Friday, December 01, 2017

With what sort of body?


With what sort of body was Jesus resurrected in? The position I will call “Christological Physicalism” maintains that Jesus was resurrected in the same body that he sacrificed, and currently has it now in heaven, outside of earth’s human-life sustaining atmosphere, where his Nazarene body is continuously and miraculously preserved.

Captivatingly, the introductory question was rhetorically asked and answered by the Apostle Paul. He wrote:
Nevertheless, someone will say: “How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?” You unreasonable person!
Here he used the word ἄφρων (aphrōn), meaning “without reason, foolish, and without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly.” He then continued:
What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies. … Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, there is another flesh of cattle, another flesh of birds, and another of fish. And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort. (1 Corinthians 15:35, 36, 39, 40)
While the next verse uses the illustration of how different astronomical bodies differ in their observable glory, his point about the dichotomy between heavenly bodies, including spiritual bodies as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:44, and earthly bodies is unmistakably clear. In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 he contrasted the corruptible, dishonorable, weak and physical with the incorruptible, glorified, powerful, and spiritual. Thus, while the Christian bound for heavenly life was once earthly—corruptible, dishonorable, weak and physical—upon being resurrected to heavenly life he would now be incorruptible, glorified, powerful, and spiritual. The same principle would be true of Jesus their Lord, would it not? While Jesus’ Nazarene body birthed from Mary was not corrupted with Adamic sin, Paul agrees in 1 Corinthians 15:45 that Jesus was resurrected, not as a Nazarene from Mary, but as “a life-giving spirit,” one who was incorruptible, glorified, powerful, and spiritual.

Pressing this contrast further, Paul at 1 Corinthians 15:47-49 states that “the first man is from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven,”[1] As humans are made from “dust,” being carbon-based, like Adam was, Christians in heaven will not be made of “dust”—they will no longer have carbon-based bodies—but will now have spiritual or heavenly bodies “like the heavenly one,” Jesus. (Philippians 3:20-21) This contrast proves conclusively that Christological Physicalism is in error, and is guilty of deflating Paul’s powerful ontological contrast. Paul then can be seen condemning ones “clinging”[2] to Jesus’ Nazarene body that he willfully sacrificed as being ἄφρων (aphrōn), “without reason, foolish, and without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly.”[3]

There is also a very good reason why Jesus could not take back his sacrificed body: his perfect human body was his perfect human life. By sacrificing his perfect human body, he sacrificed his perfect human life. He died. He sacrificed that entire package that corresponded to what Adam lost. (Romans 5:18-19; Hebrews 9:22, 10:10; 1 Timothy 2:5-6) Thus, his resurrection by his Father was an act of kindness, a reward. He sacrificed his perfect-human-body-life and thus could not be resurrected as a man again, and certainly not in his sacrificed body. It only could have been an entirely different body, a spirit body, which is incidentally the only type of body that can exist in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:50) Confirming this is Hebrews 5:7, which says that Jesus was resurrected due to his godly devotion. Thus, his resurrection by his Father was an act of kindness, a reward. This is why Jesus said at John 10:17 “I surrender my life, so that I may receive it again.” This “life” transcends his earthly sojourn, so he sacrificed his earthly life but received his resurrected life as a spirit.[4] It was a reward for completing his mission.

Christological Physicalism may use the “raised up in glory” of 1 Corinthians 15:43 as a basis for the concept of having Jesus being a “glorified human,” thus making it sound scriptural. However, this would contradict Jesus’ own declaration at John 14:19-20, that “the world will see me no more,” but that only his followers in heaven would see him. Therefore, it is a certainty that nothing of Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body can be physical and occupying space in our universe. So while the term “glorified” in “glorified human” may sound scriptural, it actually is a word devoid of any meaning, and falls into the category Peter warned of in 2 Peter 2:3 of “counterfeit words,” or “feigned words.” Peter also warned that such ones using their own fake words would speak abusively of the scriptures, unwittingly or not.—2 Peter 2:2.

Objections
In response, some Christological Physicalists may mention that God preserved the clothing and feet of the Israelites during their Wilderness wandering (Deuteronomy 8:4, 29:5) and protected the three Israelites from the merciless flames in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:25-27), or Jonah’s preservation in the aquatic beast (Jonah 1:17), etc. as proof that God can preserve people in inhospitable environments; consequently, God could preserve for all eternity Jesus’ flesh that he sacrificed. However, some disconnects are observable here. First, those acts of preservation and protection served a purpose and were acts of kindness. Second, they were temporary, not eternal. Third, there were no legal transactions at work to take into account. Thus, this objection actually betrays a lack of appreciation for Jesus Christ’s ransom sacrifice.

Another response is to ask for a scriptural definition of a materialization. This can be delivered by referring to the brief account in Genesis 6:4-5, where the “sons of God,” or angels,[5] had relations with women to produce the Nephilim. In order to accomplish this, each spirit creature or demon must have manufactured a functional male body of their own design and then possessed it, like a puppeteer controlling a puppet—thus, a puppet ontology. This is certainly not hard to imagine, considering the “let us” language used in creation of mankind (Genesis 1:26), or even as seen in the collaboration of the divine council at 1 Kings 22:19-22. At the time of the Noachian Deluge, those materializations ceased being practical (or ceased being tolerated) and must have been discarded, perhaps by rapid dematerialization. Thus, materializations in and of themselves are not speculative, but are deeply rooted in scripture to discerning ones.[6]

Others mention Moses and his effulgence, and point out that he was still a human. (Exodus 34:29-35) A comparison is then made to Jesus’ effulgence to Saul (Acts 9:3-6; 22:6-10; 26:13-17), with the conclusion being that Jesus could still have been human, as well. However, while both instances were certainly miraculous, there are some notable differences between the two events. First, Moses’ radiance was the result of close contact with Jehovah’s angelic representative at Mt. Sinai, and if from that angel, then it was illustrative of that significant event. Jesus’ radiance, on the other hand, was delivered from the sky. Thus, his was illustrative of his actual effulgence in the spirit realm, and was thus a visionary experience (as in Revelation 1:16). Claiming that Jesus’ radiance was from himself as a “glorified” human is a contradiction, for it contradicts the laws of physics to have a human body being able to radiate that much illumination. Contradicting the laws of physics is to contradict the word of God in nature per Romans 1:20. Alternately, claiming then that God was holding the human Jesus in the sky and making him radiate light beyond the brilliance of the sun would make God into a foolish micromanager. No, it was really Jesus positioning himself in the sky and using light rays to illustrate his actual effulgence in the spirit realm.

