However, the date of the final editing does not determine the date of the individual items to be found in Genesis 1-11.”


And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

This translation is difficult to make out, but what it's saying is that there were no plants growing on the Earth, because there was no rain and no one to plant grain. So immediately we know we are dealing with a completely different take on creation. But most people gloss right over this.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

It is 4,163 B.C.E. As I blog the Bible, I will methodically approach the date of the destruction of the First Temple in 587 B.C.E., which is known from secular history and archaology.

In this creation story, man is the first thing which God made. Essentially, God made a little mud pie in a human shape, and breathed into it, and the mud pie started to breathe on its own. People knew that living things like men and cows and dogs breathed, and dead things like corpses and logs did not breathe. So the breath, or "spirit" (from the same root word that gives us "respiration") was seen as the magical force of life, and when a man died this breath returned to God. There was at that time no connotation of this spirit carrying the identity, the memories of the man who have lived and died. That is an infiltration of the Hellenistic idea of the psyche which came in the 2nd Century B.C.E.

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

In Babylon the word edinu means "plain, steppe, open country". So Yahweh planted his garden on the flats of what we know today as Iraq.

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Only now after creating man does God create "every tree". Bible literalists who insist on reconciling Genesis 2 with Genesis 1 merely say that God grew a copy of every plant that he already created elsewhere. But a little bit later he creates "every beast" and "every fowl" and you have the same problem again...unless you approach this material knowing that we are looking at two completely different creations stories compiled into one narrative.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The Tree of Life was available to Adam, because "every tree" means "every tree", only the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden. And the power of the fruit of the Tree of Life was to confer immortality. This is important, because it is a tradition accepted by most Christians that Adam was created with inherent immortality and lost it with his disobedience. At any rate, Adam never gets a chance to try that fruit.

Now God, having created man, says to himself, "I can do better than this" and creates another human being, not from mud but from Adam's living flesh:

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Note that God does not need to breathe his spirit into the Woman, she is alive from the moment of creation. There was never a time when Woman was a mud pie.

Pascal Fervor said...

Gen 2-18 "It is not fitting that he should be alone..."

God is without mate. Should He have continued to allow that there be two authorities in the world without mates? This question was answered in the negative. One purpose is noted that the chosen path eliminates that similarity.

"...a help meet for him." The Hebrew transliterates into Azerr Knegudoh.

She is an agency of his proofing: "help meet the bar".

Where he is worthy, she will be an ADR = help, aid. Where he is unworthy, she will be a KNGDV = hindrance, cause of strife. (R'Ashi)


Pascal Fervor said...

You've provided me much grist for the mill here. Thanks.

I've come up with views earlier involving layers of onion you have not yet considered. I hope to may provide you more food for thought.

Let offer some short bursts that may tickle your imagination: Ego was among man's gifts. Unbridled ego led to his downfall (own worst enemy sort of thing). Still does.

Passing blame is a human trait that first appears here. Ongoing still.

"In the Day" is also a metaphor for "an Age." Seen in that light, God's warning was true.

Oh, and God's name is not Yahweh Elohim. His answer to Moses was simply I am that I am.

What is the infinitive of the verb in the sentence "I am," Teresita? "To Be"

Okay, that is two words in English. But let's use a foreign word where it's only one word, like the French être. (I bet there's a similar form in Hebrew -- although I don't need to know.)

For adding to my thesis, look at how John 1:1 does a reprise on Gen 1:1 with "In the beginning was The Word."

I think we are given an additional thought there. We are human and we are given the gift of thought, and that includes new thoughts.

See? I'm saying that The Word could be easily be like être. Remember, God always is and was in this system. But "in the beginning" suggest time is starting, something not timeless is beginning: it's temporal.

So God The Infinite exists always with the infinitive "To Be."

And God ponders "To Be?"

And God commands "Be."

Bang! Voilà! And it continues on.

Teresita said...

I intend to highlight the evolution of God in the scriptures, for the God that tells Moses to stay a certain distance away, and finds the rabble of Israelites he is trying to save to be infuriating, is far different from the God that created Adam from clay and wrestled with Jacob and had a picnic with Abram and Sarai at Mamre.

See? I'm saying that The Word could be easily be like être. Remember, God always is and was in this system. But "in the beginning" suggest time is starting, something not timeless is beginning: it's temporal.

Something that is not timeless cannot fathom how things can come to be without cause and effect. Substitute England as an analogy for the timeline of the universe. There are endless stretches of ocean, and then suddenly England has a beginning at Land's End. A person standing somewhere in this England where land has been substituted for time would say this city was caused by that abutting forest, and that forest was caused by that abutting cow pasture, on and on to the west, until finally he would say that this moor was caused by that cape, but beyond Land's End there is no further explanation, so we must postulate a first cause and call it God.

