Incarnation and Definition of Marriage

Incarnation and Definition of Marriage

Reverend Smith’s gaze shifted from Mary to Jane and back to Mary again. The Pastor broke the long silence: “What! You want to get married in MY church?! Don’t you know where I stand on the issue of same-sex marriage?”

Mary looked the Pastor in the eye: “This is not a “same sex marriage” – don’t you know that Jane is an incarnation of a man. She is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent woman. I fully expect you to sanction our marriage.”

Reverend Smith looked at Mary. It was Mary who broke the silence this time: “What’s the matter? You don’t believe in the incarnation?”

“I have four problems with your incarnation claim” said the Pastor. “Number one; there is no such thing as an incarnation. The Bible speaks of male and female as if it is self-understood that these are two separate entities. The usage of the language in the Bible doesn’t allow us to assume that these two terms (male, female) are interchangeable in any way.

Number two; even if I were to grant that such a thing was possible, how would you, Mary, know that this is true about Jane?”

At this point Mary interrupted the Pastor’s little lecture: “What do you mean: “how do I know”? – I have many proofs that Jane is the incarnation of a man. You didn’t even listen to me and you are already discrediting my theory.”

Reverend Smith continued: “Mary, your comment brings me to my third point. You didn’t SEE Jane as an incarnation of a man, it is something you believe you have proof for. Let me ask you this: What came first? Was it your devotion to Jane or was it your theory? Did you first begin a relationship with Jane and the come up with your theory? Or was it the other way round – that you first “discovered” that Jane was an incarnation of a man and only then did you enter into a relationship with her?”

It was Mary’s turn to remain silent.

The Reverend continued: “My fourth problem with your theory is that even if Jane was, in some mysterious way, an incarnation of a man, but presently all you see is a woman. Your relationship with her is still a relationship between two women. I can never condone, let alone bless, such a relationship as a marriage.”

Some Facts:

The One TO whom all worship is due and the ones FROM whom worship is due are distinct and separate throughout the Bible. At no point in the Scriptures is there any indication that these two are interchangeable.

The disciples of Jesus never SAW that Jesus was an incarnation of the Divine – it was a theory they “discovered”.

The followers of Jesus only came up with this theory AFTER they were already fully devoted to him.

After everything is said and done, the Jesus that the Christian reads about in the Christian Scriptures has all of the characteristics of a created being. When a relationship is formed with the character described in the book, no matter what theory is appended to the character, the relationship remains a relationship between two created beings.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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90 Responses to Incarnation and Definition of Marriage

  1. naaria says:

    As soon as I read the title, I understood the connection and didn’t need to read any further to get the message. For a “spirit” to dwell (to be in-carnate) in a physical object is the condition or nature of people (given the “breath of life”). We are in the likeness of God, but we and no other being are God. The more focus on the carnal or the created (humanism), the less we truly focus on God, the Creator. To direct worship to (or through) the words, actions, image, or life of “one born of a woman” like us or one who was created is the very definition of the word idolatry. Often idolatry is compared to adultery & why some people seem to have no or little objection to either (except when they are the victim of “love” that was misdirected to another). We “divorce” God when we direct attention to a person, another image (or one with another name that God was never known as).

  2. Paul says:

    Hello there. A great opening which I totally agree on, the same sex marriage. You argue the scriptures well. I liked that. However to use the point about Jeshua is somewhat differrent and wrong to say the least. After reading the NT I have never seen Jeshua trying to be friends with the world, and neither asking the world to befriend Him either.

    • naaria says:

      God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. “God so loved the world…”. So Jesus is not a savior & not a messiah, since he goes against the will of God?

      So, why are so many asking the “world” to “befriend” Jesus, if that is against his will?

      • naaria says:

        Depends on which verses you read. Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”

        Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

        Matthew 4:9 “and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.””. Matthew 11:27 “All things have been handed over to me by my Father;….”

  3. Stephen Norman says:

    Touche, Rabbi! Very effective comparison. Thanks.

  4. Annelise says:

    naaria, Matthew 4:9 isn’t of Jesus speaking… what did you mean by that verse?

    If the idea in this post can be challenged, I think it must be on the point: “The One TO whom all worship is due and the ones FROM whom worship is due are distinct and separate throughout the Bible. At no point in the Scriptures is there any indication that these two are interchangeable.”

    I think it’s true that there’s no indication of something like this. If it’s there, it’s definitely not clear. The humanity of the son of David, and his relationship with God (like that of creation) is spoken of, though. Still, Christians might say that this metaphor of gender only goes so far in describing the relationship of God with humanity.

    God created us male and female, and there is no ‘incarnation’ in that sense. In any case the body we see before us is the important aspect of the way our relationships are made to be, so by definition such an event couldn’t preserve a previous gender in any meaningful way. The article suggests that this imagery fits closely with the way God has commanded humanity to worship him only, and not creation. A fair Christian response could be that this symbol may not perfectly correspond to God and the way he wants to make himself known. As long as he would make it sufficiently clear that the one who was worshiped was personally himself… it’s not impossible. And there could be some good reasons for him to do this, despite the awful mess if we accept such a thing falsely 😦

    For me, the questions are, “Is this something that the God of the Tanach would be expected to do?”; and, more importantly, “Has it been shown clearly enough, to those who are listening but unwilling to be deceived, that he has done it?” Both of these things are also touched on in the article, but they are where my consideration is regarding these things.

    • Annelise says:

      Of course, if the traditional Jewish perspective is true, then this imagery is apt and resonant in its truth.

    • Annelise
      Just as in human relations we understand that there is a natural way for a male to relate to a female and a natural way for a female to relate to a male – and from our perpective – a “same sex marriage’ perverts the natural order – so it is in the spiritual realm
      Believing in God is not only carrying around a definition of God in your heart – it is also carrying around a definition of everything else in your heart as fellow subjects of God – to relate to something that has all the queslities of a “fellow subject” as if it were God Himself on the basis of an “incarnation theory” – is a preversion of the spiritual relationship.

      • Annelise says:

        You’re right… if it is only a theory.

        I understand the purpose of the analogy in illustrating the importance of not blurring the distinction between God and creation. A Christian view would be that God *has* shown that Jesus as a person, in his inward self, was never created but that the only God chose by his own volition to live among us. What counts as sufficient reason and evidence for a claim of that magnitude, or an appropriate process of finding it out, I don’t know.

        So one of the important points in your post is that it has not ever been (and cannot be?) more than a speculation, or something we’ve been shown with the certainty that is needed. We would be looking for a commandment, with sufficient testability, saying that Jesus was not merely a claimed incarnation but was truly… and that God specifically asks Israel to worship him in a new way. You don’t see this commandment (with sufficient basis) as having come into being in any of the events of Jesus’ life or the testimony that is left, so all speculation is merely pointing towards idolatry.

        Is that what you meant?

  5. naaria says:

    The “God of Tanach” is different from the “gods of the nations”.  The world-view or (using non-Jewish terms) the “philosophy” or “theology” of the Hebrews, Israelites, or Jews/Judeans (HIJ’s) is quite dissimilar to that of most other cultures or groups of people.    If one fails to understand that, then one mis-interprets many “teachings” of the Tanach, one misunderstands the Jews, & fails to truly “know” the God of the Tanach, the God of the HIJ’s.  Since I have a Christian background, a Christian worldview that I am trying to overcome, to make a simple point with some Christians or “messianic believers in “yeshua””, I often feel I have to “teach some basics”.      

    Some see in the Genesis, especially in Chapter 1, a refutation, a rejection by the HIJ’s, of the gods & religion of Canaan & other neighbors.  The sun is not a god, a sacred being, nor a manifestation of a god, but is an object that was created by God.  All we see & sense is a creation of God, not a god.  Later in Egypt, a lamb was not a god (“lamb of god”), not a sacred or holy being, but a farm animal that could be sacrificed.  Later, God specifically commanded against idolatry, which is a concept that many religions & philosophies did not have & its proponents could not even conceive of nor truly grasp.  There were the asherah poles & there were the “lords”, the baalists.  Later a HIJ prophet found that God was not in the earth, or in the wind/air or in the fire, which (not the band) are 3 of the 4 “basic elements” of matter according to several peoples (water is the 4th). .   To a Greek philosopher, these 3 (4) were “spiritual essences”, substances; they were gods/goddesses.  It was the pagan Nebuchanezzar, enemy of Israel, who saw/imagined a “4th man in the fire”, because he could believe in “sons of gods”.  Like the unnamed pagan Roman soldier   felt about Jesus. The HIJ prophets had dreams & visions, but for the most part, the dreams weren’t real, the “beasts” in the dreams weren’t literal or real beings and everything was only symbolic & had to be interpreted.  The beast wasn’t a spiritual  being, but a symbol of a king, his descendants, & his nation.  Antiochus epiphanes IV, a Greek/Hellenistic enemy of the Jews, had an “epiphany” (from where we get the Christian holiday) that he was a god, “god manifested in the flesh”.  That very un-Jewish concept was rejected by many Jews (from where we get the Jewish Holiday, Chanukah).  Later, there were the Caesars who were gods who walked on the earth.  Augustus was a son of a god & a god in his own right.  Long before Jesus, he claimed to be born out of a union of a god (spiritual being) and a “virgin” woman.  And he was “killed & resurrected from the dead”.  Later Caesars demanded that the Jews bow down to a statue or image of the current Caesar, a man & a god manifested in the flesh.  And bring a daily offering or sacrifice to Caesar.  Many refused for Jews would “bow to no man”, but only to God who was not a man according to their Tanach.  To stop Roman soldiers from bringing their banners & flags into Jerusalem, 1000’s of men & women in the Galilee blockaded the road, laid down & “bared their necks” daring the Romans to cut their heads off, because the Romans would only bring their “idols” into Jerusalem over their dead bodies.  The Romans relented, that time.  Many Romans & Greeks 2000 years ago thought that the Jews were “atheists” & did not have gods (not even 1 god) because the God of the Jews was so alien to the normal concepts of a god & the “heavenlies”.   There was little in Christianity that they could object too.  But in the Tanach & in the history of the Jews (even before Jesus) there was a rejection of a lot of what is basic in Christianity (whether one believes in the so-called “Greek Jesus” or his twin in the NT, the “Hebrew Yeshua”). 

    On the other hand, Jesus or the NT writers borrow quite a bit from the Roman-Greek- Egyptian-Babylonian/Assyrian theology & philosophy.  Gods who are flesh & bone, manifested for a short time, isn’t from the HIJ tradition, except for those Israelites who “went a-whorin after the idols & non-gods of the nations”.  The NT concept of a devil is more akin to the “bad god” of Zorasterianism, than to anything to the Tanach.  Once one accepts that God is not One & yet “differences are really the same” one can “entertain” ideas such as a devil; or such as someone who can go up to , and/or come down from heaven bearing new laws; or god or a spirit can incarnate a totem pole, a gold calf, or a human; or other internally contradictory ideas.  Once you believe God can be split up, then Evil enters the world (evil is a spiritual being that an almighty god for some reason has little power over) & we have a bad god always doing battle with the good god.  In the NT, we read that the “devil” can be & is a “father” to Jews.  But in Tanach there is only one God, one Creator or one “father” to all humans.  In Matthew, who GAVE the devil “all these things”?  That would have to be Matthew’s God.  And, why does Jesus (a Jew) later, a short time before his death, say that “his father” gave him all things?   That suggests that Jesus’ father is the devil.  If one thinks as a Jew, there is no devil, there is no other creator, no good god vs. a bad god, and one can choose to be good (obey the Good God) or choose to do bad (not obey the same Good God). 