Another objection is to question the usefulness of 1 Corinthians 15:45 in identifying Jesus. Here, Jesus is identified in many translations as a “life-giving spirit” in contrast to Adam who was a man. The question is, should this phrase, “a life-giving spirit,” be understood ontologically or functionally? However, aside from not appreciating that a functional role would still put Jesus in the class of spirit, this question continues to ignore the contrast Paul made conspicuously clear in 1 Corinthians 15, that Jesus is now different than Adam. Adam was carbon-based and is our human father. Jesus, on the other hand, manifestly cannot be a carbon-based man now—if he was, then Paul’s conspicuous contrast collapses like a house of cards. (Compare with Galatians 1:1, 11-12, where Paul again contrasts “a man” with Jesus.) Again, this objection betrays a glaring lack of appreciation for Jesus Christ’s ransom sacrifice.

Another objection may be to claim that Hebrews 5:7 does not put Jesus’ humanity in the past; however, this objection is betraying an amateurish bias against the notion that Jesus is a spirit now. What could possibly be the motivation otherwise?

Therefore, these objections, and any others like them, really betray ignorance and mockery of the scriptures, shallow thinking, a bigoted complaining mentality, and sinful ingratitude for the ransom.

Footnotes:
[1] As Adam was created in the earthly realm, so it would naturally, logically follow that Jesus was created in the heavenly realm. The Christological preexistence-denying camp (ie. Socinian or “Biblical Unitarian” camp) glaringly misapplies this contrast as seen in Sir Anthony Buzzard’s commentary, where he states that Jesus being from heaven is eschatological: “the now immortal Jesus will arrive from heaven at his return.” (The One God, the Father, One Man Messiah Translation, footnote 1080) This comment betrays a bias against Christological preexistence, a preconceived anti-preexistence bias.

[2] Used in reference to John 20:17, where Jesus stated that he did not want people to cling to his flesh, in this case the physical body he was materialized in that was going to be discarded or dematerialized. In principle, the same can be said with his Nazarene body: Jesus willingly sacrificed that and therefore he would most clearly also not want people to cling to that either. In the same spirit, Jesus admonished people to not cling to the past with this principle: “No man who has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well-suited for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Combining these points, ones clinging to Jesus’ sacrificed body, ‘looking at the things behind,’ are not “well-suited for the Kingdom of God.”

[3] As shown above, he issued this denunciation against ones who could not follow that a physical man was to be resurrected as a spirit creature. Thus, the same negative situation exists for ones who are not following that the physical Jesus was to be resurrected as a spirit creature. Later, when writing to the Galatians, he used a similar condemnatory word ἀνόητος (anoētos) “not understanding, unwise, foolish” twice against them for underestimating the significance of Jesus’ sacrificial death.—Galatians 3:1, 3.

[4] This point is emphasized with Jesus having a prehuman existence as a spirit creature.

[5] For a conclusive explanation for why they were angels, see Reversing Hermon by Dr. Michael Heiser. See also Who Were the Nephilim? www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/nephilim-giants/.

[6] Elaborating further, first, a spirit creature would manufacture a human body that had all its relevant parts intact—whatever suited the needs of the spirit. However, it would not be operative until the spirit creature began to exercise its influence on it, possessing it like a hand in a puppet. While the spirit creature would be animating the materialization, it would not be conscious or sentient; it would still function as a biological automaton under remote control. Then the materialization would have any function that the designing and possessing spirit creature desired. Refer to Figure 2 and Appendix C in Jesus: a Spirit Born on Earth.

Regarding the process of dematerialization, this may have been accomplished in a variety of manners, like atomization. This would pose no difficulty for the transcendent and controlling spirit being. None of the foregoing is very deep or complicated, certainly not scandalous, and it should be very easy to envision a spirit being having this power and ability.

Appendix
  1. πνευματικός
  2. Jesus’ Nazarene body
πνευματικός
The Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says the following about the word πνευματικός (pneumatikos) in 1 Corinthians 15:44: “pertaining to not being physical—‘not physical, not material, spiritual.’” This resource adds the following observation: “In some language the concept of ‘spiritual body’ can only be expressed negatively as ‘the body will not have flesh and bones’ or ‘the body will not be a regular body.’” (semantic domain 79.3). Thus, this presentation has academic support.

Jesus’ Nazarene body
It is sobering to meditate on what injuries Jesus suffered during the crucifixion process. After the scourging, reducing his back to ribbons of bleeding flesh, the crown of thorns was placed on his head, and then beaten down with multiple, merciless blows with a rod. Those thorns would have been long, firm, and sharp. They would have produced numerous lacerations scraping against his cranium wherever the rod hit his head, possibly piercing his outer ear cartilage as well. Did any thorns actually pierce his skull during any of those blows? Then the purple robe of mockery was torn off of him, reopening any coagulating injuries and starting more bleeding. The blood loss was so extensive that he could not even carry the torture stake for very long, even though the other condemned men evidently were able to carry it the entire distance. When the nailing began, it is possible that nails were driven though his heel bones, one nail per heel, thus nailed at both sides of the stake. This would leave both heel bones with a hole through them, but not shattered. Lastly, while his legs were not shattered, a spear was thrust up into his side, piercing the region of his heart. In short, his Nazarene body was destroyed. In order for it to be rejuvenated and resurrected, it would need massive healing on multiple points—including the replacement of lost flesh. Thus the conclusion becomes inescapable that a healed body would not be his sacrificed body. It appears to me then that ones claiming that Jesus was resurrected with the same body that he sacrificed are not appreciating what happened to that body! They show room to grow in their appreciation for what the ransom sacrifice entailed.


Excursus
  1. Verbal pummeling
  2. Enoch and Elijah
Verbal pummeling
Paul was not concerned about hurting anyone’s feelings at 1 Corinthians 15:36 and Galatians 3:1, 3, nor was Jesus with his verbal bashing at Luke 9:62. Neither was Jeremiah for that matter, if we are to imagine him literally fulfilling the command in Jeremiah 6:11 to vent his searing wrath on everyone in the street. In fact, Paul’s audience even complained that Paul’s words were ‘weighty and forceful,’ possibly in reaction to his argument starting in 1 Corinthians 15:36. (2 Corinthians 10:10) But he did not recoil in fear of their sniveling grievance. This was not cruel—it merely expressed a wake-up call of righteous indignation fortified with integrity for the truth.

While such verbal pummeling was found on the lips and pens of those servants and messengers of God, Christians who are not of such divine appointment should rather display, for the most part, “mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) Of course, we should not mince our words either, if righteous indignation allows for it, even if the response is similar to what Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:10, knowing that we cannot please everybody, as Paul feared in Galatians 4:16. Supporting that we should not mince or dilute our words when the situation calls for it is Ecclesiastes 12:11, which says that “the words of the wise are like oxgoads, and their collected sayings are like firmly embedded nails.” The Message paraphrase relays the meaning as “the words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.” These oxgoads and hammered nails, while not feeling good at the time of contact, are meant to have a corrective and then stabilizing effect.