The timeless view would say simply that England terminated on the Atlantic Ocean at Land's End, as a brute fact of nature requiring no explanation. By analogy, chronology as geography, going backwards in time, the universe terminates at the Planck Time as a brute fact of nature, requiring no explanation.

And while you are being, know that there are those who fear that you be. Ally with others who wish nothing more than to be. Ally against those for whom your death is their goal.

Yes, well, that is one reason I'm not allied with The Family (a very shy group of American Evangelicals with tendrils in the political system). They are helping to push a bill in Uganda to require the death penalty for homosexuals. Osama bin Laden would be proud.

Pascal Fervor said...

You should understand that God, if He exists, would never lie. As Og said: Our ways are not the Lord's ways, and our thoughts not His thoughts.

When you skipped past my opening lines above and jumped straight to my closing lines, you inspired me Teresita.

Welcome to The Eighth Day Teresita. He said it would happen.

Pascal Fervor

1.Adam's snotty second-born son. LOL. That's quite a harsh verdict given your scarcity of evidence.

2. Cain's response and end result is the second recorded lesson of the consequences of coveting. You consider that unimportant?

Teresita said...

2. Cain's response and end result is the second recorded lesson of the consequences of coveting. You consider that unimportant?

I fail to see what Cain coveted, other than recognition by God of his worth. We do find God moderating his punishment, choosing Cain's exile over life-for-life, which is a belated recognition of Cain's worth. But what remains unexplained for me is why God would prefer a bloody offering and ignore a bloodless offering. And particularly, I focus on the fact that Abel offering burnt meat to God is no sacrifice at all, since he is not allowed to eat meat in any event. Cain offering the first fruits of his labor, on the other hand, is truly making a sacrifice, because it dips into his own stash of goodies. It is the difference between the government taking a percentage of the money a farmer makes in taxes, and taking all of the money a printer makes at the US Mint.

Pascal Fervor said...

I fail to see what Cain coveted, other than recognition by God of his worth.

That's it exactly. How much bitterness comes from sibling rivalry? How much lethality from feeling God recognized one more than another?

But what is worse yet to come is a repeat of that first coveting Teresita. What was the first coveting? You touched on it but didn't label it as such.

Teresita said...

You probably refer to the ability to reason, which was conferred by the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve sensed a difference between themselves and Yahweh, and tried to close the gap a little bit. The serpent, too, had this awareness, which only intensified their longing. My thesis is that a deity who creates the capacity in man for reasoning, but then declares reasoning a "sin" and blind obedience and ignorance a "virtue" is not worthy of adoration.

Pascal Fervor said...

We do find God moderating his punishment, choosing Cain's exile over life-for-life

Banishment was a more suitable punishment for manslaughter. It implies that God knew Cain was surprised that his actions caused Abel's death. As death had not happened before, the likelihood of surprise is an element in this story.

But what remains unexplained for me is why God would prefer a bloody offering and ignore a bloodless offering.

Here's an explanation. What if it was not that the offering was bloody, but that it was the best of Abel's sheep? And he sacrificed a source of wool that repetitively provided barter for food. And what if Cain's grain offering may NOT have been of the best of his grain?

You and I do not know, but it is a possible and even a likely explanation.

God to Abel -- "thanks for the sacrifice." God to Cain -- "thanks, but why did you hold back your best?"

This irked Cain, led to an argument, he shoved his brother who fell and struck his head on a rock. Thus not murder, but the result of a jealous anger, maybe not even rage.

Pascal Fervor said...

I'm sorry to come back to this so late, but like I said, there were so many things you'd written, and so little time.

You probably refer to the ability to reason, which was conferred by the fruit [FF] of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

...My thesis is that a deity who creates the capacity in man for reasoning, but then declares reasoning a "sin" and blind obedience and ignorance a "virtue" is not worthy of adoration.

I don't think you're correct in your assertion here T. (I think man always had reason and rationality or he'd not be able to create).

But, let's say you're right. Then they did not have that capacity to begin with, it was that "which was conferred by the" FF, so He was not playing a sadistic game with them. There's no game in this story other than the implication that all souls would be tested.

Now, you may feel used by such testing, but what would you rather, no life to begin with, or being tested once you've been given that life?

Teresita said...

I should be finished with Genesis today. Often there is no commentary, only a paraphrase of what happens in a chapter, or sometimes two chapters. This is my own way of studying the scriptures. Many of these things had been overlooked as I flipped through the pages. This way I will know the entire work, in about a year I reckon.

I don't think you're correct in your assertion here T. (I think man always had reason and rationality or he'd not be able to create).

There was no need for Adam and Eve to create, they had everything they needed growing out of the ground. Even when they were first cast out, it was God who created their clothing for them. But after that they were in the school of hard knocks and had to come up to speed on creating things really fast.