    In the Tanach, it is clearly revealed that there is something called idolatry.  It has something to do with worship directed to objects or living beings, or mere images (including mental), as if they were God or if they represented God or the spirit of God.  It is also revealed, probably for some good reason, that God is not a man.  The more we represent God as a man (or person), the more we associate with the enemies of the HIJ’s and the God revealed in their Tanach.  The more we humanize God, the more we replace God with our own personal beliefs (like the 30,000 gods of ancient Rome & the evidence of the 1000’s of Christian denominations based on 1 Jesus).  The more literal we take the poetry of Tanach, the less we see of the truth in that poetry.  Israel, the nation, is seen as a son at times, or as a wife or husband, or as a daughter.  Jerusalem, the physical city or it’s people as a community, is a daughter of God.  Is that promotion of incest?  If you take it literally, you justify the idolatry of incarnation of God in the objects or beings.  Analogies or symbolism can only go so far in making a point, revealing a new truth.   Beyond that it becomes a lie or an absurdity. The greatest revealed truths are plain & direct. “Digging deeper” only adds to the basics that are already known. We build our house of faith from the ground up (the beginning). We don’t accept something as a conclusion & then search for support or selected proofs in all that came before.

    • David says:

      The NT bible writers didn’t “borrow” as in borrow material for writing stories from surrounding cultures any more than did the writers of the Hebrew/OT bible. NT writers did refute and warn against many of the beliefs such as Gnosticism and other prevailing beliefs of their day. The NT writers were for the most part (except one) very typical Jews; and all without exception believed in and worshipped the God of the Hebrew bible.

      The reason why you see so many similarities with pagan cultures and the God of the Hebrew bible and also the NT for that matter is not that we borrowed from them but that they borrowed from us. The line of Cain was continually trying to “out do” the line of Seth. And the human race didn’t start completely fresh with Noah as his son Ham (who was the father of Canaan) was obviously influenced greatly by practices and customs of the line of Cain. In fact all of Noah’s lines, even that of Shem, picked up to some degree customs and practices of the line of Cain.

      Jabal of the Cain line is the ancestor (father) of “all” those who live in tents and have livestock – that would include Abraham.

      Jubal of the Cain line is the ancestor (father) of “all” those who play the Lyre and pipe – that would include King David.

      Context is everything:

      We know of course that Cain is not the biological father or great grand-father to any degree of Abraham and David. Abraham and David are of the line of Seth and Shem. What is meant here then is that Cain and his line is the originator of the particular practices in question as governed by the context and the context in this case is limited to living in tents and playing the Lyre. So to be clear, the context here has nothing to do with a relationship with God or an actual biological father/grand-father.

      John 8:

      39They answered and said to
      him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus
      says to them, “If you were
      Abraham’s children, you would do
      the works of Abraham. 40But now
      you are seeking to kill me, a man
      who has told you the truth that I
      heard from God; Abraham did not
      do this! 41You keep doing the works
      of your father.”

      44You
      are of your father the Slanderer, and
      you want to do the desires of your
      father. He was a murderer from the
      beginning, and does not stand in the
      truth, because there is no truth in
      him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks
      out of his own character, for he is a
      liar, and the father of them. 45But
      because I speak the truth, you do not
      believe me.

      So we see here that in context, Jesus is not speaking to all Jews as that would include himself and his own disciples. He is only speaking to those Jews (verse 40) who seek to kill him and who seek or follow the desire of their “father” in the matter of murdering and lying.

      Do I understand your post correctly in that you do not believe there is a Devil? What about JOB? And what about when God says to the serpent, to paraphrase: I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and hers. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel.

  6. Annelise
    Here is the response to your May 31 – 5:28 post (I don’t understand the pattern of posts – so I hope you find this)
    The point you bring out is a strong point which I brought out in other posts, but that was not my intention here – in this post my point was that at Sinai God taught us how to relate towards Him and how to relate towards the rest of existence. To take an item from the “rest of existence” and apply to it the type of relationship that we ought to apply to God is idolatry.
    Some aspects of the relationship towards the “rest of existence” are intrinsic and will never go away – no matter what theology we will apply – simply because they share the properties of the “rest of existence”

    • Annelise says:

      I feel that you’re right. We can’t pray to God and have a finite thing in mind. We can know him through creation, that is our experience of him and it is the most real and precious gift… but we don’t worship the experience either, we speak to him alone who hears and who teaches us to hear. It is very personal. It is inherently different from our attachment to or enjoyment of the aspects of creation in our lives. Any concept of multiplicity of ‘souls’ in God that we would relate to so personally brings him into the realm of creation in our imagination of him even as we desire to pray to the only one with whom creation has this relationship… and to look at an event that he caused or a thing he has made among us with worship rather than appreciation is to trespass one of the most important and clear commandments you were given.

      If I’m mistaken about the claims about Jesus, if they don’t transgress nature and obedience in that way, I can’t see how. I’m trying over and over to find any solid word in the Christian call, because I would give everything not to miss it if it’s really from God. This process is not about us, it’s about a place of praise and knowledge of himself that he has created outside of ourselves and invited us into on his terms. I can’t say with confidence that I can understand the truth or the paths of God any more than every next step (with his help), but I will say that for months these descriptions of yours have made sense to my heart and my mind. May we know him as he hears our prayer.

  7. naaria says:

    David (10 Jun 12 @2047). There is a lot of speculation & theory in your comment. Maybe a little “new-age time-warp” theology when you state that “not that we borrowed from them but that they borrowed from us”. Bottom line is that certain ideas such as “demons, devils, virgin birth, god-man, man-god, drinking blood, eating flesh, dying & rising (before the “end times”), logos, an intermediary between God & Man, etc”. has a lot more in common with pagan mythology, Babylonian & Egyptian theology & Greek & Roman philosophy than it does with the Hebrew Bible. There is a huge difference between the concept of a “devil” and that of the adversary or accuser satan mentioned only in a very few places in the Hebrew bible (& some even believe Job is not a “Hebrew”). It is also important to note that in the Apocrypha (mainly Jewish writings in the “inter-testamental period”, such as Tobit, Baruch, ben Sirach, Maccabees, etc) that it is extremely rare to find a mention of satan or evil spirit. And no devil. Not so in the NT.

    It is important to note that people striking the head of the serpent is mentioned before a serpent striking the heel of a person. When did you last strike the “devil on the head”? Why is there such a lack of natural enmity between the “devil” & those “he tempts”? That serpent is often really friendly. Cain knew & he had a choice; evil didn’t “jump on him from out of nowheres” & force an innocent man to commit an evil deed. In Matthew, who gave the “devil all these things” (& he would be back for Jesus) and in a few chapters later, Jesus said his “father” gave him all these things? A devil is not a “typical Jewish belief”, so why is the devil so prominent and such a power in the NT? Even in the “heavenlies” according to Paul. God lost control in heaven as on earth?

    There is “Gnosticism” in the NT. Depends on whose definition you use though. Most true Gnostics were not Christians (nor were many Christians Gnostic). Paul was “semi-Gnostic”, but then that is what they say about Marcion, who rejected the idea that there was any connection between Jesus (the good god who was opposed by the bad god) & the Hebrew Bible. To him, neither the mother nor the father of Jesus was Jewish. Not his Jesus. Marcionites eventually accepted the God of the Jews/Hebrew Bible as a 3rd god, the so-called Just God (another trinity). Bottom line is that in many early churches, certain select “spiritually advanced” Christians were given the “gift of Gnosis” by Jesus and they were called Gnostics.

    • David says:

      It sounds as though you havn’t read the NT.

      • naaria says:

        It is only through reading & formally studying the NT, that I even know anything about Marcion or Gnostics and what influence they had in the text of the NT and in the establishment of the creeds & beliefs of the modern church. It was the immense, almost obsessive, desire to know much more than the typical NT reader & student about Jesus and about the NT, that I have studied for years the beginnings of Christianity (particularlly the first 5 centuries), the history of the church (east & west), and the history of the texts of the NT (both the canonical & many early non-canonical Christian writings). So, my “problem” is not due to a lack of reading, but trying to say the right words, to “boil it down” without teaching or “writing a book”.

        • David says:

          Here is a link to an outstanding version of the English translation of the bible’s N.T. It is called the Revised English Version (REV). It is a work in progress and won’t be ready for print for quite a while. But, it is by far the best translation I’ve seen. It would be the best out there even without the companion commentary, but with the commentary it just blows everything else out of the water.

          Did I say it was unique? That can’t be overstated. Much if not most of the misunderstandings about Christianity including misinformation and false teachings amongst some Christians are cleared up in this English translation.

          A version like this has never been printed. It is the most true to the original meaning of the Greek. Anyone who wants to criticize or hold fast to anything regarding the Christian faith should read this version first.

          Hint: There is a movement (and growing) within Christianity to return to a “one God faith” and this bible version is the only version out there which takes this view along with other original 1st century Christian truths.

          http://www.stfonline.org/rev.html

          • naaria says:

            David, thank you for the link to the REV. I only glanced at a few pages, but I didn’t see anything that differed that much from some of the several dozens of other NT translations that I have on paper or on my hard drive. I was not too surprised when I read that there are “theological issues that we understand more correctly than most translators, and thus our translation will reflect that theology.” That is not what one says if one really wants to produce a very literal translation. But from the little that I seen, it is close to the ASV and I expect that the commentary will explain in detail why they made or did not make certain word choices. What is truly interesting is that there are more pages of commentary on some books, like Matthew, then there are of text. I really like the appendices. So I definitely will read the REV, after finishing the Expanded Bible NT and another NT that I am studying now.

            But no matter how well we understand what others wrote, if their theological principles are built on errors and filled with contradictions, if their world view is primitive & not that rational, and if their basic argument is lacking & not that convincing, it matters little what they wrote. There are reasons why a “one way” is divided into 1000’s of ways and why heresies “pop up like weeds in new soil”. Sometimes it depends upon how or where the “seed was thrown”. Sometimes the fault lies in the seed itself.

    • David says:

      Hi Naaria, on the issue of Satan,

      I understand that modern day Jews downplay the role if not the existence of Satan. It is in their self-interest to do so. But the question is, what were the prevailing views of the day in the time of Jesus on Earth. And I think it is quite clear from both the old and new testaments that there was belief in the Devil and demons.

      Jesus was accused by the Jews of driving out demons by Beelzebub.

      Jesus said to Peter: get behind me Satan.

      So obviously Jesus who was a Jew and other opposing Jews believed in Satan and the power of Satan and the opposing Jews believed that Jesus was working through the prince of demons to accomplish good works.

      In the case of striking the head of the serpent before the serpent strikes the heal of Eve’s seed, seed is singular not plural. Also the pronoun HE is singular and masculine. Here the reference is to the Christ. And in fact Christ did strike the head of the serpent before he, the serpent, struck the heal of Jesus. The head of the serpent in this case is the Jewish high priest and all the hypocritical Jews in power opposed to God at the time of Jesus. The heal of Jesus was his body at his time of death prior to his resurrection. Of course the head of the serpent is continuing to be struck. And upon the return of the Christ the job will be finished and the end of the millennium age (dispensation).

      The woman Eve and Jesus of course had and have enmity with Satan.

      The problem Cain had is the same problem we all have except that Cain didn’t heed God’s warning/counsel to rule over sin. Cain allowed sin to rule over him instead. The Devil didn’t have to directly tempt Cain because the damage had already been done as a result of his, the Devil’s, work in the garden. The result of sin then followed Adam and Eve into the world.