Enoch and Elijah
Jeremiah reported that Elijah ‘ascended to the heavens in a windstorm’ in Israel, whereas Ezra reported that he was still on earth a number of years later sending a letter to wicked King Jehoram of Judah. (2 Kings 2:11; 2 Chronicles 21:12-15) Thus, for both accounts to be accurate, he must have been transferred to another prophetic assignment, in agreement with Jesus’ own conclusion at John 3:13, that no one had ascended to heaven. (See: “Elijah” wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001307#h=12-13)

Similarly, while Enoch was somehow “taken” by God (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5), he too per John 3:13 never ascended to heaven. Instead, God may have put him in a prophetic trance and then terminated his life while he was in the trance so that he would not experience the pangs of death.—Hebrews 11:13. (See: “Enoch” wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001371)


Additional reading:

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 17, 2017

Jesus’ body now: flesh or spirit?




The following scriptures are typically used in support of a spirit-resurrection for Jesus: 1 Corinthians 15:45, 1 Peter 3:18, along with Galatians 1:1, 11, 12 where Paul says his appointment and teaching is not from any man, and Hebrews 5:7 where Jesus’ physical body is spoken of as being in the past (literally “in the days of his flesh”). Additionally, and not any less significant, Hebrews 10:10 reports that Jesus sacrificed his physical body—thus for him to take it back would be to cancel the salvific transaction to God. Another issue which cannot be stressed enough is the Atonement Day drama where the High Priest passed though the curtain from the Holy to the Most Holy on Atonement Day with only the blood and not the body of the sacrificed animal, thus, in fulfillment, Jesus presented the value of his sacrificed life and not his body when he passed though the greater spiritual curtain in the presence of the Almighty God Jehovah.—Hebrews 10:19, 20.

Conversely, scriptures used to support Jesus being resurrected with his sacrificed body (not just with a new fleshly body, but his original Nazarene body), taking back his sacrificed body, are: Acts 17:31, 1 Timothy 2:5 and Colossians 2:9. However, the “man” expression in Acts 17:31 and 1 Timothy 2:5 refers to Jesus’ historical existence of being a man on earth. Thus Jesus is a man experientially, not ontologically. Colossians 2:9 rightly says he has a body, but does not specify a physical one, thus it may be a spirit body being referenced. An additional scripture popularly employed is Luke 24:39, where the resurrected Jesus said he is not a spirit but has “flesh and bones” after miraculously appearing inside a locked room (according to the parallel account in John 20:19). Ones who conclude this means that Jesus was ontologically not a spirit also conclude that he also had no blood, and must therefore ignore this palpable and absurd contradiction of being alive as a man without any blood. However, when Jesus appeared in the locked room he indeed had blood as confirmed in Luke 24:39 and at 1 John 1:1 where his invited followers felt his flesh to confirm that he was not a vision. By feeling and examining his flesh, they could doubtlessly confirm blue veins and that he had blood (which is liquid flesh) and was not bloodlessly blanched. This only makes sense if he was a spirit being materializing into the locked room. Supporting this as a materialization event is the context of Luke 24:39, for Jesus had earlier instantaneously vanished in Luke 24:31. He then reversed that in Luke 24:36-37, making a frightening appearance among them inside the locked room. (John 20:19) Jesus being understood as materializing into the locked room addresses his miraculous and startling appearance, whereas the other interpretation does not and leaves it as an unresolved mystery of preposterous proportions.

To summarize:
  • Jesus instantaneously vanished from sight in front of two people.—Luke 24:13, 30-31.
  • Jesus appeared inside a crowded locked room and startled everyone.—Luke 24:36-37; John 20:19.
  • Thus, he miraculously disappeared and reappeared, consistent with a spirit being materializing and dematerializing.

Thus, ones who believe that Jesus has a physical body now in heaven must clarify if it is the one he received during his earthly sojourn or another physical body received at his resurrection. They must also specify how Jesus is able to exist with a physical body outside of earth’s protective atmosphere, which is a direct violation of the decree in Psalm 115:16. Additionally, ones who insist that Jesus is able to retain his original physical body due to it being “glorified” in some undefined sense are unable to cite any supporting scriptures specifying how his physical body is glorified and thus preserved.

One significant scripture that must be showcased is John 6:63, where Jesus answers his question in verse 62: “Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?” The “before” is defined for us previously in John 6:38 as being heaven. He then answered that the spirit is life-giving but that “human nature is of no help!” (NET Bible) If that’s Jesus’ view of human nature in heaven, then why would he have one? Therefore, I am left with little choice but to conclude that Jesus being called a “man” must be experiential, and that he now exists as a mighty spirit person.

It appears to me that ones insisting otherwise, that Jesus retained his sacrificed Nazarene body are clinging to Jesus’ body when he said “Stop clinging to me,”[1] and are contradicting Jesus when he said that “the flesh is of no use at all” (NWT) “the flesh doesn’t help at all” (HCSB) “the flesh counts for nothing” (NIV) in heaven (per John 6:38). (John 20:17; 6:38, 62-63) He sacrificed his flesh (blood and the rest of his body) during the crucifixion, and by his own admission it is not currently needed in heaven. Thus, in order to obey Jesus’ direct command, we should not cling to it.

Jesus also stated that his human audience could not go to heaven on their own: “Where I am going, you cannot come.” (John 8:21; see also John 7:34 and 13:33) Jesus clarifies that this is because his audience is “from the realms below,” the earth, but that he is “from the realms above.” (John 8:23)[2] Thus, if Jesus was not resurrected as a spirit person, he could not enter heaven, “the realms above” either! Jesus here called it a transcendent realm that humans cannot survive in, being beyond earth’s atmosphere. To enter that place, it is clear that you have to be a transcendent spirit person. Paul supported this arrangement in 1 Corinthians 15:50 where he said in so many words that human nature cannot enter heaven. Therefore, that interpretation of a fleshly Jesus in the transcendent heaven mocks Jesus and needlessly makes Christianity look hopelessly absurd on a colossal scale. It has wrought incalculable damage to Christianity’s credibility, and is thus a “doctrine of demons.”—1 Timothy 4:1.

(Please excuse my specific and repetitive writing style seen here. This issue needs to be presented in an unusually clear manner.)

Footnotes:
[1] In principle only, of course. I am obviously not claiming that this post-resurrection body was his original one.

[2] The New Testament – A Translation by William Barclay has “world below” and “world above.”

Additional reading:
Credits:
Opening graphic from the Israel Study Center. http://news.israelstudycenter.com/uploads/1500026429.jpg

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Raising Cain...

...by lowering standards. Epic facepalm.

The Biblical Cain was the first human murderer and was forced into exile from Eden, to wander the earth in the Middle East,[1] eventually founding a city named Enoch. (Genesis 4:8, 11, 12, 16, 17)[2] While there is no direct mention of Cain eventually dying, it is certain that he did from a Biblical point-of-view, for at least three reasons:

  1. There is nothing stating that he was to wander forever.
  2. As a child of Adam, he inherited a death sentence. (Romans 5:12-14)
  3. Lastly, the Noachian Deluge wiped the earth clean of prior wickedness, including Cain’s legacy.