But, let's say you're right. Then they did not have that capacity to begin with, it was that "which was conferred by the" FF, so He was not playing a sadistic game with them. There's no game in this story other than the implication that all souls would be tested.

If you mean by souls that all life would be tested, this is indeed what we see in evolution. Esau still lived in the Edenic mode of relying on what the earth gave up, in the form of game animals. One time this reliance on just the "now" failed, he had to resort to the fruit of Jacob's long view, but the price was his Birthright. Nothing in life came easy to Jacob like it did to Esau (except on that one occasion). He was "tested" every day of his life, but his dogged persistence paid off. And he became not only the literal father of the nation of Israel, but a symbol of their national character.

Now, you may feel used by such testing, but what would you rather, no life to begin with, or being tested once you've been given that life?

Your language steers the conversation in a way that I find impossible to answer, and what I mean is this: Your view is that there is a preexistent "you" that is given life, or if not, you accept a form of that view by resorting to those words. This creates the illusion that it is possible to stand outside of that life and make a judgment such as "would you rather, no life to begin with, or being tested once you've been given that life?" We see this also when people talk about "your body" as though it was a suit that you wore. But I am a Taoist, I see the unity of mind and body. I am my body, you see? So we say, "You are life! When did you never not live?" That is looking backwards. Looking forward we say, "You are life! When will you never not live?"

Pascal Fervor said...

Many of these things had been overlooked as I flipped through the pages.

I gathered that. Hence my recommendation of Jubilees. It offers a somewhat extended look, not just Moses' Pentateuch account.

There was no need for Adam and Eve to create, they had everything they needed growing out of the ground.

I don't think so. God's second command to them was to tend the garden. They needed to learn how -- how the world works -- and that requires rationality. Creativeness was also required -- like in inventing trellises. Jubilees says they were there 7 years learning the ways of the world. It was not enough -- in every sense of that phrase. :) There is a Passover song that recognizes gratitude for God's repeated beneficence. Dayenu -- literally, "it would have been enough for us" is repeated after the recounting of every blessing, then to be followed by another.

Esau still lived... Jacob's long view...

Esau wanting and living for the now; Jacob studying and planning. Isaac preferring the fruits of the now (believing he'd sacrificed enough?); Rebekah, having given birth to the dilemma, seeing that the elder needed the younger whether or not he liked it (also envisioned Esau and Jacob would die on the same day) for her whole brood to survive. I'd say that that reflects the history of our advance too T.

The plunderers whom we have allowed to gain a foothold at achieving global reign are kind of reenacting that ancient conflict. American public servants allowed the best in society to aid its advancement by restraining the plunderers. Slowly the plunderers gained control of the public servant side so that there reside there now only nascent rulers or are no more than plunderers themselves. In their rage at those who actually understand science (knowing how stupid they are in such things themselves) they'd destroy all knowledge and bring on the next dark ages. Nihilist influence runs in high circles.

I'll address the Tao separately.

Pascal Fervor said...

Coincidentally, you said you read Perelandra. That is the middle book of the 3 novel trilogy by C. S. Lewis.

He wrote that fiction to parallel his 3 lecture compilation: "The Abolition of Man" (Read it for free on the Internet starting here.) The first lecture is "Men Without Chests" the last is "The Abolition of Man." The second is titled "The Way." It speaks entirely of the Tao. And Lewis thought it important enough to provide an extensive appendix (longer than any of the 17 paragraph lectures) titled: "Illustrations of the Tao."

I see the unity of mind and body. I am my body, you see? So we say, "You are life! When did you never not live?" That is looking backwards. Looking forward we say, "You are life! When will you never not live?"

No, I don't see. Logically at least, I did not live before sperm met egg. When I cease breathing I'm no longer alive; but life will go on without me. So it is not *I* who is life.

But to label yourself a Taoist implies it is central to your belief system. So, am I right to understand that you are reading scripture to learn what another belief system has that will aid you in understanding your own?

Teresita said...

I gathered that. Hence my recommendation of Jubilees.

Although I was raised Catholic, I will confine myself to just the 66 books of the Protestant tradition. With the exception of the Jesuits and the clergy, and Jesuit clergy, there are no Catholics who study the bible with the focus that I intend to bring to this. By the same token, I will not take excursions into Jewish apocrypha such as the one you mentioned, or the Book of Enoch. And when I complete the Bible, I will do the same thing with the Book of Mormon, while steering clear of the equivalent commentary outside of the BoM, such as "Doctrine and Covenants"

I don't think so. God's second command to them was to tend the garden. They needed to learn how -- how the world works -- and that requires rationality.

Yet the curse that transformed the world into a hostile larger garden, one that sprouted weeds and infestation of parasitical creatures seeking to eat the harvest, that came simultaneously with the expulsion. Everything that Adam learned in the benevolent garden environment was useless.