      In Mathew, in the case of the temptations of the Tempter, Satan makes some claims. This is a case of disagreement among some Christians as to the exact theology. There are several theories but first let’s examine what we know.
      1. Satan has been a deceiver and murderer since the beginning.
      2. When the Devil speaks, he speaks his native tongue, deception.
      3. Jesus when he said all authority had been given to him was saying that from the other side of death. In other words, he said that AFTER he was resurrected. And, well after the temptation in the desert.
      Some believe that Satan did and does have some limited authority over human principalities systems of human society, etc.

      Some also believe that Satan was essentially telling the truth regarding his authority over kingdoms (but not without deception as to the result of Devil worship). Many take this stand because they say that in order for Jesus to have been truly tempted, the temptation had to be real. And Jesus had to experience real temptation and overcome to overcome the error of Adam.

      I do not necessarily agree with that analysis that the Devil was truthful regarding his authority or power.

      But I do agree that the Devil has “usurped” limited control by reason of default (ever since the garden of Eden). That’s different than saying he was “given” authority and can “pass” it on to whomever. That part is a fabrication from the Devil. Most believe he is the god (in a limited sense) of this age (dispensation) but will be completely destroyed in the age(s) to come.

      The reason why the Devil takes on such a more prominent role in the NT is that up until the current age (age of grace which started with the resurrection of Jesus), the Devil has had everything go pretty much his way. Why mess with success? Now the battle has at least been engaged with the adversary.

      He had God’s chosen people, the Jews, in his hands doing his bidding. Jesus came and challenged him, Satan, on that point and persuaded his fellow Jews to reject Satan and return to God. And that’s of course the real reason why Jesus was executed, because the Jews in power of his day were doing the bidding of Satan.

  8. David says:

    I agree that the REV and the ASV are very similar in quanntity of text. As the translators noted it, the REV, is a revision of the ASV. Probably less than 1% has actually changed quantity wise, just guessing. But what little has changed has put many traditional concepts on their heads. So, qualitatively speaking it is NOT just a revision of the ASV, it is a new way (relative to the mainstream) of viewing many of the important issues of Christianity. However, of course those doing the revision, and I agree, that it is only new in the sense it is different from the current errors of thought of main stream thinking. In reality it is old in that it more accurately reflects the thoughts of the original authors. The objective of the translators of course is/was to get to the meaning of the original bible and bring that out through the REV bible and companion commentary. The question is have they done it. And I think they have for the most part on the major points.

    I completely agree with your last paragraph. This is true of us all and a potential trap of all religions from the beginning of time. Hopefully as time goes on we will correct those errors and I believe the REV is a big step in the right direction. As we find out more of course the REV will have to be corrected again and again … . And the same will be said of the Hebrew bible if/when they get around to revising that and correcting all the errors that have been incorporated into it over the centuries.

  9. naaria says:

    You don’t adequately explain why modern day Jews (from over 3000 years ago to today) “downplay” the role or existence of Satan.  Satan by definition means accuser or challenger.  Challenged to do our best; accused when we fail to live up to our God given abilities.  Unless you mean that as God’s chosen, they  downplay/de-emphasize (have little regard for) bad influences while they upgrade or uphold/emphasize (glory in & have a high regard for) the power of good.  When you (or evil) decrease, He (and good)  increases.  You emphasize what you value.  God said, commanded, that “Be Ye Holy for your God is Holy”.   God has a higher opinion of people and our abilities to be “Godly people” than you have.  I quess that is why the pagan, the heathen & the godless world  so emphasized evil & “evil spirits” before & after Jesus (and Jesus said all things were given to him before he died.)  Tell God He is wrong & misguided; don’t tell it to people who hear from God and who Love God as a Father & not as some weak & small god who faces so much opposition from a “mere evil angel” or who acts like some devious, conniving, & evil mastermind.  

    To a Jew, satan is not an opponent of God (what or who can challenge a real Almighty God???).  Something that can set itself up an opponent to God (& who often beats God) is absurd & would be considered as a demigod & polytheistic. From verse 1, the Hebrew Bible opposes that “Canaanite” theology that so dominate the all the other peoples & nations.    

    What kind of Jew believes in a Beelzebub?  Probably none in the 1st century ce.  It would have been an archaic word.  It was not an insult word, nor a word for evil or evil being, nor was it a “code word” for an enemy of Israel or Jews, like the word Edomite   There is only 1 small oracle in the Hebrew bible or else that name would be unknown.  Beelzebub or Ba’al-Zebub or Zebul was originally the Philistine god of Accaron (25 miles west of Jerusalem).  He was a god of a fierce enemy of Israel.  The name derives from the Canaanite word ba’al meaning “lord”.  

    For the “seed of a woman” confusion, see http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Gen315.pdf.

  10. David says:

    You have described (for the sake of argument, I’ll assume accurately) the current attitudes of Jews regarding Satan.

    My point was there has been a shift in attitude from the time Jesus walked the Earth as compared to the attitude among Jews today.

    Then the question is why. I don’t have all the answers for the shift and have never really thought about it much. To be honest I don’t spend much time thinking and studying about what and why Jews believe what they believe. However, I’m starting to little by little now I guess. But in a word I suppose you could say the shift in attitude has to do with Christianity.

    Jesus argued against a hypocritical relation with God amongst some of the Pharisees, scribes, leading Jews, high priests of his day who were praising God from the lips out and then walking in the way of Satan. They didn’t want to hear that they were doing the will of Satan and so were therefore Satan’s children.

    Perhaps rather than accept the criticism and change one’s way of life the choice was instead to deny or minimize the influence and role of Satan. It’s easier to continue the status quo especially if you’re in a good position socially or economically, etc. rather than accept criticism and change. If you’ve invested much of your life doing things one way and have received some social benefit, then change if more difficult. So rather than change their way of life and their dishonest, hypocritical, relation with God (as Jesus exposed it) they simply changed their attitudes about Satan over time which was a much easier change to make. The change probably took place over several generations.

    I believe, and I think most Christians believe, that evil comes in all forms from both man and Satan. The fact that Satan didn’t make an appearance since his successful influence in the Garden until after the flood shows that man has it within him to think and do evil. But that’s not to say Satan hadn’t already made an impact which carried with it negative results which has followed the human race from the time of the Garden. And that’s not to say that he doesn’t actively get involved in a negative way today and in the past in the affairs of man.

  11. naaria says:

    There is not a lack of evil or response against evil in the Hebrew Bible.  There is an acceptance of evil among the Righteous before or after Jesus.  There were books of the Tanach before Jesus and we know the Tanach has changed little since before Jesus so there “downplaying of Satan” because of Jesus, unless you believe God wanted to deceive His people in minimizing satan.  The reason I brought up Jewish Apocryphical books, which were written after the books of the Hebrew Bible but BEFORE JESUS, was to show that Jewish ideas of God & Jewish ideas of evil did not change because of Jesus, either negatively or positively.  The rarity of satan & a complete lack of a “devil” in those books in no way minimized bad or immorality in the world.  Since the Apocrypha, largely written in Greek and not in the “Holy tongue of Hebrew” it was preserved mostly by Christians & not Jews!  So did Christians conspire with Jews to keep satan largely out and “the evil- god named “the devil” completely out of Jewish/Hebrew text???  Why is the NT so “pro-Roman” and so “anti-Jewish” and also written in pagan, worldly Greek, and not in “Holy, Godly” Hebrew?  

    Indeed, there was something new & something changed with Jesus.  As you should know, Northern Israel was defeated and for centuries was dominated by Northern/Eastern nations & peoples (and their culture & religion).  So it is not difficult to see the influence of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Asia Minor, and Greek (especially the Selucid Greeks, e.g., Antiochus epiphanes IV, “a god manifested in flesh & blood” like Jesus) in Northern Israel & Galilee.  From Jesus’ home in the Galilee to east across the Yarden River was the Decapolis -10 Greek cities.  Before Jesus this area was one of the “hotbeds” of Cynic philosophy.  Some Christian scholars see Jesus as a Cynic who had disciples (typically the Hebrew Prophet had no disciples).  It is not hard to also notice that the Northern/Eastern religion of Zorasterianism (with it’s large number of demons/evil spirits, “devil”, or bad god vs. a good god) was a huge influence on Jesus, perhaps more so than the Hebrew Bible. 

    The early church fathers confirm that Jesus was unknown to the vast majority of Jews, even in the Galilee.  Jonathan ben Zakai, who lived minutes away from where Jesus’s hometown supposedly was, did not ever mention Jesus or his disciples, either negatively or positively.  Jesus was pretty much a non-entity in Jewish thought for centuries after him (no good words or bad) until the later Church brought him to the Jews.  It was as if he hadn’t even existed.  Strange, that Origen, one of early leaders of Christian, who lived in Casaeria only about 30 miles from from Jesus’s hometown, couldn’t find a 
    “Nazara” or a Nazareth.  Nor a Capernaum, nor anyone who knew about Jesus from their family, only 110 years or so after the death of Jesus.      

    As far as Jesus’ admonishments, as intolerant as the NT sometimes makes him, he would have had even more anger at non-Jews, especially Roman leaders, like Pilate (but victors often write the history their way).  Strange for a “redeemer” or “savior” to say, but Jesus’ way was through a narrow gate & down a narrow path.  Most of Jesus’s words would be directed at most Christians today, even those who Jesus allows to “preach and to heal in his name”?  Jesus won’t know them (& will “throw them in hell”), although he encourages them & blesses them today?          

    • naaria says:

      2nd sentence should read, “There was no acceptance of evil among the Righteous before or after Jesus, despite not beleiving in a “devil” and despite not blaming outside “evil spiritual entities” for a person’s failures”.

  12. David
    Your premise is that the Jews “changed” their view of Satan because of Jesus’ criticism!? First of all as Naaria pointed out – most Jews never heard of Jesus or his criticism and if they did hear of t – there was no reason to attach special significance to it – second – there are so many more typical reactions to such criticism (such as ignoring it) than the “need” to change the definition of Satan – finally – how does changing the definition of Satan deflect the criticsm?

    • David says:

      My reasoning goes something like this: The Jews have been persecuted for almost 2000 years because in part because they have been associated with the execution of Jesus. The execution of Jesus in the mind of Christians is inextricably linked in part to the work of Satan (Satan entered Judas who was paid off by the High Priests to betray Jesus). Therefore, SOME Christians now and especially in the past have condemned Jews for the execution of Jesus AND also for doing the work of Satan in the process. The Jews would have rejected both charges. And over time the Jews might have downplayed their own involvement as well as that of their association with Satan as well as the influence which Satan has in general while playing up the role of the Romans.

      Of course the opposite argument could be made against those Christians and those supporting the idea of persecuting Jews that they invented the whole deal about Satan to bolster their justification for their unjust actions against the Jews.

      My position is that the Jewish position on Satan apparently has changed somewhat and I base that on the gospel records of the NT regarding comments of Jews pertaining specifically to Satan.
      However, I will concede the following points. The NT record emphasizes the involvement and influence of demons and Satan (who is the prince of demons) much more so than the Hebrew bible does. And there is a reason for that and it relates to the arrival of the Messiah and the connection Satan has to mankind while Adam and Eve were with Satan in the Garden. The arrival of the Messiah focused the battle lines between the people of God and the people of Satan. A person of God is from the heart, not through a blood line.