However, as early as 1835 it was reported that one of the first apostles of the Mormon Church came “face to face with Cain” and had an “interview with Cain.”[3] This was David W. Patten (1799-1838) who converted to Mormonism in 1832 and who was appointed as a Mormon apostle in 1835. He was killed in October 1838 as an outlaw during a firefight with the Missouri Volunteer Militia.[4]

David W. Patten, the Mormon apostle who “raised Cain.”

Being described as “one of the most remarkable experiences of his life,” while traveling by mule on a country road near Missouri, he described seeing a tall, naked, dark, hairy humanoid who claimed he “was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro” who most significantly “could not die.” Patten concluded that this was “a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as being Cain,” and told this to other Mormons.[5] However, it could not have been Cain due to the three scriptural issues above, as well as the geographical anomaly of being far from his Middle Eastern associations. He lived and died there. (Claiming at this point that it was Cain’s “ghost” is merely an undocumented assertion crafted for the sole purpose of solving this dilemma.) Therefore, Apostle Patten did the Mormon community a great disservice by claiming to have conversed with Cain, which exposed his shallow grasp of the scriptures. Interestingly, this geographical anomaly was repeated later on May 19, 1838 when Joseph Smith, the Mormon founding prophet, identified a plot of land in Missouri as being “the place where Adam blessed his posterity after being driven from the Garden of Eden,” with the Garden of Eden logically being close by.[6] This claim also did the Mormon community a great, incalculable, disservice—producing a crazed fanaticism of then having to maintain that Noah’s ark traveled from this locale all the way across the world to the “mountains of Ararat” in the Middle East. (Genesis 8:4) It is the wrong location for both Eden and Cain’s habitation.

Thus, bolstered by this highly unfortunate misidentification by Joseph Smith, Patten’s claim did not die with him. In fact, it reared its ugly head again in a very unexpected place years later in 1921, across the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii. There, the president of the Hawaii Mission, E. Wesley Smith, reported a frightening encounter with a giant, naked, unkempt ruffian entering his office the night before the dedication of their Mormon temple at Laie. His prominent brother Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith identified his unwelcome visitor as none other than Cain, “whose curse is to roam the earth seeking whom he may destroy.” Cain was thus presented as being “an incarnation of supernatural evil sent by Satan, whose primary role was to undo the work of the [Mormon] Church.”[7] Interestingly, this same “Cain” was also reported to have struck again in the 1920s in Mexico, disturbing “an unnamed [Mormon] apostle.”[8] Such occurrences blissfully detached from one another, hailing from disparate places on earth, can only make the Mormon Cain appear to be a demonic figure who can manifest himself at will anywhere in the world, a satanic “incarnation of supernatural evil.”

Maintaining a folklore psychology such as this, that Cain is alive and travels the world menacing Mormons, is contrary to the spirit of 2 Peter 1:16, 1 Timothy 1:4, 4:7, and 2 Timothy 4:4. As this unscriptural and demonic folklore began with a Mormon apostle, and was supported by the Mormon founder, it should be laid to rest by the highest powers of the Mormon Church. It began with them, and it should end with them. Will it? Frankly, like with other oddities that have accumulated in Mormonism, I highly doubt it will, as that would by extension call into question the accuracy of their founder in his outrageously absurd misidentification of Eden in Missouri. Belief systems that harbor colossal absurdities of astronomical magnitude are simply not worth being associated with.

Raising Cain in the minds of people as a frightening agent lowered the standards a religion professing to be Christian should set for its members. A Christian religion should be directing its members to study the Bible and should lead them to fear God and Christ, not bogeymen.—Proverbs 1:7, 8:13, 9:10, 19:23; Colossians 3:22.

Footnotes:
[1] Eden was in the Middle East as attested by the Bible. Significantly, Mormon scriptures unwittingly both agree with that and contradict that by placing Eden in Missouri, a state in America. This sobering situation is presented here in detail: Mormonism and the Eden Direction Dilemma http://jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2013/08/mormonism-and-eden-direction-dilemma.html

[2] Additionally, in order to found a city, one wonders if he eventually settled down and stopped being a wanderer. Now, while Mormons have a lot more to say about the Sethite Enoch than what’s found anywhere else, they seem to have nothing to say about Cain’s city Enoch, as noted here in their online reference: “Enoch.” Bible Dictionary. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/enoch.html?lang=eng&letter=E

[3] Wilson, Lycurgus A. The Life of David W. Patten, the First Apostolic Martyr. The Desseret News. Salt Lake City. 1900. Pp. 6, 45. https://archive.org/details/lifeofdavidwpatt1900wils

[4] Patten, David W. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism. http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Patten,_David_W.

[5] Supra note 3. Pp. 49-51.

[6] Adam-ondi-Ahman Temple http://ldschurchtemples.org/adamondiahman/

[7] Bowman, Matthew. A Mormon Bigfoot: David Patten’s Cain and the Conception of Evil in LDS Folklore. Journal of Mormon History. Vol. 33, No. 3 (Fall 2007), p. 69. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/mormonhistory/vol33/iss3/

[8] Ibid. Pp. 69-70.


Additional resources:

Nothing to fear here. Dead is dead.

Labels:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Attributes of Exaltation


Glossary: ‘BU’ stands for “Biblical Unitarian,” a non-Trinitarian Christian movement characterized as having a Socinian Christology—that is, a Jesus without a pre-human existence. It is distinguished from Unitarian Universalism. In contrast, all other non-Trinitarian models maintain a Christological preexistence, as seen most readily with Jehovah’s Witnesses (the ‘JW-model’).

What were the attributes Jesus received upon his exaltation? In the BU-model, Jesus’ exaltation was 100% unique as he had never been in heaven or in the spirit realm before. In the so-called “Arian” model affirming Jesus’ preexistence, his exaltation returned to him what he had experienced before his human life (per its interpretation of John 17:5),[1] and added at least two more highly significant attributes.

To define it more specifically, in his prehuman life according to the JW-model, Jesus was honored as (1) God’s first creation (2) whom God created things through and (3) the archangel and leader of the angelic armies (Joshua 5:14) as well as the angel of the Exodus (Exodus 23:21) leading God’s people but who was nonetheless (4) mortal.