Slowly the plunderers gained control of the public servant side so that there reside there now only nascent rulers or are no more than plunderers themselves. In their rage at those who actually understand science (knowing how stupid they are in such things themselves) they'd destroy all knowledge and bring on the next dark ages.

In nature we see that flourishing of spring is not constant, and the retreating of autumn is not constant, but the cycle of flourishing-and-retreating is constant. The same applies to enlightment followed by darkness, followed by enlightenment. There was a time when all of (Christian) Europe was in darkness while the Muslim empire of the Mediterranean and Near East experienced an enlightenment of mathematics and chemistry and astronomy and many other sciences. While Americans were going around shooting critters in their coon-skin hats, in Mexico there were advanced universities and a flourishing western tradition. Every empire has its time in the sun. Then the body and soul of that empire experiences the same fate as all other bodies and all other souls.

Teresita said...

Sometimes CS Lewis stumbled on to a great truth and expressed it in a remarkable way that rose to high art. I recall once in The Last Battle when he described, elliptically, how Lucy had much more capacity than any other to drink in the wonders of Aslan. And she was too happy to speak...

The thing that really stood out in my mind about Perelandra was the lengthy "litany" which closed out the book, a beautiful cry against despair with a rhythm and beauty that reminded me of that one passage about Lucy, but extended.

But to label yourself a Taoist implies it is central to your belief system. So, am I right to understand that you are reading scripture to learn what another belief system has that will aid you in understanding your own?

I am viewing the Sacred Scriptures through a Taoist lens. In daojia (not daojiao), there is no immortality. We see that it is the natural way for things to be born, live, and perish, and to Taoists, immortality would seem make us strangers to this world, like a stone smuggled into a nest of eggs. I see this acceptance of mortality among the Patriarchs and Hebrews and pre-Hellenized Jews. I would trace the development of the belief in an afterlife, particularly the idea that there exists a human psyche that can live apart from a body. Such a thing would horrify people like Daniel, who believed only that he would stand again "at the end of days".

The teachings of Christ are positively dripping "Tao".

I also believe that the early Hebrews were henotheists, and the sin of idolatry seems to be a fossil of that, like a fly caught in amber, as they developed into true monotheists and exalted their God into almost an abstraction. Once God stopped talking to individuals and stopped appearing to them in the flesh, but was understood to be the infinitely remote creator of all, then other people worshipping images of stone appear to be merely sadly deluded rather than devotees of rival gods that exist side by side with Yahweh, invoking his jealousy.

Pascal Fervor said...

I also believe that the early Hebrews were henotheists, and the sin of idolatry seems to be a fossil of that .

Seeing as Terach was an idolator whose idols Abe burnt, yes your belief is consistent with most thought. But I think you're missing the distinction as to WHY it is ill-advised to concentrate on a favorite lesser god. I mentioned you bringing this up at BC today. http:pajamasmedia.com'richardfernandez'2010'02'13'the-shadows-of-the-past'#comment-166, where nobody seems to like my termite analogy.

I have been having a back-and-forth with Teresita about the meaning of God. She brought up the idea that other gods exist simultaneously. Well, it is true. Men will decide to traipse after all sorts of gods as each person is tested with the inclination to lose themselves in one or two special things. Dedicating oneself to garnering the good graces of your neighbors or your paramour or you peers or yourself is without a doubt a form of idolatry. When the rest of your world collapses around you because you neglected to give a damn about the termites destroying what makes it possible for you to have gotten lost in your idolatry, know for a fact it is in great part of your own doing.

Teresita said...

Seeing as Terach was an idolator whose idols Abe burnt, yes your belief is consistent with most thought.

My belief is consistent with scripture. The early Hebrews thought that other gods existed in such a manner that the were capable of receiving judgment from Yahweh, who was king of the gods.

Exod.12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

By the time of 1 Corinthians 8:4 the gods had been shown to be a complete figment:

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

But I think you're missing the distinction as to WHY it is ill-advised to concentrate on a favorite lesser god.

There is an argument in atheist circles that Christians are 99.999% atheist too. They don't believe in Apollo and Zeus and Shiva and hundreds of other gods. Atheists just add one more deity to that list.

Pascal Fervor said...

But I think you're missing the distinction as to WHY it is ill-advised to concentrate on a favorite lesser god.

There is an argument in atheist circles that Christians are 99.999% atheist too

LOL.

Let me point to the one facet that even atheists do not deny, and that antitheists and Amalek would like is to forget.

The concept of God remains whether or not He exists. That will always stick in the craw of those who cannot withstand His competition.

Pascal Fervor said...

By the time of 1 Corinthians 8:4 the gods had been shown to be a complete figment:

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

That is nothing short of agreement amongst the elite, "We know (now) that an idol is nothing,..." whereas, before, there had been no doubt the other way.

Mankind still chases what comes easiest to us -- our gods -- often to the detriment of all other things that REQUIRE our attention -- that is, in our need to keep a balance on things, akin to the worship of God.