      I will also concede that Christians of today emphasize the role of Satan much more so than even the Jews of 2000 years ago and this is due to an understanding of the NT and again the connection to the Garden. Or, to put it another way, the theological and literal connection of the successful and holy work of the last Adam which corrected the failing work of the first Adam, and is also connected to the destruction of Satan’s work by the last Adam. All of this resulted in the promise of a redemption to all of humanity who so accept Jesus as the Son of God and also results in the eventual total destruction of Satan and all evil including that of evil men and evil fallen angels (which are called demons).

      We Christians don’t associate pagan gods with Satan directly (although there is an indirect connection). We understand that pagan gods are nothing more than the imagination of men. However, that doesn’t stop Satan and his demons from taking advantage of people who so believe in pagan gods. In Mark 3 for example Jesus was accused of being associated with Beelzebub and also exorcising demons by the power of Satan. My guess is that probably the Jews at that time understood as we Christians do today that Beelzebub was a pagan god (a figment of human imagination as are all pagan gods) and that Satan was and is a real created creature (a fallen angel) of God. The reason they accused Jesus of such was to assign a DOUBLE insult (paganism AND Satanism) and discredit him because they didn’t want people to continue “go” to Jesus and accept his “false” teaching.
      This is the same motivation for why they discredited him for healing on the Sabbath. They were trying to point out (from their perspective) that although the things Jesus was doing looked good on the surface they were in fact fraught with the errors of paganism, Satanism, and violating the rules of holy and Godly living.

      But Jesus corrected their error on each occasion as he did here; a house divided cannot stand.
      Mark 3:
      22And the experts in the law
      who came down from Jerusalem
      were saying, “He has Beelzeboul,”
      and, “By the ruler of the demons he
      casts out the demons.” 23And he
      called them to him and began
      speaking to them in parables, “How
      is the Adversary able to cast out the
      Adversary? 24And if a kingdom is
      divided against itself, that kingdom
      is not able to stand. 25And if a house
      is divided against itself, that house
      will not be able to stand. 26And if the
      Adversary has risen up against
      himself and is divided, he is not
      able to stand, but his end has come.

  13. naaria says:

    But again you are totally disregarding what most Jews BEFORE Jesus believed. And are basing your ideas of what Jews believed based on writings that were written by non-Jews, redacted by non-Jews, and canonized by non-Jews over 300 years after Jesus. The Hebrew Bible was not rewritten & it’s ideas of sin, the nature of evil, and the God were developed centuries before Jesus & remains virtually the same today. The Septuagint altered it somewhat, but still no devil, still no belief in the Christianized idea of a “sinful nature of man”. The Samaritans altered the Torah somewhat from the Hebrew version, but still no devil, still no belief in the “sinful nature” of man. The Apocrypha, preserved mainly by Christians, had no devil & no belief in the “sinful nature of man”.
    On the other hand, Jews (Jesus) did change the nature of Satan & of evil.  For those who did not want to accept responsibility for their actions, they were given easy salvation.  Or make them feel guilty and threaten them with “hellfire”, because (the OT) God “hates sinners” but (the new god) Jesus “loves you”.  Follow their leader, give up all your money to them, and you are saved.  Go out, preach a little, & take advantage of those “better off” & compassionate folks (usually women) who will sympathize & give you money without you having to beg.  Don’t want to truly repent or say that you’re sorry for what you did?  You are forgiven, like the wayward son in the parable who takes advantage of the naivety and compassion of his father.  Forgiven, if you say the “magic words” and put the “supposed messenger” above  the “supposed Sender”.   With a “satan out there”, you can always blame this evil spirit for your sins & claim “the devil made me do it, that mean ol debil”.   Some people become paranoid over all the imagined “evil forces” out there & they may even “manifest” this “evil spirits” into physical beings, that only they see or sense.   You are not a thief, you are merely a victim of the devil.  You are never wrong, it is only the devil stopping you or attacking you.  When you are confronted & criticized for your actions or your hypocrisy (for instance, breaking or dishonoring the Sabbath) and you feel you are being “attacked & cornered”, turn it around, and call them “sons of the devil”.

    I invite you to read read 2 scholarly books by non-Jews, Christians; their are others that might be better. One by Thorlief Boman, “Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek”, which will help to distinguish Jewish beliefs from Christian & Jesus of the NT, although written to show they are similar. Another about the nature of evil by Jon Douglas Levenson, “Creation and the persistence of evil, the Jewish drama of divine omnipotence”.

    • naaria says:

      Where God is Creator of All, where God is omnipotent, where God is One and there are no gods, demigods, beside God, there is no room for a devil, no place for an evil spirit to share or detract from God’s power. Enemies of man, but no enemies of God worth considering. No evil spirits that negate the idea that Man was created in God’s image. None that can override God’s word about our nature, a nature that we can be Holy as God is Holy, IF we chose to, without “divine tricks”.

    • David says:

      You are in my mind incorrectly attributing theologies to the NT which aren’t there. It is true that some Christians believe in some of the theologies you are talking about, but some don’t believe in any of your claims which you attribute to the NT. But you and they are incorrect. You can’t blame the NT if people, including some Christians, misread into it things that aren’t there. In other cases you and they are in partial agreement but there is still serious error and differences between you and some of the more mainstream erroneous theologies. For example even those that erroneously believe that man is born predisposed to sin, also believe it wasn’t that way from the beginning. You seem to be saying that man was that way from the beginning. Neither theology is correct. And even those that believe in Satan do not attribute Satan to all evil in the world. However, some attribute all evil at least “indirectly” because Satan was one of three in the Garden.

      Also, the NT was written by Jews for the most part. But even if it wasn’t the point is: what were the views of Jews regarding Satan at the time of Jesus. It’s more of a question of whether or not you believe the narrative of the gospels to be accurate with respect to the opposition Jesus faced from what he called hypocritical Pharisees and other hypocritical leaders within Judaism. According to the NT, Jews who were opposed to Jesus accused him of every heresy and wrong they could throw at him including that of following false gods and doing works by the power of Satan. The narrative of the gospels also teaches us that the Jews, at least during the time of Jesus, believed in demon positions and also conducted their own demon exercising.

      It is a misunderstanding of both the Hebrew bible and the NT to attribute all evil to Satan. On the other hand it is a serious mistake to overlook the fact that Satan has been with us since the beginning and has been a negative influence in the affairs of mankind ever since. In the case of Adam and Eve he played a direct and personal role in their fall. But they, Adam and Eve, also had freedom of choice and they chose incorrectly which is why they were punished by God. Eve didn’t have to follow Satan and Adam didn’t have to follow Eve. Satan had previously already disobeyed God and was already punished for that prior to the Garden scene. For his new crime of tempting Adam and Eve, God said to Satan: “Because you have done this …” not: “Because you have disobeyed me or you didn’t listen to me …” or not because you are evil. That’s because Satan was already living in disobedience to God even before the temptation of Adam and Eve and was punished for that which ties into his motivation for tempting Adam and Eve. On the other hand, in disciplining Adam, God did say (to paraphrase): “Because you didn’t listen to my command …”. That statement of God tells us that our disobedience to God is always through freedom of our own choice. If we were “predisposed” one way or the other it wouldn’t be a true choice.

      What do you think, would Adam and Eve have eaten from the forbidden tree without the help of Satan? We’ll never know for sure I guess, but I believe they would not have eaten from the tree. Then the question is, then why would God have allowed Satan into the Garden and why allow him now to continue if Adam and Eve would have never sinned without him. That entails a longer explanation but basically in a nutshell two things. God doesn’t like half-heartedness; God requires that we make a decision and not sit on the fence. Adam and Eve were sitting on the fence willing to sin but not willing to sin without some help. The other reason God allowed Satan in was to teach us that temptations will always come in whatever form including from without or within and we have to learn to rule over sin to honor God properly. No one can please God unless we are obeying God, and it is impossible to obey God if we haven’t learned to master sin. Jesus in the desert taught us how to master the temptations of the world and thus prepare the way for a life of honoring and obeying God. You absolutely cannot master sin which comes from the world if you haven’t learned to master sin which comes from within. That’s also the lesson of Cain. If Adam and Eve had learned to master their own internal desires which were contrary to God they would never have fallen for Satan.

      The Garden teaches us that there is no such thing as sin just happening out of the blue.

  14. Naaria
    Thanks for your thoughtful remarks – and thanks for adding clarity

  15. David
    Did you noice that satan in the Jewish Scripture is the one that argues to God that man is inherently sinful – while God takes the opposite position (such as in the opening chapters of the book of Job) – perhaps the Church – who adopted the argument of Satan – found the need to redefine satan?

    • Tsvi Jacobson says:

      David
      Satan in Job doesn’t argue as an antagonist but as the District attorney who presents his case to the Judge. .Your perhaps is not accurate….The Church did in fact redefine the satan. Also remember this, Psalm 147:19,20 ” He declared his word unto Jacob , his statutes and ordinances unto Israel, He has not dealt so with any nation; and as for his judgments,THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN THEM”. You should (not perhaps) consider this verse as so much of your new testament is flavored with a different religion than the one God has given The Jewish people and through us the world..

  16. David says:

    I don’t concur with your analysis. You are reading something into it. Where does the bible read that either God or even Satan for that matter says that man is inherently this or that?

  17. naaria says:

    The theologies I discussed that are in the NT are a consequence/result of theological ideas & actual words that are in the NT.   Those theologies are there in the NT and that is why they are taught & preached in many churches.  Of course different Christians, different  churches, believe & teach different things, but all believe that they have ample scriptural support/proof for their beliefs (whether you agree with them, our Christian brothers & sisters, or not).  Their beliefs are not “incorrect” merely because you don’t agree with them on a few points.  They have plenty of “ammunition” they can use against your beliefs, as well.  However, there are some principles, some basic beliefs that can’t be denied; there are some in the NT, even in “Jesus’ own words’, that are inconsistent with the definition of words and with the world view that is expressed by the writers of the Jewish Bible.  Doesn’t matter what “some Jews” believed in the time of Pilate or the Herods.  Being different doesn’t mean Jesus or the NT writers were wrong, just that they were different.  They, or their world view, just came from a different place.  There is documented history of  how the NT text changed over time & how the texts were brought together into the modern canons.  Therefore, I have little confidence in the reliability of the NT, because of its several historic, social/cultural, political, & geographic inaccuracies & it’s internal contradictions.  The NT is polemic and didactic and prejudiced, even irrationally hostile, toward Jews & Judaism, because of “some Jews?”  The gospels, in particular, are not internal discussions of beliefs or teachings of, or among or between “believers”.  Some are largely are an attack on Jews, while at the same time an attempt to justify their “new beliefs” on several selected passages of the old “Jewish writings”.    There is also some history of what Jews believed by the texts that they preserved & the texts that they wrote, before & after Jesus, which you want to deny in favor of your interpretation of the NT.  Most of the Jewish writings are about commenting on scripture and about God and what God wants from us and not about attacking other Jews or Jesus, etc.  If Jesus were such a “true Jew” based on the whole of the Tanach, he would be no more than a prophet like Malachi or Hosea instead of a “man-god”.  Nor would he elevate a tempter, satan, to some sort of demi-god, polytheistic-type devil.  