Following his exaltation, he now sat on God’s throne to rule in his name as immortal. So #4 was ontologically upgraded from mortal to immortal and indestructible. (Hebrews 7:15-17) (Prior to his earthly sojourn he was “immortal” only if he did not turn into an enemy of God. Thus his “immortality” was contingent on his loyalty and not being in enmity with God.) And, in addition to #1-3, he was now (5) granted authority to rule on par with God. (Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 1:20)

1 Peter 3:22 says that he was exalted to “God’s right hand” and “angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.” In his new capacity as ruling in God’s place he had more authority than before, even though authority over the angels and God’s people was his beforehand. As such in his new, exalted capacity, he is now the intercessor of prayer to his Father Jehovah. Following his relinquishing of command in 1 Corinthians 15:24, “when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father” and sits on his subordinate throne, he will forever retain the experience of having acted in that exalted capacity, and he will always remain immortal and indestructible.

Regardless, some favor the BU-model of Jesus’ exaltation being 100% unique and on that basis exclude preexsistence. But does the Bible or 1 Peter 3:22 present that every element of Jesus’ exaltation was new to him? I’m not sure it does. However, what he enjoyed prior to his earthly life that was returned to him upon his exaltation was new in the sense of now being enjoyed from sitting on God’s throne—a position not enjoyed beforehand.

By way of comparison, the Trinitarian model presents a disaster where the preexistent Christ was the second person of the Godhead and never ceased being such during his early sojourn and beyond. Thus only his human body was somehow exalted. But the Bible presents the person as being exalted, not just an enfleshment, like his followers exalted to heaven.

Excursus: God’s relationship to Jesus
The Bible portrays Jesus as having an incredibly intimate and close relationship with the Father, which is unlike anything ever described by Adam, Moses or any prophet (Luke 10:22; John 5:19-22), his apparent knowledge and experience of the ancient past (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34; John 8:56-58),[2] and the way John 3:16 portrays the Father as ‘giving’ his only-begotten Son on a divine mission to be “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) can only be best explained by understanding that Jesus did in fact exist prior to his existence on the earth.

What the BU-model is proposing is that the Father manufactured His own son on earth, allowed human parents to raise him, formed some kind of relationship with him during his 33½ years of life on the earth, which is absent from the record, in order to explain the deep personal cost Jehovah endured. This was reflected in the earthquake happening right after Jesus died. Nothing like that happened when Adam was ejected from the garden or when Moses died. In prophetic foreshadowing, Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac on a funeral pyre (Genesis 22:1-12), like God was prepared to sacrifice his son. How would the BU-model even come close to paralleling what Abraham was prepared to do with Isaac? It would be like God asking Abraham to sacrifice someone else’s son!

There is also the account of Jacob weeping bitterly over the apparent loss of his son Joseph. (Genesis 37:33-35) As one journal explained: “The cost of the ransom can also be illustrated by an incident in the life of Jacob.” Then after explaining how bitterly and inconsolably Jacob wept, it continued: “Jehovah does not react to situations exactly as imperfect humans do. Yet, meditating on this incident in the life of Jacob may help us to grasp, to some extent, how God must have felt when his beloved Son was mistreated and cruelly put to death as a man on earth.”[3] Thus, similar with Abraham, it would be like expecting Jacob to bitterly mourn the death of someone else’s son.

In closing, from this perspective it is strikingly apparent that the only model consistent with the Biblical narrative is the one that includes Christological preexistence. It was with this close relationship with his pre-human son then that God established his kingdom of reconciliation to mankind “according to his good pleasure.”—Ephesians 1:9-12.

Footnotes:
[1] In the BU-model, Jesus was referring to a prophetic promise of exaltation, not a preexistent position.

[2] These scriptures are discussed in greater depth here: Jesus’ life before his birth http://jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2017/05/jesus-life-before-his-birth.html

[3] The Watchtower. August 15, 2010 page 15. https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2010604


Further reading:


Credits:
  • Ice cave by Erez Marom Photography.
  • The general reasoning and wording in the Excursus was inspired by Mark Davis, an online acquaintance of mine for years. (The material on Jacob is mine.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ante- or Co-Adamism?

Can the Bible allow for other humans to have existed before or contemporaneously with Adam and Eve? (Called Ante- and Co-Adamism respectively.) Such a notion is certainly not what is found leaping from the pages of Genesis. However, there are some passages that some may use to reason that there is some broader context being alluded to regarding the actual extent of human existence. One is the condemnation of Cain in Genesis 4:11-15, where Cain in verses 13-14 expresses dire concern over his safety in exile. Dr. Michael Heiser asks if Cain was concerned about people finding him “a thousand years later? Five hundred years later, a hundred years later?” He continues: “I mean it seems like when God puts a mark on Cain to protect him that the protection is needed right then.”[1] I agree to an extent, but without the need to employ Co-Adamism. First, it is true that the context only allows for three people at this point: Adam, Eve, and Cain; and Cain was not afraid of his parents executing him, avenging Able. So who was he afraid of that day? Genesis 5:4 states that Adam “became father to sons and daughters.” While this is stated after the birth of Seth, this line in the Genesis 5 genealogy is a summary. Thus, Cain could have been afraid of one of his unnamed siblings, both that day and following it for as long as he lived. Cain was not just concerned about meeting someone in the land of Exile or Nod (Genesis 4:16), for as he was to be by divine decree “a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth,” (Genesis 4:12) so he was also looking ahead in time, concerned about preserving his potentially long life. Another point to consider is this: If there really were other humans around living in Nod or elsewhere, why would they have any beef with Cain over killing Able? They could care less! If anything, they would have viewed Cain as a strange, new visitor for possible bartering. No, the mark or sign associated with Cain would only make sense for ones in Cain’s tribe, not for foreigners who would be ignorant of Cain’s deed and ignorant of the significance of his mark or sign. Thus, if he was concerned about being avenged that very day by someone, he had one of his unnamed brothers in mind.

Following this we are confronted with two important events showcased in Genesis 4:17:
  1. While in exile, Cain all of sudden has a wife without any introduction. Did he meet her in Nod? Or did he take one of his unnamed sisters (which at this early time was not incestuous)?
  2. Then in the same verse she gives birth to Enoch and then Cain builds a city named after him.
An example of a primitive Mesopotamian city

This verse presents some very condensed history. It is thus very possible that Cain was married before he killed Able. In this scenario, his wife chose to remain with him and departed from her parents and everything else she knew of, never to return. Regarding building Enoch, what’s most likely happening here is that they built the nucleus of Enoch that was later enlarged into a sprawling urban center. So saying he “built” Enoch is an accepted anachronistic way of saying that he founded it.

Another passage is found in the last verse, Genesis 4:26. First, Adam’s third named son, Seth, had a son whom he named Enosh. Then, it enigmatically adds that “At that time people began calling on the name of Jehovah.” (RNWT) Or, as the NWT put it: “At that time a start was made of calling on the name of Jehovah.” The NET Bible has “people” here like the RNWT, but notes that:
The word “people” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation. The construction uses a passive verb without an expressed subject. “To call was begun” can be interpreted to mean that people began to call.
Regardless of what type of “calling” was being performed, whether or not it was pious or impious, the question is raised on why this is significant, if this implies that foreigners existed who were evangelized or took a position on worshipping Jehovah. However, this leaves out that the genealogy in the next chapter includes the same summary for Seth that it had for Adam, that he “became father to sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:6) So we could conceivably be working with quite a few unnamed people, a small community at this point, without the need to bring in foreigners. So if it was a pious calling, then this would indicate a revival.