We want to "leave it to the specialists" in the various gods. Then we complain when some guild gets corrupted, often in little steps.

Like the doctor "guild" who refused to clean up their act until the lawyer "guild" had to come to our aid, and then the insurance "guild" was needed to help allay the costs from that.

Or like the public servants "guild" who now believe they are our rulers.

Tell me all who are laughing Teresita?

Pascal Fervor said...

In daojia (not daojiao), there is no immortality. We see that it is the natural way for things to be born, live, and perish,

I had to come back to this because it troubled me and then I recalled something else.

You simply described another form of immortality. You substituted the never-ending cycle of the pagans for the immortal living God. It is filled with the despair of Sisyphus -- nothing we can do makes any dent in it.

Others are quick to point out that the omniscient God knows how it's going to turn out, so how is He different? Because each of us has a different story, born out by history, certainly as that despised group of Jews (and now Christians) bear witness.

Mankind has made huge advances due the hard work of accumulating knowledge and applying it to understanding how the world works. And it was in large measure due to the seed of an idea that IS the creed that broke the back of the "immortal" cycle.

To add a personal note that underscores my point, every facet that has made our conversation of interest to me has more to do with you being you than because we both will eventually die. Because I am reactive, you have aided me in focusing these thoughts.


Teresita

Certainly the God hypothesis remains no matter how many gaps are closed, because it is impossible to prove a negative. One can never prove there are no aquatic monkepottumuses until one has explored every world in the universe to make sure.

That is nothing short of agreement amongst the elite, "We know (now) that an idol is nothing,..." whereas, before, there had been no doubt the other way.

I place the turning point at Isaiah 37, but if I find an earlier point of transformation it will come out in my study.

Or like the public servants "guild" who now believe they are our rulers.

We shall see. November will be a bloodbath for those who believe they are sent to rule and not to serve.

You simply described another form of immortality. You substituted the never-ending cycle of the pagans for the immortal living God. It is filled with the despair of Sisyphus -- nothing we can do makes any dent in it.

Nor would I want to make a dent in it. Life is the process of transmitting patterns of information into the far future, in opposition to forces (thermal vibration, radiation, predators) that would erase and scatter those patterns. And the information is about how to better protect those patterns. Two complimentary chains of polymers (DNA) was a better way than a single chain (RNA) because if an accident occured in replication, the opposing rung on the ladder served as a error-checking mechanism. The perfect strategy would be to have a triple braid of nucleotides, and during replication, there is a "vote" taken, two out of the three rungs have to agree what goes there. No doubt it is completely possible, in a chemical engineering sense, and might even have been tried, but it resulted in a creature that never experienced mutation. And when the climate changed, or the environment shifted in some way, it was unable to adapt. So the double strand is the perfect design.

Others are quick to point out that the omniscient God knows how it's going to turn out, so how is He different?

Omniscience and omnipotence lead to paradoxes that you don't want to have. An omniscient God, for instance, would have known that he was going to wipe out the whole earth and start over with eight people, and an omnipotent God would have just created those eight people from the gitgo and avoid being "grieved" by his own creation.

Mankind has made huge advances due the hard work of accumulating knowledge and applying it to understanding how the world works. And it was in large measure due to the seed of an idea that IS the creed that broke the back of the "immortal" cycle.

Do not think that I believe in an eternal cycle because I adhere to Taoist philosophy. There is also something called entropy which creates an "arrow of time" that leads to the death of that cycle. In a billion years we shall need to move the Earth into a larger orbit or it will be too hot. In five billion years the sun will become a red giant and devour the Earth.

Pascal Fervor said...

English is the universal language.

Yep, how's that working out? For starters: financially. Printing press working as well as good old "In God We Trust" type mediums?

The scientific method works inexorably to standardize belief. Post-Normal Science and its proponents using the global media to propound that "the science is settled." That type of "scientific" method. :)

Oh, that's propounded in English.

Pascal Fervor said...

Did you happen to read my post comparing Nimrod to Obama? Good old Og helped me fill in some of that.

Teresita said...

The scientific method works inexorably to standardize belief. Post-Normal Science and its proponents using the global media to propound that "the science is settled." That type of "scientific" method. :)

I take the long view. I never fell for the claim that something was scientific if it was "peer-reviewed"...peer review means theological review, and "settled" claims means unfalsifiable claims.

Karl Popper said unfalsifiable claims are not scientific.

The current fad of AGW has fallen, not via peer review, but by being falsified.

Pascal Fervor said...

Recall that facetious post that you thought was only about the video?

It was my attempt -- maybe not all that clear but it was an attempt I explained to you earlier -- to show Sinister Wing Media's latest attempt at indoctrinating the new-age true believers that the Sinister Wing dominated teaching schools have prepared the fertile minds for.