    Yes there were Israelites/Jews who strayed & followed the “gods of the nations”. But show where the “hypocritical yet legalistic Jews” that the NT attacks are religiously closer to their enemy & oppressor pagan Rome then the Rome assembled & approved NT Christians. There were apostate Jews (believed in pagan ideas of their Northern neighbors, similar to some NT beliefs), superstitious jews (who believed in demons, etc, especially among the uneducated class, like many of the followers of Jesus), corrupt Jews (especially those who cooperated with Rome), and hypocritical non-Pharisees and even Pharisees (of course, some scholars show that Jesus was a typical Pharisee, Torah observant, and therefore not “un-Jewish” nor truly hypocritical himself).  Who would really care what an “poor, itinerant preacher” like Jesus said, in the first place?  He must have done something unorthodox or that seemed to be hypocritical in order to be called a hypocrite, and Jesus usually responded  next with sort of a “takes one to know one” retort or “you’re the hypocrite” because-I-say-so answer. Being called a hypocrite (& yet too rigid in their faith & personal actions that they were called “legalistic”?), was not so bad compared to the hypocrite who would, according to writings by his followers, leaned toward pagan ideas of sin and evil spirits, a polytheistic ideas such as a “bad god/power vs. a good god”,or a divine “son”, or a man-becomes-god/god-becomes-man idolatry, etc.  

    Those who said there was heresy then may have been wrong at the time, if you want to believe that, but they proved they were “good prophets”.   If the Trinity idea was one of the theological errors that got into the NT in Rome when Christianity was fairly mature (300 years after Jesus) and at a time when it supposedly was fairly popular (meaning at a time it was fairly resistant to change, particularly to radical & heretical ideas), as some people teach, how reliable are other fairly minor, less controversial teachings?  If you can’t accept “the trinity”, then why accept a devil with almost the power of god, or what Jesus said about his brothers or vice-versa, with almost an anti-Jewish and neutral or pro-Roman attitude? 

    There are several different words for the concepts of sin in the Jewish Bible.  The term “sin” include violations of Bible law (transgressions) that are not necessarily a lapse in morality.  And there are different ways to atone for those sins.  In the Bible, people do have the ability to master an inclination to stray or sin (Genesis 4:7) and to choose good over evil (conscience)(Psalm 37:27).  Malachi 3:7 says, “Return to Me and I shall return to you,” and Ezekiel 18:27, “When the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.”.   If there was hope for “the wicked” before Jesus, there was surely was for “hypocrites” like Jesus who failed to be “perfect” at all times, although they tried (or at least made an effort).  

    Two words often encountered (& usually together) in the Tanach is God’s Mercy & Justice.  The scriptural and rabbinic conception of God is that of a Creator who tempers justice with mercy (easy salvation?).  Based on words in the Torah (5 books of Moses), Jews before & after Jesus, held that God is said to have thirteen attributes of mercy, as formalized in the Talmud.  In it, there is no mention of a sacrifice (especially not of a human or god).  No blame for sins on demons or a devil, which would be a cause or very good justification for God’s mercy.  No hint of some concept of “original sin”, the closest is in the 1st attribute of mercy because one is “capable of sin”.   No hint of punishment because of Adam or Eve or a serpent, although there is a kindness because of the righteous patriarchs (not as intermediaries or intercessors.  This is part of something called a Covenant – a direct relationship of God to Man). 

    You may know some of those things or you think them beside the point.  Because you are hung up on (some) things that are written in the NT which evolved over time as surviving or relic texts shows.  And there can be no denying the mention of heresy of some believers/followers of Jesus in the text that remains in the NT today.  Heresy is worse than any supposed hypocrisy (of those who couldn’t defend themselves from these hate filled attacks, a lot of it behind their backs).  Idolatry is worse.  There were many social, economic, & political inequities against Jews, rich or poor, mainly by non-Jews, that Jesus virtually ignores in the NT.  Why so little mention of those problems?  What was the answer or solution given?  Was it zealous rebellion, or justice only in the after-life, or “don’t worry, be happy, cuz birds never starve nor fly “south for the winter”, or the ascetic “kingdom of god on earth is lived in your mind”, or your problems are because of the devil and demons (who really like to invade “clean houses”)? 

    • David says:

      I understand the primary theme of your position to be as follows:

      Christianity is a pagan religion because most Christians believe in the Trinity which is a pagan polytheistic belief that there are 3 gods in 1 god. The Trinity doctrine is the central belief of Christianity. The Trinity and other pagan beliefs originated with Jesus, an unknown itinerant preacher, and his pagan followers who in turn wrote their pagan beliefs down in the NT. The NT clearly supports the doctrine of the Trinitarians believe this to be true as well. However, the NT is unreliable in that it is inconsistent throughout its many revisions and translations.

      The above is a mixture of half-truths, and statements which are completely false.

      Point #1: Christianity is a pagan religion – half true because while there are those who hold to the Trinity doctrine it wasn’t this way from the beginning. And even MOST of those that claim to agree with the doctrine of the Trinity do NOT do so in practice. For example, most Trinitarians pray to God the Father NOT God the Trinity.

      The “Roman Catholic Apostolic Church” Trinitarians (whom I’ll refer to as “Romans” since their belief originated with Rome in 380, and who also refer to themselves as Roman-Catholics) are an exception and will pray to almost anything that has the word “Saint” in front of it.

      Point #2: The doctrine of the Trinity is central to Christianity – false because it is central only to Trinitarians, not to Christianity, and never has been and is not now.
      Fact: one becomes a Christian by belief that Jesus is the Son of God (NOT God the Son, and NOT in the Trinity). Nowhere in the NT does one pledge or proclaim belief in the Trinity to become a Christian. In fact ALL Christians who have ever become Christians have become Christians through believe in Christ as the Son of God. There is not one verse in the NT which states otherwise. Read the book of Acts for a review of baptisms of the first Christians.

      Point #3: Christianity’s Trinity and other pagan beliefs originated with Jesus and his pagan Apostles who wrote the NT. This one is so clearly false it is laughable. There are thousands of verses in the NT which clearly show Jesus and his NT followers to be monotheistic. There are a handful of somewhat complicated verses if taken out of context and/or manipulated from the original source language in the NT as are in the OT that can be interpreted in more than one way concerning the plurality or singularity nature of God. On the other-hand, there are literally thousands upon thousands of clear and simple verses in both the NT and the OT which show God as one – singular. In addition, Jesus NEVER proclaimed himself to be God the Son. And, neither is there even just one verse which claims that any Apostle ever claimed him to be God the Son. In fact in EVERY instance where the character of Jesus is proclaimed it is either: the Messiah, the Son of God, or the son of man etc., Never God. He is described as being sent FROM God and is now sitting at the right hand of God. He is never described as sent from himself, sitting at the right hand of him-self.

      Point #4: The NT is unreliable. False – When compared to documents of antiquity, the NT and OT are the most accurate and faithful documents to their original than anything else on the planet by far.

  18. David
    How do you understand Satan’s argument in the book of Job? What was teh point God was trying to make and what was Satan’s counter-argument?

    • David says:

      To understand what’s going on in the case of Job it’s important to understand the concepts of test and tempt, the difference between the two and who engages in tempting and testing.

      God tests one and never tempts. Satan tempts. Testing and tempting could at times be one and the same action as in the case of Job. To know which it is, test or tempt, it is necessary to examine the motive of the tester or tempter.

      The motive of tempting which Satan engages in is always to make the person fall, to expose failings and short comings by imposing some type of stress, challenge, choice, problem, or even a benefit with the goal of causing the person to succumb to the temptation and choose the temptation instead of maintaining integrity towards God.

      The motive of testing is always to build the person up through facing some type of choice as stated above, forcing the person to examine his/her character making the choice to adhere to one’s commitment to God and rejecting the temptation. The goal is to make the person stronger after the test than he/she was before the test. Always, after passing a test from God we have some improvement, some reward from God such as our understanding of God, or of our own character, etc. we are always closer to God after passing a test.

      In the book/case of Job, God asks Satan:
      “Did you notice my servant Job, that there’s no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil?”

      Satan indicates that he is well aware of Job (as indicated by his knowledge of Job and his circumstances) and hasn’t yet touched him because God has a “protective hedge” around him.
      He makes the point that Job only fears God because of the material things he receives in from God in return for Job’s integrity towards God. In other words, Satan contends there is a quid pro quo relationship between Job and God. Take away God’s blessings and Job will cease fearing God.

      God takes the opposite view concerning Job and is willing to prove it in a test of Job, thus edifying us who read of the case as well as Job himself. While Satan’s motive is to tempt Job and cause him to fall, God’s motive is to test Job and have him pass the test thus achieving new revelation about himself and God. God’s position is that Job fears God regardless of any material blessings and in fact we learn later in the scenario that God’s position is that Job will continue to fear God even after great bodily harm.

      God allows Satan to inflict harm upon Job and Job passes both the material deprivation and bodily harm tests.

      As a result of passing the tests Job understands God more fully; we see in chapter 42 Job’s increased understanding:
      “Yes, I spoke, without understanding,
      of wonders far beyond me, which I didn’t know.
      I had heard about you with my ears,
      but now my eye sees you”

      The difference in Job’s relation and understanding of God was the equivalent of going from only hearing to SEEING! Quite a change for the better, and such a true blessing from God bestowed upon Job. In addition Job was restored to more in material blessings and bodily healing than he previously had even before the test.

      Job had everything materially before the test, but God wanted Job to have even more in the way of Job’s understanding of God. And God’s way to do that was/is through testing.

      In addition to the lesson of tempting/testing there is also the lesson of Job’s friends. God’s anger blazed against them because they did not speak rightly about God to Job. So we learn that Job and only Job was righteous in his speech and thoughts through it all. God would not even accept a prayer from his friends to stop his anger against them. Job’s prayer alone was accepted which satisfied God’s anger against his friends. This further demonstrates Job’s righteousness to God and kindness to his friends who dishonored him and God. But Job didn’t hold it against them although he had the right. When Job prayed for his friends God restored Job of his material fortunes.

      On another level we can extrapolate some lessons for mankind in general. If Job was human and we are human as well, then we have the capability just like Job to make correct choices in times of our own testing and tempting. If one human can do it there is always the hope that another and another and … .

      Satan’s hypothesis that: take away our blessings and we will curse God to his face because we only honor and respect God for what we can get in return from God, might be right about some of the people some of the time, but the case of Job proved that it is not true of all of the people all of the time.

  19. David
    Why was Satan convinced that Job’s righteousness was only superficial?

    • David says:

      Satan wasn’t necessarily “convinced” but was hoping he would be successful with Job. He previously had success with others of course including Adam and Eve which would naturally lead him to believe that he could have success with Job as well.

      The outcome was unknown by Satan because Satan is not all knowing; only time, tempting/testing, and Job’s reply would provide the answer.

      God of course knew. The reason for God’s testing is not for God’s benefit but for man’s.

      • David
        What was Satan trying to prove?

        • David says:

          I’m not an authority on Satan, and I’m not sure he was trying to prove anything.
          But we can assume Satan has a motive and an objective for what he does as do we all including God.
          In the case of temptations Satan has tried, sometimes successfully and sometimes not successfully, to turn one from God. That is his objective. His motive has to do with thinking to highly of himself, his arrogance, his jealousy of God’s love of mankind, envy, etc.
          In the case of Job, Satan was eager to get a crack at him to turn him because he was the most righteous at that time.
          If he was trying to prove anything it was that man only loves and honors God for what he can get from God. Take away the blessings from God and man will turn from God.

  20. naaria says:

    Wrong – Your summary of my arguments or positions is quite inaccurate.  Again, I am not a Trinitarian.  I am merely pointing out that many people build a theology on SOME of the text that is before them, while others use other text/verses.  Many come with a certain bias & they maintain that bias. They are “stiff-necked” and prefer a “blindness”.  At times, I am merely pointing out that you place much confidence in a Text that “came later” although you agree that what came later (& kept by those whose theology you disagree with) is not the same as what was earlier (although you don’t have the earlier text).  There was heresy, but there was no heresy.  There were changes, yet there was none.  The text has a bias, yet it doesn’t, despite much evidence to the contrary.  