But there is an implication of Ante- and Co-Adamism that I find troubling and unscriptural, and even opposed to the teachings of Jesus, namely that death was occurring prior to Adam among these people. This in particular nullifies Jesus’ declaration that Satan “was a murderer when he began,” a clear reference to the time when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Tree of Life due to Satan’s deceptions, being called the “father of the lie.” (John 8:44) Jesus is clearly speaking from the vantage point that Adam and Eve were innocent before Satan’s involvement and interception. It also contradicts Romans 5:12-14, that “through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned,” and that “death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses.”[2] Additionally, Romans 5:17 contrasts “by the trespass of the one man [Adam] death ruled as king through that one” to salvation “through the one person, Jesus Christ.” Thus, there is absolutely no room for Ante- and Co-Adamism here, and it would violate the text and context of salvation through Jesus. (Refer to the opening graphic depicting Adam and Jesus the “last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45.)

Another consideration is that, even IF you can get away with an allegorical Adam as some (not all) theistic evolutionists do, then you still have the problem of the historical Eve being deceived, who “was to become the mother of everyone [every human] living.” (Genesis 3:20) If that is an allegory too, then the Bible’s foundation is too muddy to stand on. It just becomes an interesting literary work to contemplate and study, but with a greatly reduced means of trust.

This is why I think that not every hominin is a child of Adam. The only ones Adam can claim for his own are specifically called, in anthropological nomenclature, Homo sapiens sapiens. Other hominins could perform various abilities, some impressive, but they still fell short of the abilities of God’s crowning, genius creation: us, modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens.

The testimony of Luke-Acts
The book(s) of Luke-Acts contributes what may be seen as a clear statement of human origins. First, Acts 17:26, NET Bible states: “From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live.” The footnote for “man” is: “The one man refers to Adam (the word “man” is understood).” Supporting this is the messianic genealogy in Luke 3:38, where Adam is called “the son of God.” The NET Bible footnote here states that:
The reference to the son of God here is not to a divine being, but to one directly formed by the hand of God. He is made in God’s image, so this phrase could be read as appositional (“Adam, that is, the son of God”). See Acts 17:28-29. (emphasis added)
Thus, the testimony of Luke-Acts is that all humanity began with the man Adam.

Footnotes:
[1] From a video snippet presented by General Han Solo: Michael Heiser - Is the Pre-Adamite Hypothesis Biblical? https://youtu.be/QmvWnqijFs0 Dr. Michael Heiser does not take a position on this.

[2] The rest of the verse says “even over those who had not sinned in the same way that Adam transgressed.” This curious statement would apply more consistently with people in Adam’s line, as opposed to people under Co-Adamism, for it would be strange to introduce that here in this context without elaboration.


Related blog entries:

Additional reading:


Credits:
Introductory picture from jw.org.

Labels:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Clarifying Creation


Let’s consult the NET Bible and its footnotes regarding the Genesis creation account:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The footnote here reads, with divisions added in brackets:
[A] Or “the entire universe”; or “the sky and the dry land.” [See B below.] This phrase is often interpreted as a merism, referring to the entire ordered universe, including the heavens and the earth and everything in them. The “heavens and the earth” were completed in seven days (see Gen 2:1) and are characterized by fixed laws (see Jer 33:25). [B] “Heavens” refers specifically to the sky, created on the second day (see v. 8), while “earth” refers specifically to the dry land, created on the third day (see v. 10). Both are distinct from the sea/seas (see v. 10 and Exod 20:11).
Part B of the footnote is clarified in the footnotes for verses 8 and 10.

Genesis 1:8 God called the expanse “sky.” [Footnote: Though the Hebrew word can mean “heaven,” it refers in this context to “the sky.”]

Genesis 1:9, 10 God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land” [Footnote: Heb “earth,” but here the term refers to the dry ground as opposed to the sea.] and the gathered waters he called “seas.”

To conclude that Genesis 1:1 is only referring to Earth’s sky above the Mosaic composer and that the earth refers only to the dry ground he is standing on would demand the question of how the oceans introduced in Genesis 1:2 were created. Additionally, the sun and moon must have been included in “the heavens” of Genesis 1:1 for life to be possible on earth, with the light sources finally becoming discernible to an earthly observer in Genesis 1:14—per the elaborating creation account in Job 38:9: “when I made the storm clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band.” Thus the creation account is from the vantage point of an earthly observer. As the NET Bible notes for Genesis 1:14 (God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky.”):
Light itself was created before the light-bearers. The order would not seem strange to the ancient Hebrew mind that did not automatically link daylight with the sun (note that dawn and dusk appear to have light without the sun).
Additionally, “light” in Genesis 1:3 is from the Hebrew word ’ohr, but “lights” in Genesis 1:14 is from ma’ohrʹ. One book explains this difference by noting that ma’ohrʹ
means the source of the light. Rotherham, in a footnote on “Luminaries” in the Emphasised Bible, says: “In ver. 3, ’ôr [’ohr], light diffused.” Then he goes on to show that the Hebrew word ma’ohrʹ in verse 14 means something “affording light.” On the first “day” diffused light evidently penetrated the swaddling bands [per Job 38:9], but the sources of that light could not have been seen by an earthly observer because of the cloud layers still enveloping the earth. Now, on this fourth “day,” things apparently changed.[1]
The sources of light were now discernible phenomenologically, as the next footnote explains:
The language describing the cosmos, which reflects a prescientific view of the world, must be interpreted as phenomenal, describing what appears to be the case. The sun and the moon are not in the sky (below the clouds), but from the viewpoint of a person standing on the earth, they appear that way. Even today we use similar phenomenological expressions, such as “the sun is rising” or “the stars in the sky.”
Thus we can see how being reasonable with the creation texts is not about capitulating to modern science, but is merely about letting the text speak for itself and noting its semantic range of meaning while discerning its phenomenological presentation. In this way we can see that it harmonizes with modern science all on its own without any persuasion or manipulation.[2]

Footnotes:
[1] Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? page 31 (2006).

[2] In discussing how Genesis presents creation and other events, like the Deluge and the antiquity of humanity, I’ve found that it’s best to note the semantic range of descriptive Hebrew words and then be reasonable or yielding in your interpretation. This is not about capitulating to modern science, it is about being reasonable with the text, noting what its semantic range allows for.


See also:


Labels:

Does Dr. Craig Have an Orthodox Christology?