IOW, despite the existence of the scientific method, and despite the debunking of the AGW, the media is still telling the acolytes what they want to hear. I've argued on the part of the scientific method and made no headway with these victims. They BELIEVE. What standardized belief? The one you and I can agree on means we make two.

Don't you think it possible that the coming catastrophe could make the tower of babel story look tame by comparison? It sure seems like a lot of our fellow BC members think so.

Teresita said...

Don't you think it possible that the coming catastrophe could make the tower of babel story look tame by comparison? It sure seems like a lot of our fellow BC members think so.

China is in a bubble that's going to pop, which will drive oil prices down. The Iran thing is going to pop and drive oil prices back up. North Korea will play their last card before they go down and try to extort money from the south by force. Japan is in a financial death spiral brought on by collapsing demographics, and the Toyota thing is just an early stumble in what will be a 20 year train wreck. California and New York are holding back the recovery in the US, which might go into a double-dip, and even look like the 1930s all over again. I'm in a good position to ride all of this out, I have a federal government job fixing torpedoes to make sure the US Navy is ready to meet the Chinese Navy when they come out into the blue water.

james said...

The story of Babel is recapitulated in committee meetings all over the world. A dozen people seem to be speaking the same language, but pretty soon you find out they're talking past each other.

Teresita said...

Even two people can recapitulate Babel, when they appear to be listening, but are really just waiting for the other to stop speaking so it may be their turn to pontificate.

Pascal Fervor said...

Are you familiar with "Jubilees?" Many with a Catholic upbringing are not. http:wesley.nnu.edu'biblical_studies'noncanon'ot'pseudo'jubilee.htm

It's narrative runs parallel to Genesis, and fills in much of the material and chronology for you with its weeks of years.

Since you already are convinced of the late editing of Genesis, the added information -- like the story of Abram surviving the fire he was cast into by Nimrod -- would add some more gusto to your novel approach here.

You'll soon be coming to the 3rd sibling rivalry. One brother on the raw end of the deal (in part by his own making) had a grandson. Much later God informed His people that He would have war in EVERY generation from that grandson (as they'd catch the brunt of it.) You'll come to that in Exodus immediately after the parting of the Red Sea Chapter.

That is one of the few places in the Bible where a metaphor could not be thought of as literal since no man is immortal. It could be said of the grandson that he knew everything and nothing. It is that grandson who is the truly irreverent one. He believes in the truth of the meaning of the Bible better than any believer, perhaps in a Pascal's Wager kind of way, but where he has chosen to play against the House. And he aims to bring many of the unwitting with him.

To thwart God is his game. He wants man not to seek God simply because that is apparently what God wishes. He'll deny He exists, but fights as if He is there simply because that's his version of King of the Hill.

Meanwhile, in the real world, we have Nimrods aplenty who fight the Concept of God (I have a post on this) simply because as long as the Concept exists in man's mind they have a hard time elevating themselves as Augustus did shortly after he achieved hegemony over the last great republic.

Please tell me if any of the preceding is too obscure. I'm pretty much convinced that there is little I've said of which you don't already have some knowledge.

The question for me is, can you help me beef up my premise? I'm not a good original writer, but as you can tell from my efforts today, I respond pretty rapidly to the ideas of others. You light a good spark or two.

Thanks for not being upset with my challenges.

james said...

WRT Set piece action scenes: Twain noticed that the kings who attacked Sodom were rulers of rather small territories, more like what we'd call chiefs than kings. So I wouldn't be surprised that a raiding party might be surprised by a small force and forced to flee without their booty. A pre-dawn attack might not be very film-able, though.

The fact that Abram found it necessary to make sure his servants were trained to serve as a fighting force at need suggests something about the "international" environment.


Teresita said...

James thanks for leaving your comment. I wonder how you found me, are you from Undernet #scripture or did you Google in? 

Pascal Fervor said...

Unlike the child sacrificing cults in Canaan at that time, such as Moloch, the God of Abraham did not require the sacrificing of innocents to him. To me, and to a few others I've discovered over the years, the akedah was clearly a formality that was staged to make the point the topmost God, the Creator of the universe and of all life did not require the massacre of innocents to show homage to Him.

But so many have traditionally been using this passage -- and indeed all scripture -- in an attempt to imply that obeying God (and thus them) is more important than doing what is right. In so doing they do the understanding of not only this rite, but also the creed, a tremendous disservice. That works for Amalek, yes it does.

Look, Abraham argued with God over sparing Sodom, none of whom other than Lot would be any concern of most men. But he did argue for them. But he did not do so here because he was against child sacrifice (and any idolatry as you've noted already) and he had faith or foresaw what God "his friend" had in mind.