    Most Trinitarians do not believe there are “3 gods in one god” (some “Unitarians believe it is the Trinitarians’s belief & they then try to show that it is pagan).  Whether Trinitarianism is a “central belief” or a minor heretical view, matters little.  Neither polytheism nor paganism is defined by popularity of beliefs, either yesterday or today, either in Rome or in Jerusalem or your country or your church.  It is not based on how little one’s beliefs have strayed from the beliefs of the original teacher or the original follower’s teachings (except when the original teachings were pagan or polytheistic).  However, minority views are more likely to be heretical & a perversion of prior beliefs.  Modern beliefs indeed are more likely based on beliefs that have developed after the original & have been passed on since the original beliefs of a group, especially a belief system that relies on continual revelation & prophesies.  It is rare to find anyone (except deluded individuals) who holds on to the “original beliefs” held several hundreds or thousands of years, especially when they have no original texts & when they rely on texts that can be shown to have been altered & changed over those years.  It matters little that “in the beginning” some teachings were different from today.  People believe the text the see before them today.  If it changed, that might indicate a severe flaw of the original teachings & the “powers” (on earth or heaven?) allowed them to virtually fade away & be replaced. 

    Now, some pagans believed in Trinities, but most didn’t.  Most pagans believed in many more gods than 3, but some believed in 2 or EVEN 1 god.   For instance, an Egyptian believed in 1 god, but being “monotheistic” does not mean one believes in the same God as the God of Israel, the One God of the Jewish Bible.  Actually, Trinitarianism is 1 attempt to show that they NOT polytheists, but true monotheists since they believe in “1unity”.  While, some who believe in one god, the father, and one son of god, are closer to polytheism and to paganism.  It would matter little if Zeus had several sons or no sons or only one son of god, named Apollo.  Apollo, the son, is also a god and so belief in Zeus & his son is polytheism.  Zeus is not the same as the God of Israel.  Son of man is only a man.  A son of God has a whole different meaning in the Hebrew Bible then how that term is used in the NT and how most Christians would define that term.   Islamists also believe in 1God & Jesus was “the messiah”.   Some believe “in Jesus” as some Christians.  I have heard of Hindi & Buddhists who “believe in Jesus”.  It is near idiotic to suggest that I did not know that there were differences between Roman Catholics & “Protestants” & “Orthodox” & the Syriac church & the Coptics & Jehovah Witnesses & Mormons or Church of JC of LDS, & Baptists & 7th day Adventists & Church of God & Messianic Israel, etc., etc.  BTW, I never was a Trinitarian although some churches I attended were.  It is sort of ridiculous to suggest that a Trinitarian does not also know of terms such as “Son of God” or “Son of Man” or that those terms somehow conflict with their Trinitarianism.  You use a lot of terms & NT verses that they do, so a large part of the disagreement is semantically based.   

    Let other Christians who believe in the Trinity, or that Jesus is God (or both or only 1), speak for themselves.  Then I might throw in a few NT verses out there as well, that I found on a quick search in a NT a short while ago.  At webpage bible.ca/trinity/trinity-proof-texts.htm, they show 55 triadic verses in the bible.  They start by examining 4 views, then define the word “God” and is it “one in number or one in unity”?   They show that the trinity is not pagan, they show a history of the idea in Christianity, they discuss subordination within the “godhead” and the “personality of the holy spirit”,  They have their proof-texts & of course, they refute the anti-trinity proof texts.  For a whole lot of verses supporting the belief that “Jesus is God” (& the Trinity) see the web page seekgod.org/bible/jesusisgod.html.  

    For a web site that “proves” Trinitarianism is an error, but that “Jesus is God”, see the Church of God site, “ucg.org/bible-study-aid/god-trinity/?s=1”. On page 56 of a free booklet, they write that “God the Father is the One who calls one to baptism and a new way of life” (John 6:44, 65), and it is His goodness that leads one to repentance and baptism (Romans 2:4).  They say that even “the New Catholic Encyclopedia” acknowledges that “The majority of the New Testament texts reveal God’s spirit as some thing, not as someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God…”.  They also believe that the “Apostles Understood Jesus to Be the Creator”, because Hebrews 1:2-3 speaks of the “Son of God” as the Being through whom God created the worlds and who “sustains all things by his powerful word”. “Only God is great enough to do such things”.  On the question of whether Jesus claimed to be God, they say yes and quote over 30 bible verses in one of the chapters.  I have seen longer lists.  In another chapter, they disagree with those who say Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 denied the divinity of Christ by applying the distinction, God, exclusively to the Father.

    I don’t believe I answered all your questions, but this is getting too lengthy.  Maybe later, I’ll address the lack of baptism in the OT and it’s prevalence in the NT and in a few pagan sects.  Or the common use of the phrase “the father” instead of “my father” or just, God.  Since I have a relationship with God already and there is only 1 God, 1 Lord, 1 master, why should one have to do things indirectly “through the NAME of Jesus”?   God can be understood without books or theology, but ideas such as trinities, “son of god”, human or “god sacrifice”, etc that must be taught & “theorized about”, smacks of theology or religion & traditions of man.  In Acts 2:36-39, I seen that that Greek word “Kyrios” is used where that word is equivalent to YH-WH or God.  So, God made Jesus both God and messiah/Christ?   The NT said it (else, i need another new, accurate version?)   I can address all your other points (or misunderstandings of my post) later.  Again, I suggest that all Christians learn more about the history of the text of the NT and of the church, so that one is less likely to respond naively, simplistically, or inaccurately.

  21. naaria says:

    Since someone brought up the “Ist Marriage” of Adam & Eve & 1 who maybe tried to bring them “asunder”. Here are some thoughts about the Garden story.

    The story is great literature, but it is quite complicated with several layers of meaning & unanswered questions in only about 25 lines of text.  Often some “things” aren’t explained in the Torah because they are not important to the story or because the meaning should already be  plain & obvious.  There are puns & word-plays that only are seen if one can read Biblical Hebrew or if one consults concordances & commentaries.   The same word arom is used several times in the story for naked -open, not hidden, innocent-(arummim) & cunning/slick – hidden or cloaked (arum).  The snake is naked, like Adam & Eve.  The serpent is one of the created ‘wild beasts”, but less than the human (alive because of God’s own “breath”).

    Why does the narrative mention commands and the tree of knowledge (or TKGE) & then supposedly digress to the creation & naming of the animals, the search for a mate/helper, the making of Eve, and then back to narrative about the TKGE (not necessarily of Right & Wrong?).  Adam & Eve are not mere animals nor wild beasts.  They might know somethings are right & some are wrong?  And Adam could tend to things, for God. They at least seem to know it is right to obey God and wrong to disobey.  They can not be “punished” justly if they were incapable of some understanding of wrong & right.  Also, don’t assume that they were immortal.  Might they have eaten from the Tree of Life, since it was not forbidden?  Don’t assume 1 fruit gave 1 eternal life, since it might have been like a breath or like water – it keeps you alive – but only for a time (as long as you eat of it -“an apple a day, keeps the doctor away?).    But such a tree would be unnecessary, if they were already immortal?   

    What is the snake’s motive?  He is “cunning,” but to what end? Remember it is an animal, shrewd but “lower” than Man.  A created being that exists because of God’s will.  Not Evil, for remember this is the “Garden of Eden”, defined by some as an “evil-free” paradise.  But humans are still largely dependent on God, like children depend upon their human parents or adult guardians.  A Garden is usually outside of a house, but would God allow a “divided house”?  God need not accept the consequences of some imagined “snake vs Man” feud.  Since the serpent is, in effect, “tempting” the humans to “be more like God” to be able to “know what is good” and being able to discern and therefore REJECT evil, this “so-called devil” is working against it’s own supposed goals.  It predicted that our “eyes would be opened”, so “your satan” caused us to “see the Light of God”?  Or is God working against his own goals? Or, is the created serpent (some folk’s satan) somehow more cunning then God, it’s Creator? 

    As an act of kindness, God clothes the humans & gives them the tools to go out into that “big, bad world”.  The Rabbis say the Torah begins with God’s kindness to Man & ends with God’s kindness (burial of Moses).  Both Adam & Eve and Moses are exiled and won’t die in the Garden or the Promised Land.  But they have received a place in a better “Garden” & better “Promised Land”.  The  “Cherubs” may guard the path to the Garden, but next they were also assigned to guard the Holy Ark of the Tabernacle, which was available to be approached by Man or at least existed in Israel’s midst.  The original Tree of Life (& the TKGE) is guarded, but we were given the Torah, a new TKGE; a new Tree of Life for our new world.  The Torah is the guide to Man’s will toward God’s Will into a fully Godly being.  We can be Holy as God is Holy.  Despite “their satan” (or in spite?) we have become more Godly – more passionate, more desirous, more creative- half-Gods (true “Children” of God).  Or the point of Rabbi B’s post, the nation Israel/Jews became “married” to God.  But we can wield the power of creation wisely or not.  We have control or not or we can be controlled.  

  22. David
    Show me one source from the Jewish Scriptures which tells you that Satan thinks highly of himself or is arrogant

    • David says:

      I think you’ll find that in the NT directly and indirectly and indirectly in the OT. In the Gospels we see that Satan wanted to be worshiped for example.
      In OT we see that God demoted Satan from that of the “highest” to the “lowest” because he caused man to fall. God said to Satan: because you have done this. True, man made his choice, but Satan provided the encouragement to sin.

  23. David
    Where does the OT ever say that Satan was at any point “highest”?

    • David says:

      We can discern the hierarchical position of Satan (as an angel created and established by God) as superior or highest above all the wild animals yet he is still below that of man as follows:

      The first is verses 3:1 and 3:5
      “Now (A)the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.”
      This establishes Satan as more cunning, subtle, shrewd, crafty ((arum) also a word play related to naked (arummim)), and in this he was endowed by God since God made him. In 3:5 we see that he has superior knowledge since his claim that their eyes would be opened came to pass.

      But these two verses tell us his status is supposed to be below that of man or mankind; 1:28 and 1:30. God blessed Adam and Eve and commanded them both to rule over the animals (including the serpent). God gave the animals an inferior food source (green plants). Yet through his craftiness Satan causes the serpent to rise above the status of the animals of the field usurping control of Eve (ruling a human instead of the other way around) giving evil counsel on the human food source.

      Next, God’s punishment gives us more insight into Satan’s misconduct and status before and after the fall. Verses 3: 14,15.
      14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
      “Because you have done this,
      cursed are you above all livestock
      and above all beasts of the field;
      on your belly you shall go,
      and (BF)dust you shall eat
      all the days of your life.
      15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
      and between your offspring[v] and (BG)her offspring;
      (BH)he shall bruise your head,
      and you shall bruise his heel.”

      If the serpent were anywhere but at or near the top of the ALL of animal kingdom the punishment of being “cursed above ALL the animals” would make a mockery of God’s word. In addition, God literally brought him DOWN to the ground to crawl on his belly and eat dust. You can’t bring something down if it’s already down and the punishment wouldn’t make sense on that account either. Also, the woman is in a lower hierarchical position than that of the man (before and after the fall) (When God speaks to just one it is always to the man, etc.), and it is from the seed of the lower status human which will kill (bruise the head of) the serpent. God could have said it would be Adam’s seed but for this reason among other reasons He wanted to make it clear the serpent was below ALL humans, that even from the seed of the weaker of the two humans, the serpent would be destroyed.