“Dr. Craig clears up rumors concerning his views on the doctrine of Christ.”[1]

In a podcast released July 9, 2017, Dr. William Lane Craig elaborated on his orthodox Trinitarian Christology, and offered this concession at minute marker 10:40:
Anybody who claims that he doesn’t go beyond the Bible [laughter from Trinitarian interviewer] doesn’t have an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity or the incarnation, because these doctrines are shot through with philosophy. Talk of persons and natures and essences and substances and things of that sort. These doctrines are formulated in philosophical categories.
While it is fine to approach the Bible and Biblical theology and Christology with intellectual categories, these must be introduced by the Bible itself, otherwise there will be contradictions in one way or another. One such contradiction is in regards to soteriological mechanics and another in regards to Jesus’ Passion Narratives. These are “deal-breaker” contradictions of colossal proportions. Thus, we can be most thankful that Dr. Craig has alerted us and confirmed for us that Trinitarianism is not in the Bible, which is precisely why many Christians don’t believe it.


Footnotes:

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Did the Apostles believe in the Trinity?

Peter speaking to the Transfigured Christ
“Messianic Judaism” is a movement that accepts the authenticity of the Christian Scriptures but has been hoodwinked into believing that Trinitarianism is Biblical monotheism, when in fact it is a brazen misrepresentation of it. While there is much to sympathize with in their approach to the Bible in understanding the Christian Scriptures, and thus much to appreciate and learn from, their acceptance of Trinitarianism, which is utterly foreign to the pages the Bible, exposes a very human, imperfect face on the movement. Perhaps Messianic Judaism is merely unaware of the competing and superior interpretation of Patritheism, that only the Father is the almighty God and Creator.

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg is one such Messianic Jew, and while there is much to appreciate from his hermeneutical approach, he has nonetheless presented a question-and-answer supporting Trinitarianism that I feel should be responded to.[1] In his presentation he made some revealing concessions that will be noted. At the outset however I will point out that when he says “Christian” or “traditional Christianity,” that he is falling victim to the typical and convenient preconceived bias that Trinitarianism is authentic Christianity.

With that said, Dr. Eli’s comments will be prefaced with his name and mine by ‘JS.’

Dr. Eli: It is no secret that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as such is not found in the Bible. It is systematized from various Biblical texts by later Christians to present one coherent and accurate teaching that attempts to unify all true believers.

JS: I appreciate his concession that Trinitarianism is not found in the Bible and that it was instead borne out of the ecumenical movement, the desire to unify diverse believers and to anathematize dissidents. However, to describe it as “coherent” is inaccurate as it creates far more questions than what it attempts or proposes to answer. Additionally, it is far from “accurate” as one can possibly imagine, due to contradicting the very fiber of Jesus Christ’s teaching and mission.

Dr. Eli: Traditional Christianity holds that:
  • The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One God (not three Gods).
  • The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are equal in power and glory (same in essence).
  • The Father functionally is superior to the Son and the Holy Spirit (both Son and the Spirit are obedient to the Father).
JS: I appreciate him stating the basic tenets of this theology so concisely. However, it is still diametrically opposed to Jesus’ lucid theology of John 17:1-5 that only the Father is God. Thus, Jesus’ God was not a multipersonal construct but was a real person, the Father, who was not only functionally superior but also ontologically as well in Jesus’ monotheistic theology.

Dr. Eli: As we think through this important topic, here are few things to keep in mind:
First, the original Christ-following movement was still very Jewish and as such was not very interested in doctrines per se. What really concerned first-century Jews was not so much the details of correct beliefs, but rather the details of holy living.

JS: This claim is certainly debatable. See for instance Galatians 3:1-5 where Paul is enraged over the doctrinal compromises being committed by them. While the doctrinal statements in the Christian Scriptures, as well as in Jewish works like Philo, 1 Enoch, and the Damascus Document for instance may not spell out all aspects of the Divine Court or monotheism-monolatry as well as we’d like them to, they definitely contain many statements of belief that appear to deflate this claim.

Dr. Eli: Second, some Jews even prior to Jesus thought of the relation between God and his Word in nearly identical terms as does John’s Gospel (John 1:1). Other pre-Jesus Jews, among many intriguing things, believed in the notion of “the Son of Man” as eternal heavenly being whom God will one day seat on the throne of His glory.

JS: If you’re downloading a file from the Internet, and it’s nearly downloaded, say 99%, is it completely downloaded? What if it stops at 99%, would you have the file? No and no. The exact same situation applies to “nearly identical terms.” “God and his Word” are, by the logical conclusion of his own admission, not the same. Thus, with John 1:1, the Word was with God, and therefore obviously cannot be that God he is in association with, and whose “god-ness” is contrasted with the “god-ness” of the God he is with. Thus, for ones who are objective without a Trinitarian agenda, it is extremely clear that the Word is not the God he is with, that God is the Father the Word is with together in the Divine Court. This is because the Bible presents monotheism as being monolatry—accommodating the existence of the Divine Court.

Regarding “the Son of Man” figure, he is referring to the “Parables of Enoch” in 1 Enoch that expands on the role of the “someone like a son of man” in Daniel 7:13-14, which presents him as sitting on the throne of God by divine appointment. (1 Enoch 51:3; 61:8) However, this privilege of sitting on God’s throne is seen in 1 Chronicles 29:23 with King Solomon, and he was not “God” in the Trinitarian sense. This usage provides the proper precedent for understanding the “placed on God’s throne” language also seen in Revelation 3:21 for Jesus. Again, “nearly identical” is “not the same.”

Dr. Eli: Third, while the Apostles did not think of the Holy Spirit as simply God’s power void of any kind of personality (as in Jehovah Witnesses’ theology) there is embarrassingly little about the divinity of the Holy Spirit in New Testament.

JS: If the holy spirit is a person, then we run into a problem with Jesus’ birth from Mary, who “was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18 ASV) If the holy spirit is a person, then it filled the role of an incubus. That the Apostles did not believe that Jesus’ birth was anything like that of an incubus or like the Watcher demons of 1 Enoch (Book of the Watchers) and Genesis 6:1-4 is seen in Luke 1:35, where the holy spirit is called the “power of the Most High.” Thus Mary became pregnant without any interaction with another person, but with an impersonal power. Therefore, it should be no surprise that “there is embarrassingly little about the divinity of the Holy Spirit in New Testament,” for it is not there—not even in Acts 5:3-4 or anywhere else for that matter.

Dr. Eli: I therefore conclude that if the Apostles were presented with the Christian doctrine of Trinity in its traditional form they would be deeply puzzled as to why such a systematization was necessary or considered essential. But then after being pressed for an answer they would have with some hesitation agreed that the basic ideas presented to them were correct.