I am sorry you are going through these chapters so quickly Teresita because I'd love to discuss in far more depth what you've written already. I understand your commitment to attacking each chapter, and I would assuredly slow you down were you to engage with me more than you already have. I find it fascinating what you chose to address and what you let slip by. There is just not enough time in our lives, is there?

Teresita said...

...the akedah was clearly a formality that was staged to make the point the topmost God, the Creator of the universe and of all life did not require the massacre of innocents to show homage to Him.

Then if God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them, rather than requiring an innocent man be tortured to death as payment?

I am sorry you are going through these chapters so quickly Teresita because I'd love to discuss in far more depth what you've written already. I understand your commitment to attacking each chapter, and I would assuredly slow you down were you to engage with me more than you already have.

The limiting factor is not me, I assure you. I endeavor to address your points here and on your blog.

Pascal Fervor said...

You've made quite a leap from Him formally denying the need for child sacrifice to you questioning our need for salvation. Please explain.

The limiting factor is not me, I assure you. I endeavor to address your points here and on your blog.

T: Correct. The limiting factor is with me. I'm reactive, and you are pumping it out faster than I can respond to all the points I'd like to address. There is a whole element about the forbidden fruit (FF) that was explored by R'Ashi that I wanted to include in my answers to you at my blog earlier, but it was too much. He says the accounting indicates Eve fed some FF to some of he beasts too, and that after she ate of it -- as she then knew good from evil -- she disliked the idea that Adam would go on living without her. You may wish to deny that matches human nature, but you know better. Misery loves company.

Pascal Fervor said...

You've made quite a leap from Him formally denying the need for child sacrifice to you questioning our need for salvation. Please explain.

It has become a major theme of mine to expose and oppose the building up of a Death Cult that worships Sus (Sustainability). Hence my view that in Gen 22 lays the idea that God is also opposed (His commanding an end to the ritual) and that Abe believed that God would provide as reflected in his prediction to Ike.

The world in which we live is not perfect. Anyone who understands the physics knows that all potential energy, once applied, does not produce work without also generating losses.

Ancient man did not understand that yet, and thus could never understand why perfect plans never panned out as envisioned. Hence the built up belief that various gods were displeased and in need of sacrifice.

As for your suggestion that God should simply forgive our sins may be far more shortsighted than you are willing to admit. I recall the proverb that God helps those who help themselves.

A good example and perhaps grist for a new post: The need for each of us to sacrifice some of our comforts may have been put off for too long. Hence the rise of rulers over us where once there were public servants. That's something I've noted many times before. And now, finally, wretchard made a point of it in his post "From this moment on."

Teresita said...

You made the assertion that the Akedah was God formally stating for the record that he did not require innocent blood as homage. Yet every Christian theory of atonement from substitution to satisfaction hinges on divine wrath over sin being quenched by the blood of the guiltless "suffering servant". It sets up a formality that God himself cannot evade. He incarnates at the suffering one, true, but there remains no such thing as unmerited grace: Christ still needed to merit sanctifying grace by obedience unto death. A greater god would simply forgive, on the basis of being infinite, and therefore not offended by the contempt of finite beings, no matter how great that contempt.

Pascal Fervor said...

Yes, He did not require it of men by men. But that still did not stop men. Not even the tribes of Israel quit. Men required it of men, and still do, because mankind is as flawed as is the universe in which we chose to live.

If you want a second chance, God provided you another. Guess what? You're still bridling that it's unworthy of Him.

Did you ever read C S Lewis' The Great Divorce?

og said...

"Then if God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them, rather than requiring an innocent man be tortured to death as payment?"

because the Creator wanted YOU to ask the questions, and try to understand the answers.

It's easy to say "god is wrong. he's evil. He doesn't exist. He is bad. He hurt me, or didn't prevent me from being hurt". It's less easy to say 'What does the Creator want me to learn"

P and I are certainly praying for you that you will open your heart to learning. And the knowledge that we don't have all the answers to all the questions, but to automatically assume that the answers mean "God Sucks" is to choose closemindedness and convenience over learning.

Teresita said...

Pascal Fervor:. . .mankind is as flawed as is the universe in which we chose to live.

That is not what I see in the Scriptures. I see that when God created the universe he said "It is good". And I see that men, created in the image of God, fall short of the glory of God on account of the family dispute that began in Eden, but this can be remedied by a little grace.

Did you ever read C S Lewis' The Great Divorce?

Of C.S. Lewis, only Perelandra and the Narnia Chronicles.

Og: P and I are certainly praying for you that you will open your heart to learning. And the knowledge that we don't have all the answers to all the questions, but to automatically assume that the answers mean "God Sucks" is to choose closemindedness and convenience over learning.