      So, by indirect analysis we see that Satan is below that of a human but above all else.

      • naaria says:

        As you know, just as some Christians misinterpret a small percentage of the Greek NT and teach errors that are not based on the “original” texts (therefore some see a need for a REV NT), some Greek & Latin translators have introduced errors by mistranslating & misinterpreting the Hebrew of the Jewish Bible. And although most Christian scholars & translators agree that these errors of translation exists, some people will hold onto lies by their scribes, because it supports their beliefs.

        The word “satan” most often means a human adversary (sometimes “raised up by God”). The word adversary appears only 27 times in my JPS Tanach, 15 of which are in Job. Accuser, 12 times. Only one satan. Job maybe have been written in the post-exilic period, when Northern Israel was influenced by Persia. Job lives in the land of Uz, east of Israel, & some of the characters are Temanites, Shuhites, Namathites, etc. It most be noted that God initiates the “challenge” here, the adversary has no power to tempt, it doesn’t directly confront Job, and after Chapter 2, the adversary is totally out of the story, irrelevant.

        1 Chron 21:, probably also post-exilic, the adversary is most likely a military adversary, since it adds little because King David is submissive to he divine will (& otherwise the verse would disagree with the book of Samuel).

        Sometimes a serpent is merely a serpent. To understand the text, first read it literally (as if you never read it or heard of it before). Don’t add all sorts of words that aren’t in the text. That may be why the Rabbi is asking you some very simple questions, essentially asking you were in any of the Jewish scriptures are you getting these ideas? Essentially from Christian “midrash” & allegory, which is opinion and interpretation subject to debate. It is not the LITERAL word of God. Where is satan, ha-satan, or adversary mentioned in Gen 2 or 3? Where do you read & what do you mean by “Satan causes the serpent to rise above the status of the animals”? Are Satan & , the satan who is the serpent, one & the same, or is the serpent not really the “devil” & only is a tool of or a symbol of satan? If the serpent is brought down to exist as the “least” of all animals & is the most (“above” is misleading or else a curse actually lifts us up to a “divinity”- the more curse the more divine?) cursed of all animals more than all other animals & it was always less than Eve & Adam, why are we concerned about the serpent??? Except as an ordinary snake (I was raised & still live in “rattlesnake country” & I fear no “evil”). People can be more evil, bring about more enmity, can cause me to fear more, & can be more deadly in more ways.

        God is in control; any power you give to a “divine evil being” subtracts from the power of God (at least in your mind, perhaps that is the real satan). It subtracts from the One God’s Glory & makes God small; and always smaller until God is no more or until God is only a man or a “super-man” sitting at the “right hand of God” to hold “his weak hand” up because we “crippled Almighty God”. At least it may appear that way, when so many have failed the Deut 13 test by the false prophet/s.

      • naaria says:

        Kill is not the same as bruise or strike. All offspring is not one (or else there would be no enmity all the days). And of course Eve’s “seed” is also Adam’s. Or else the striker (killer) is external & not from Eve. THEY shall bruise, strike. And then surviving, it strikes back, if it can.

        • David says:

          True, kill is not bruise or strike. I was referring to the ultimate rather than the immediate and interim which is what the passage pertains to. So you are right there because the passage if referring to the immediate and the interim.

          The passage should be interpreted both in the plural sense and in the singular sense. This is how seed is used in the bible, both plural and singular. Plural as in multiple offspring and singular as in “he will strike your …”
          You are correct in that the passage refers to the beginning of a fight and we can interpret this also to a beginning of something yet unknown (staying within Genesis). Based on Genesis alone we do not know the final outcome. We only know that it is the beginning of something. What we know is that a male of the seed of the woman at some point in the future (when we do not know) will initiate the fight with a blow to the head. This can be interpreted as the most important aspect of Satan’s body or place of leadership etc. Satan strikes back with a blow to his heel. This can be interpreted as the least important aspect of the male or place of subordination. What is clear is that the striking is at the extreme ends of the body signifying extreme differences in tactics and meanings of the body parts as it relates to the interpretation of the passage. How the fight continues if it continues at all we have no way of knowing from this passage alone. All we know from this passage is that a fight will begin at some point in the future.

          From the same passage we also know that God has placed enmity between the woman and Satan starting at the time God spoke it as of the Garden. He also places enmity into the future between her seed and the seed of Satan. When the future enmity starts we do not know. We don’t know if it will be with all offspring in the plural sense or in the singular sense with the as of yet unknown male or in both senses of the word. What we do know is that at some point it will start and presumably it will start at least by the time of the commencement of the fight. It’s pretty hard to have a fight without enmity.

          Regarding the “seed” of the woman, when interpreting it in the singular and specifically male sense, we cannot jump to the conclusion as you have that it will automatically also be the seed of Adam. God does not say one way or the other regarding Adam. God only says it will be from the woman. God does not make it clear from this passage alone at least in the singular sense who or what will be involved, whether it be Adam or someone or something else. What we know with 100% certainty is that the male seed which will strike first to the head of the seed of Satan will be from the woman.

          Now, some have jumped to the opposite conclusion that this passage alone proves the virgin birth. That is also jumping to conclusions but it is true that combined with other passages this passage becomes more clear how it is that the woman has a male seed at some point in the future without involving Adam. The woman Marry begets Jesus by means of God through a virgin birth process. But this again is jumping ahead of Genesis. And if we stay within the first few chapters of Genesis, it remains a mystery.

  24. David
    And you say that we changed the idea of Satan?! What does the animal kingdom have to do with angels? What does being clever or sly have to do with arrogance? – of-course you can create connections – but then so can we.
    In the book of Job – the Satan explicitly argues with God about the righteousness of Job – that is exactly the position Judaism has assigned to Satan (and Christainity has assigned to itself) – yet you argue against our position based on some stretched inferences? (see also Zechariah 3:2,3)
    Besides the position of arguing against the righteousness of man Christianity has also adopted some other thological positions of Satan such as attempting to convince mankind that God’s commandments are not good

    • David says:

      The talking snake is obviously symbolic from something more than just a clever animal. He could have come in the form of spirit which he is but that would have made his job harder and would not have facilitated his purpose of turning man from God.

      By the way, I’m not making the argument that man is forever evil because of the fall. I think you’ve misunderstood me on that point.

      The arrogance of the snake or Satan

      is derived from the fact he miss-uses his own God given abilities of craftiness (and speech) to his own ends to suit himself and no-one else; that being to turn man from God in this case. He argues to Eve that he knows better than God himself. The arrogance is also evident in the tactic he uses in the temptation itself to turn man from God. His basic tactic to Eve is that “self” is more important than “God” and that God in fact is unnecessary and even a hindrance in the fulfillment of self because one can attain good things for self like “wisdom” only by ignoring God. He in essence claims that honoring God’s rule (or rules) is not a legitimate requirement since God’s heart is also selfish. Satan in essence is claiming that God’s heart is not for man’s welfare but that God knows and specifically made the rule for his own selfish reasons; to prevent Adam and Eve from becoming like gods or God. Therefore, his claim is that we all have the right (God, man, animals, and talking animals like the serpent) to be self-centered and can legitimately seek out our own selfish ends (apart from God) since God him-self is seeking his own selfish ends. We humans may therefore pursue our selfish ends with what-ever natural abilities we possess such as intellect and freedom of choice (even though we know our abilities and selves came from God). It is our legitimate right Satan argues to do so.

      The Devil is not an animal but is spirit. When is the last time you saw a talking snake? Therefore, the words of God directed to the snake pertain to more than to just an animal or to animals of to any member of the animal kingdom. God’s words to the serpent pertain to Satan.

      The reason why the Devil took the form of an animal is that Adam had much familiarity with animals. Satan specifically chose the serpent because of the natural God given characteristics which the serpent already exhibited to Adam before even the Devil had entered or controlled it. As you know, Adam named all of the animals personally and we can assume he did so based on characteristics particular to each individual animal. He did this with the name “woman” and the name “Eve” and there is no reason to believe he didn’t base his selection of animal names on the particular characteristics of the individual animal as well. The point here is that Adam would have been both aware and familiar with the snake’s natural characteristics. It follows then that Adam gave the serpent the name serpent because of its particular unique characteristics which we learn from the bible itself is cunning and naked-like.

      Satan then used this natural built in familiarity with Adam and Eve (they “knew” the serpent and the serpent knew them and they all looked naked together) which is often a necessary first stage in deception. With familiarity amongst Adam and Eve in place, the Devil then built up trust with Eve (I believe over time) using his demonstrations of supposed knowledge of the ways of the Garden and of God. It might even be that the Devil is the one who taught Adam and Eve how to sew for example. But at any rate it is clear from the exchange between the serpent and Eve that both Eve and Adam were comfortable, accepting, and trusting in his presence.

      The other half of my claim that the devil is arrogant was previously given such as studying his punishment from God for example. You can’t bring something down if it’s already down. And God’s punishment always focuses on the underlying problem with the heart of the offender since God sees the heart.

  25. david
    This is all your interpretation – I could just as easily say that the reason that the snake acted as he did in the garden was to prove his point that man is inherently not righteous – this would fit with his role in Job

    • David says:

      You could say it but you would have to walk through the logic and show it in scripture as I’ve done. You don’t have to agree with it but it’s always the case of who’s got the stronger argument. I base mine on multiple points in scripture.

      And why are you assuming that our arguments must be exclusive of each other. Apparently you are arguing that the Devil knows that man is inherently evil? Perhaps he does know it, but I doubt it. I am arguing that the Devil is selfish, arrogant, envious of God’s love for man, a murderer, etc.

      I see that both arguments are possible to be true simultaneously. I don’t agree with your point that the Devil knows that man is inherently evil though. It seems we are arguing to different ideas independent of each other.

      The devil perhaps hopes that man is inherently evil but what evidence do you have that would suggest that he knows that or even believes that to be the be true? Just because we agree that his aim is to turn man from God doesn’t mean that the Devil necessarily believes that man is inherently evil.

      So then after Job in either case whether he believed it before or not, I guess now the Devil understands that man is not inherently evil since Job beat him? What’s your conclusion?

  26. naaria says:

    David: You build a lot of theology on 2 or a few verses, so that you can hold on to assumptions & interpretations of certain parts of the NT. Not all Christians hold to the same beliefs. And Jews who only have the Tanach, can’t accept much of your interpretations, or to put it another way, Genesis doesn’t start in Chapter 3, nor does it end there, or rather, neither should the reader “leap up”, take a few “hops, skips, & jumps” over most of the scripture until one “lands on Matthew which is in “safe country”. Post exile, after the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, a lot of Israel was influenced by the “whore of Babylon”, the “epiphany” that a Greek Selucid king was a “god manifested in the flesh”, and Roman emperors who were gods or like one Caesar, son of god, who “was born of a virgin mother, died, and was resurrected”. Their concept of gods and of evil changed, so that some could accept a new theology. But Greek speakers who translated from the Hebrew scriptures to Greek, didn’t change the story of Adam & Eve that much and to them the Hebrew “accuser” was called “diabolos” or “slanderer”. The NT “devil” later evolves and does a whole lot more than accuse and slander (and a lot of the modern ideas about the devil come from the later church and the Medieval period, the “dark ages”)(did satan cause increased darkness or did darkness cause increased belief in a satan?). But, from the beginning it was not that way.