JS: I agree that “they would be deeply puzzled as to why such a systematization was necessary or considered essential.” But “after being pressed for an answer,” I doubt there would be any hesitation on their part regarding the blasphemy the Trinitarian “solution” creates—and would have condemned it as a blasphemous misrepresentation of Biblical theology in danger of fulfilling their prophecies of apostasy in the Christian congregation.[2] The Apostles would then have been anathematized as heretics by those responsible for the Trinitarian creeds.

Apostles before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:27-40)


Footnotes:
[2] Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 7-12; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1, 3; 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:2, 3; 2 John 1:7, 8.


Related blog entries:

Credits:


Labels: ,

Friday, June 16, 2017

SDA Creationism and Self-Contradiction

The SDA church is identified as being young-earth creationist, and to deny that would be to deny SDA membership. Verifying this is the official SDA news website, which reported:

Seventh-day Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson forcefully asserted that life has existed on the Earth for only a few thousand years, not millions of years. …

He pointed to Bible passages such as Genesis 1, 2 and Psalm 33:6, 9 and the writings of [SDA Prophetess Ellen G.] White to reject a popular teaching that each day in the biblical creation week might have lasted millions of years, thereby making the world much older than the 6,000-odd years that Creationists believe have passed since the Earth was formed. …

In his speech, Wilson quoted from White’s book Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers: “When the Lord declares that He made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, He means the day of 24 hours, which He has marked off by the rising and setting of the sun.”

[Actually, Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 presents the opposite, giving the repetitive formula: “there was evening and there was morning.” He endorsed White’s unscriptural reversal to bolster his next concluding point:]

“How much plainer could it get?” Wilson asked.

He said that the very name “Seventh-day Adventist” pointed to a literal six-day creation because it would make little sense to commemorate a seventh-day Sabbath if the original Sabbath had lasted for years instead of 24 hours.

“If one does not accept the recent six-day creation understanding, then that person is actually not a ‘Seventh-day’ Adventist since the seventh-day Sabbath would become absolutely meaningless historically and theologically and most of our Biblically based doctrines centered in Christ and His authoritative voice would become meaningless as well,” Wilson said.

He cautioned against associating with scientists, humanists and “some who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists” who have embraced an evolution-based creation theory.

[If he’s lumping old-earth creationism in with evolution, then his whole talk was an imprecise and confused denunciation.]

“Do not believe them nor participate in this manipulation of biblical truth regarding creation and the visible commemoration of creation—the Sabbath,” he told conference participants. …

He said educators should support creationism from the heart or do “the honorable thing” and resign.[1] (end quote)

But then the same news website, on the same page, presented the research of a Chinese member who stated regarding Chinese history: “you have 4,000, 5,000 years of Chinese history.”[2]>


This is clearly incompatible with the young-earth creationist 6,000-year interpretation, for Chinese culture has to be post-diluvian (after Noah’s Flood) according to the Bible![3] No comment is made regarding this, for it passed under their official noses unnoticed. Leaving this demonstrably glaring contradiction unaddressed in an official news outlet is extraordinarily unprofessional and is itself a sound reason to reject the SDA church as being hypocritical.

Both articles are on the same page on creation, providing a self-contradictory (absurd) presentation: http://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/humanity/creation/


Footnotes:
[1] Wilson: No room for evolution as truth in Adventist schools (August 18, 2014) https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2014-08-18/wilson-no-room-for-evolution-as-truth-in-adventist-schools/ Complete talk is here: ‘God’s Authoritative Voice’  http://www.adventistreview.org/affirming-creation/%E2%80%98god%E2%80%99s-authoritative-voice%E2%80%99

[2] Researcher finds relationship between Chinese characters and Biblical text https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2017-06-15/researcher-finds-relationship-between-chinese-characters-and-biblical-text/

[3] In this scheme, there were 1,656 years from Adam to the Noachian Deluge (Noah’s Flood). Thus, the Deluge occurred over 4,344 years ago (6,000-1,656). If Chinese culture is 4-5,000 years old, then it would either begin before the Deluge (and consequently would have been wiped out by it) or begin too soon after it. Thus, it is clearly incompatible with 6,000 years of human history.

See also:

Labels:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dating Dinosaurs


On one discussion board where I have limited involvement, one person said this to me regarding dinosaurs: “I do not pretend to be an expert but,” and then proceeded to belch forth ignorant and opinionated comments. Needless to say, I refuse to get involved in debates over such matters with people who are too lazy to first educate themselves before speaking. (Compare with Jesus’ principle at Matthew 7:6.) One subject he ignorantly and foolishly raised was on the recent findings of dinosaur soft tissue. People who are fact-conscious will inquire on how “soft” the tissue is. On the other hand, people who are intellectually lazy will prefer imagining that muscle or blood was found with the dinosaur bones, and then draw their own opinionated conclusions regarding the dating of dinosaurs.

To fight against this tendency, I will now share the comments from a trusted source to ones who are interested in learning:


What Dinosaur Soft Tissue Says about the Earth’s Age

May 1, 2016
By Dr. Fazale Rana

Perhaps one of the more amazing discoveries made in recent years has been the recovery of original soft tissue remnants within the fossilized remains of dinosaurs that lived nearly 80 million years ago. Paleontologists have unearthed multiple dinosaur specimens containing soft tissue parts.

What an unbelievable boon to paleontologists! Common wisdom has long held that soft tissues should readily degrade in a few thousand years. Yet, in some cases, these biomaterials have persisted for as long as a few hundred million years. Such unexpected discoveries excite the research community because they open up the possibility for scientists to gain important insight into the biology of ancient organisms.

These discoveries also excite Christians who believe that the earth is young. They see these breakthroughs as compelling scientific support for their interpretation of Genesis 1—one that regards the creation days as calendar days that occurred roughly 6,000 years ago. Young-earth creationists have capitalized on these findings to argue that it is impossible for the fossils to be millions of years old. They reason that soft tissues could not survive that long. In their view, these finds challenge the reliability of radiometric dating methods and, along with it, all other evidences of Earth’s antiquity.

Are they correct?

The scientific community is unimpressed with this latest argument for a young earth. Even though the recovery of soft tissue from fossilized remains was unexpected, it troubles virtually none of the science on which Earth’s age determinations are made. Neither does it trouble Christians who accept the age evidences for the fossil record and the earth. These Christians (including me) do have great concerns, however, about the impact of such young-earth arguments on evangelism. They may hinder nonbelievers from examining the powerful scientific evidence for God’s existence and Scripture’s reliability.

The purpose of my new book, Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth, is to help Christians understand why it makes sense—from a biochemist’s standpoint—for soft tissue remains to have been preserved in fossils that date to several hundred million years in age. As a biochemist, I understand the structure, function, and stability of molecules. I hope that my insights can help prevent well-meaning believers from making a scientifically questionable argument and, at the same time, help Christians exercise discernment when evaluating and employing arguments for the credibility of our faith.

http://www.reasons.org/articles/what-dinosaur-soft-tissue-says-about-the-earths-age


Additional resources:

Labels: ,