Friday, March 19, 2021

Satan as a Dragon


Why is Satan depicted as a dragon in Revelation, and a multi-headed one?

Revelation 12:9 calls Satan δράκων (drakon, dragon) and ὄφις (ophis, snake), the later being used in Genesis 3 LXX. 

Revelation 12:3 says he has 7 heads, and this may refer to the apocalyptic heads of δράκων of Psalm 74:13 LXX and the “heads of Leviathan” of 74:14. The NET Bible footnote explains the origin of this imagery: “The imagery of vv. 13-14 originates in West Semitic [Ugaritic] mythology” which had a 7-headed leviathan chaos dragon.

Thus Revelation is harking back to Genesis 3 LXX ὄφις and to the West Semitic “heads of δράκων” imagery of Psalm 74:13, 14.

Lastly, one scholar stated:

“Dragon” (δράκων) is another OT word for the evil sea monster that symbolizes evil kingdoms who oppress Israel. Often the wicked kingdom of Egypt is portrayed by this emblem.[1]
Thus, it is a familiar sight, and even reminds one of the legend of Hercules battling the multi-headed Hydra.

Footnotes:
[1] Gregory Beale, The Book of Revelation (The New International Greek Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 632.

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Flat Christology


A “flat Christology” is accepted in the Christological Preexistence-denying Socinian or “Biblical Unitarian” camp.

“Flat Christology” is the explanation that Jesus did not exist before his birth because Jesus only started living at his birth. Not only is this blatant circular reasoning, it is also flat for not accounting for the “Z-axis,” a spirit person entering our realm to be born as a man. It is “flat” for not thinking in three dimensions. It is also (in a play on words) flatulent, as in having unsupported pretensions, for not properly accounting for scriptural descriptions of Christological Preexistence. (See: Jesus’ life before his birth and Regarding Jesus’ Pre-Human Existence.) It bears repeating that Jesus was born from a virgin because he existed before as a spirit person, otherwise a natural birth would have sufficed. Thus, the virgin birth necessitates preexistence.

Documenting this flat Christological flatulence is this declaration that appeared on social media:[1]
John 8:40: Jesus said “I am a man” – not a prehuman angel or GOD.
Preexisting persons are nonsense in English, or any language.
You cannot be before you begin to be.
Think about it.
Yes, let us “think about it.” I’ll even do so with half my brain tied behind my back. In fact, consciousness is optional.

In John 8:40 Jesus called himself “a man” in conversation with murderous opponents, and thus this was clearly not a good time to bring up stuff that would only irritate his opposers. This should have been excruciatingly obvious. It’s rather obnoxious when someone who does not “think about it” chides you to “think about it” when he doesn’t want to “think about it.”

Second, “Preexisting persons are nonsense” only if you deny the spiritual Z-axis, if you think like a two-dimensional flat-lander and not in three-dimensions. This is also seen in “You cannot be before you begin to be.” This is a strawman argument as no one claims Jesus as the son of Mary and Joseph existed before his birth. This strawman betrays a senile two-dimensional mentality and thus winds up ironically attacking anti-Trinitarianism as being unintellectual. One can certainly exist before their appearance on earth just like the three men Abraham encountered in Genesis 18:2 who ate in verse 8 existed as angels prior. These three men are a documented scriptural case of “preexisting persons” not being nonsense.

There is even an entire Apocryphal book dedicated to this theme that no one objected to: Tobit. This book presents Azariah with a verified Jewish genealogy who actually had a pre-human existence as the archangel Raphael![2]

So, let’s “think about it” indeed. Ones falling for this flat Christology need to do just that, which will hopefully result in rejecting the denial of Christ’s glorious pre-human existence.

But this is not the only example. A person I think who should have known better, who should have been more competent considering his prestigious education as a professional philosopher, proclaimed the following:[3]
…it’s common sense that the descendant exists because of his ancestors, and Jesus surely is taught in the NT to have human ancestors, going back through Mary.
Common sense today maybe, or at least within flat Christology, but not common sense to serious Bible readers or for the people who lived in Bible times. Abraham saw that his three physical meal-eating friends preexisted in the spirit realm. The writer of Tobit armed his Galilean Azariah with a verifiable Jewish genealogy and then revealed he existed before that as the angelic Raphael. He portrayed his character as going from one mode of existence to another without violating common sense.

To his credit, the above philosopher also acknowledged that “whether being a man precludes being a pre-existent non-human spirit depends on what one thinks about the metaphysics of human persons.” Rather, it depends on acknowledging the Z-axis of God conveying what is needed to Mary’s son for conscious continuation. There was definitely a sacrifice to come to earth to be born, a sacrifice of being alive and completely conscious. It was a progressive intervention, as indicated at Jesus’ baptism when the heavens were opened. This may have been the final stage of progressive restoration of his pre-human existence, with memories being converted to be held in his brain.[4] None of this is very deep or hard to comprehend, but it does depart from being flat to being lively three-dimensional and results in a richer realization of who Jesus is and what he endured.

Footnotes:
[1] Anthony F. Buzzard, November 19, 2018 on the Facebook group Trinities.
[2] Tobit 5:4, 12-13 has a Galilean named Azariah preexist as the archangel Raphael. As one scholar reported: “Raphael has therefore taken on the guise of a Galilean Israelite with a verifiable history.” He continued: “Raphael, the savior of Tobit, should be understood as a theological template for Jesus’ followers when they identified him as a heavenly savior in human form.” (Phillip Muñoa, Raphael, Azariah and Jesus of Nazareth: Tobit’s Significance for Early Christology. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha. (2012). 13, 15)
[3] Dale Tuggy, March 10, 2021 on his Facebook group Trinities.
[4] See: Jesus: a Spirit Born on Earth (jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2011/02/jesus-spirit-born-on-earth-jesus-was.html), Figure 1 and Appendix A.


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