Is that really what you are getting out of this bible study, that I have concluded that God Sucks? Og, do you realize that I'm within a week of commenting on the entire book of Genesis, and you seem to be stuck on the first three or four chapters where I pointed out that an objective reading of the text seems to indicate that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not kill in the same day, as though by fruit poisoning. My M.O. is not to go, "Aha! God lied!" but to identify places where the scripture is shored up by external tradition and commentary to make a pre-existing dogma work. I'm calling that dogma into question, not God.




cleaburn said... Is the next project the Quar'an?

Another question: You are a woman who writes well. Writing is another method of thinking. What do you think is the reason Sarah Palin infuriates -- at a primal level -- the left?

Teresita said...

The next project is the Book of Mormon!

Sarah infuriates the Left because the Left is filled with sexists who loudly proclaim they are not, in the same way we see the Left is also filled with racists who loudly proclaim they are not.

Bush had Colin Powell and Condi Rice for Secretary of State, but to the Left, his cabinet was lily white, because conservative blacks aren't truly black.

To the Left, Conservative women aren't truly women. So the Left focuses on, for example, Ann Coulter's Adam's apple, suggesting she's a man in drag. And Palin doesn't fit the Left's profile of a true woman, because, for example instead of aborting her Down's syndrome baby, she went and had it. So in Palin's case the Left just comes out and says what they really feel about women deep inside: We're stupid.

cleaburn said...

Ero, we are not stupid. The Left is. But more than that, they are too arrogant to know they are. They have been told what to think, and they're not going to depart from they've been told by the Children of the Ivy League.

I thank you for your answer.

I also appreciate your "checkmate," with your explanation, in another post, that the Bible does not forbid women from lying with women.

It does, however, forbid men and women from lying to each other.

Ted L said...

God placed restrictions on marriage selections with respect to immediate family and defined how close one could marry in the family at Leviticus 18. Also prohibited there is homosexuality, described as an abomination to the LORD(v.22), and all the abominable will be cast into the lake of fire for a second death (Rev 20:8) of everlasting destructions. Teresita said...

Fortunately for lesbians, Ted L, there is no prohibition of womankind lying with womankind, as there is against mankind lying with mankind.

Pascal Fervor said...

Amalekites as a overt nation are gone. If we take the word of God seriously, then Amalek cannot be gone. God has sworn there would be war with Amalek generation to generation.

Just as the original Amalek arose later through Isaac -- suggesting he harbored mixed feelings about his role in the covenant -- with the assignment from his grandfather Esau, to kill Jacob where he'd failed, so too do modern Amaleks arise.

Amalekites returned to plague Israelites in the time of Judges, giving rise to the people pleading with Samuel to anoint them King to lead an army. Samuel and God knew it was a hopeless undertaking, but the people could not be persuaded. So Saul was anointed with the stipulation that he wipe out all Amalekites, every man, woman, child, and every animal in their herd. He failed.

David was later chronicled to have wiped out the remnant, but we know better. Amelek still lives. Just as Abe's seed is not necessarily by blood, so too is Amelek's seed.

God will have war with Amalek in every generation. Teresita said...

Thus says the Lord of hosts: "I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, ... Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." 1 Sam. 15:1-3

And when did Amalek sin against Israel? Back in the Sinai days, probably 250 years before the days of King Saul. There are basic principles at play when you punish someone. One, it has to be timely in order to correct the behavior at hand. Two, you have to leave the punishee alive, or the correction is a waste of time. Three, the punishment should be proportional to the offense...you don't cut off someone's hand for flipping the bird. Since the Amalekites did not wipe out the Israelites but only discomfited them, it's not logical to wipe them out down to the last man, woman, child, and head of cattle 250 years later. In fact, it smells like nothing more than human vengeance.

Pascal Fervor said...

You will find in the time of Judges that the land and the people on it were yearly being trampled and pillaged by the roving herdsmen. Check it out Teresita. Amalek was amongst these.

The people were not after Amalek for what they did at Refidim, but for what they had to endure then annually.

Samuel warned them that a King and his army would not provide them what they sought, but they couldn't prevail. Think of it as the predecessor to the American range war between cattlemen and sod-busters.

Pascal Fervor said...

that they couldn't prevail. Samuel was speaking for God, but to no avail. I think God allowed it to prove the point that Amalek can never be totally defeated in the world as it is.

Teresita said...

Perhaps I should not have abridged the passage from 1 Samuel. Samuel says da boss wants to whack Amalek because of something they did long ago, not concurrently. "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt."

Even if Samuel is doing this for what the Amalekites did in Judges 6 in the time of Gideon, here are the number of intervening years between Gideon and Samuel:

Abimelech: 3 years Tola: 23 years Jair: 22 years Jepthah: 6 years Ibzan: 7 years Elon: 10 years Abdom: 8 years Samson: 20 years

Total: 99 years.

About 94 years ago Pancho Villa raided across the border, killed 18 Americans and we sent Black Jack Pershing and Patton to punish them. Shall we commit genocide against Mexicans today?

Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

"And don't call me Shirley!" Samuel finished.

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