    I see you emphasize what was said to a serpent who “fell” & was cursed “all the days”. As far as striking, some say the “Anti-christ” strikes first (the christ is “caught off guard”?) or else there would really be no anti-Christ (unless Christ’s first blow is weak & ineffectual, giving an anti-christ a “sporting chance”). You seem to ignore most or all of what pertains to the 3 other major “players”. Since there was no human born yet, “the woman not yet named” could not be a good judge of what her punishment was, but her temporary “birthing problems” were probably less than that of many animals, even in those “primitive times”. A woman will have desire for her husband? That helps, not hinders’ be fruitful & multiply”. Was she warned about serpents or to stay away from evil or how to atone? Not directly, if at all. As “primally and supernaturally evil” as some make the serpent, a merciful God might have taken much pity & given the fairly innocent & naive woman a “slap on the wrist”. Adam still tended the fields, which didn’t take up most of his time, even outside a garden. Was ha-adam warned about serpents or about evil or about forgiveness or ways to atone?

    Some diminish God almost to the level of man. They imagine that God’s curse is either very ineffective or that it is only temporary and it actually strengthens the one who is cursed until there is almost a parity of power between “satan” & God. There are some who go even further & believe God is satan (like the demiurge, creator God). Which is why some can believe that Jews, who worship the God of Israel, & no other gods, are children of “satan”. If there can be a son of god (in a monothieism) or other sons of god or gods, there can be more than 1 father as well.

    Soil is a “she”; the Tree of Knowledge of Good & evil is a “he”. ha-adam is a “he” (some imagine a “unisex” ha-adam before the woman). But the woman, later named Eve, is flesh & bone of his flesh & bone, which means no one comes (unnaturally) from Eve, except from Adam also. And all her children are seed of Adam. Paul said Adam’s sin was hereditary (death passed through to all Man through Adam, but, it was also Eve’s sin and so she is the one who passes it to the child).

    • David says:

      All parts of the bible have to fit together like a jig saw puzzle. If one part contradicts the other or doesn’t fit then you have something wrong.

      Everything I wrote is supported by scripture but I chose to limit myself to Genesis since your unspoken point is that the Garden is irrelevant.

      We live on every word out of the mouth of God, and that includes words which pertain to creation and the Garden.

  27. david
    I never said that Satan “knows” that man is inherently evil – that is his consistent argument – I don’t know what he knows – I know what he says.
    Where did you get the idea that Satan wants people to worship him? where did you get the idea that Satan is jealous of anyone?
    The concepts I apply to Satan are the ones that God chose to reveal to us in Scripture
    I also notice that Satan is an important feature of your theology – it is not a central piece of Scripture’s theology
    We can go round and round – my question to you is – do you not recognize that Satan’s argument for the unrighteousness of man is EXPLICIT in the book of Job – while the concepts you associate with him (desire for worship and jealousy) are not EXPLICITLY stated anywhere?

    • David says:

      For Yourphariseefriend and Naaria:

      Nothing in Job or anywhere else for that matter that I know of in the Hebrew bible or NT contains anything explicitly, or directly or even indirectly about Satan trying to prove or make the case for man’s inherent evilness or unrighteousness.
      In Job, the stated explicit direct textual explanation of Satan’s afflictions upon Job was that God’s righteous servant should be “destroyed without reason”. Job 2:3 “…you incited me against him to destroy him (C)without reason.” Nothing is said or even hinted at regarding the supposed inherent evil of man.
      So what does Satan say?
      “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But (AP)stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will (AQ)curse you to your face.”

      So there you have it, proof positive that Satan is making the argument that man is inherently evil. NOT!

      Satan makes two points here:
      Satan’s EXPLICIT Point #1: Job will give all of his possessions up in return for his life.
      He does not say: “therefore man is inherently evil.”
      But if he did say therefore man is inherently evil, the logic of that would have to go something like this:
      The talking serpent shows up in the Garden of Eden and says to Adam: give me all of your fruit or I’ll kill you. Adam responds: Sorry no can do because if I gave up all that I have just to save my own life that would mean that I am inherently evil and since I’m not you’ll just have to kill me.

      By the way, where is it written or suggested that if a man gives up everything to save his life he is therefore inherently anything?

      That’s an interesting moral debate to have, the only problem is that there is no evidence that Satan makes that argument one way or the other.

      Perhaps a more interesting argument would be would Adam give up all that he had including his own life to save Eve instead. If so would that make him inherently righteous or inherently evil based on Satan’s supposed argument? I guess that’s a topic for another day. Again, there’s nothing to suggest that Satan is making that argument either.

      Satan’s EXPLICIT point #2:
      “touch his (Job’s) bone and his flesh, and he will (AQ)curse you to your face.”
      Again, Satan does NOT say: and that will prove that man is inherently evil.

      Let’s assume for agreement’s sake that Satan is right about Job. Let’s rewrite the story and say that when physically tortured, Job held out for as long as he could but then succumbed and cursed God to his face.

      What then would that prove? Does it prove that ALL men are INHERENTLY evil because Job didn’t hold fast to his integrity under duress?

      You see, not only does Satan not make the argument, but even if he did, it does not necessarily follow that it is a valid argument to make since it can be debated that it is faulty logic from start to finish.

      More likely, Satan simply wants to destroy righteous Job for no reason as God EXPLICITLY stated.

      In a future post I’ll walk through the logic (which is based on the Garden scene) as to why Satan (or the talking serpent if you prefer) suffers from several “evils” including selfishness, envy, a desire that God’s creatures idolatrize him or worship him, or that they destroy themselves, their lives, etc.

      • naaria says:

        David, part of your argument sounds like that of Eliphaz in Job 15:15 where God “can put no trust in his Holy ones; the heavens are not guiltless in his sight”, that God has no control over “satan”, so-called “fallen angels”, “demons”, etc. Neither Job nor God would agree. Job neither met nor seen “satan”.  While it appears you believe that satan is inherently sinful (or perhaps as some folks believe, a “fallen angel” that was once closest to God?), it appears that man is more fortunate and is mainly a “victim”, which is an idea slightly different from the traditional “original sin” argument, although it seems to rely on the same verses.  Despite God first “inciting” satan when satan “reports” to God and despite God “setting the terms & conditions” & giving authorization to satan to act within those constraints, we are somehow to believe that satan is in control or is some sort of renegade, malcontent, who is largely unmanageable even by an All-Mighty God?  Your argument still doesn’t increase the number of times that the word ha-satan or non-human accuser, slanderer, or adversary appears in relation to MANY other keywords or teachings & examples in the Jewish scriptures.  Important teachings aren’t so hidden nor so ambiguous. There are many other verses in the Tanach that deal with inequity, transgression, & sin. Many that define what sin is, what types of sin there are, what causes it, and what the remedy is or what one does to atone for those sins. Sin is “missing the mark”, not reaching the achievable goal. If that failure is beyond our control, because of some “external malicious force” or “subtle temptation”, that is not sin. There is & always was, Mercy & Justice. Yet there is something called “fear of God” which is one of the qualities of Job (even when he refuses to answer God or considers God unjust). Read on.

        Job insists 27:5-6.  “….until I die I will maintain my integrity.  6 I persist in my righteousness and will not yield; I shall be free of reproach as long as I live.   7 May my enemy be as the wicked”.  God agrees on Job’s righteousness, blamelessness & his integrity.  Job was not created that way and he is no different from other people.  Job was “blameless & upright”, had a “fear of God” & “shunned evil”.  There is a “wager” essentially about the “nature of man” and that Job was no different from all others.  Or else, there would be no conflict, no argumentation back & forth, no story.  There are MANY arguments put forth (not just one simplified version).  And many themes such as God is all-powerful & just, Job’s new view that God is all-powerful & unjust, & God is just plain all-powerful (which negate or overshadow any “satan” theme).  

        One of Job’s themes is that God is powerful but unjust.  He can abuse his power & he uses it for destructive purposes.   Job wants to argue his “case before God, in this too is his salvation”.  Job insists on his innocence & he is blameless before God.  Despite God being “his accuser, his adversary” (yet never satan). And indeed, God calls him blameless & righteous several times, and despite everything, Job maintains his integrity.  But to blaspheme God, is to allow the “original accuser” to win.  Job in Chapter 7 parodies Psalm 8:5-10, which magnifies the role of man in creation & considers God’s unceasing concern as praiseworthy, but Job considers that to be the meddling of an overprotective parent. God should let Job alone.  It was ha-Satan’s first contention, that it was God’s protection & “fencing him off from harm” and then blessing him, that was the true source of Job’s  “righteousness”.  Otherwise, Job would “naturally sin” in the “natural world” like all others and he would not be blameless, but guilty.  Job admits he is not “perfect”, but that is not the same as sinful, “fallen”, or guilty.  He admits some measure of guilt in 7.21, 13.26, 14.16, and elsewhere, but asks God for pardon & forgiveness.  To him it is an injustice and he just can’t understand why, now for some unknown reason, that God is “hiding his face” and can’t pardon his transgressions nor forgive his inequity.  Ultimately, like Abraham, Job knows that the Judge of all the earth will be just.  As in  the Psalms, like 6.6, Job’s assumption is that God needs people & so he “reminds God”, that if he, Job, were killed, he no longer could praise God. 

        • David says:

          I never said Satan was inherently sinful.

          • naaria says:

            I assumed that if something is “from the beginning” that it is either inherent or it was made or created to be that way. Depends on what “beginning” one is talking about or what sinful or evil or transgression or mistake means or how those words are used. If a “nature” is not from the beginning, we have other options, not limited to: one’s behavior is altered by some accident; one is driven by external forces or internal emotions; one acts merely spontaneously; one uses logic or reasoning with no, liitle, incomplete, or biased information or knowledge; one is taught to be act or believe a certain way; or one is commanded either as a slave or as a faithful servant; etc.

            Sometimes stories or parables (especially origin, etiologic, or genesis-type stories) are taught or told to explain things in the universe, or about life experiences or ideas, etc. All people might learn somethings from those stories. However, those closest to the stories or closest to the source, those who grew up with those few stories as their only or primary teachings, have a better idea of what the original story meant to them. It forms their world view, their religion. They use the lessons they’ve gotten from the stories to tell other stories. They didn’t know the stories that you were told which were shaped by Greek & Roman or European & American culture, post-Biblical (Hebrew Bible) or post-Christian bible.

            Although this has little to do with the topic of this blog, which is about “Incarnation and the Definition of Marriage”, after Shabbat is over, I hope to briefly show how words like serpent, snake, sin, evil, accuser, adversary, son of man, born of woman, & a few others were used in the Bible by the authors or later editors of the Bible. Before the bible that you inherited from Rome was written & long before Paul and Jesus was born.

          • David says:

            Like everything else, “beginning” is relative to the context. And the context of our bibles is directed to “man” it therefore pertains mostly to man’s habitat. Although the bibles (Hebrew and NT) touch on the non-physical heaven(s), it only does so as is necessary to explain the context of the earth and man.

            Obviously the angels were created at some point but the bibles never say exactly when, where, or how as in the case of man.

            In verse one chapter one of Genesis therefore, the detailed account of the “beginning” relates to man and the earth and to only those physical heavens which pertain to the earth and man which in some bibles is translated sky.

            Some bibles translate the first verse “In the beginning WHEN God created the heavens and the earth.” In other words the author is leaving open the option, even suggesting that there is more to the creation story which preceded the earth and physical universe account, but that which follows verse one all the way to the end of the bible is meant to be focused primarily on the earth for the benefit of man’s understanding. Starting in verse 2 then until the end of the Hebrew and NT 99% (I suppose) is focused on God and man with both feet on the ground.

            One mistake (amongst many) that we all make in analyzing the Hebrew bible and NT is that we claim to hold to context to let it reveal God’s message to us but then from the very “beginning” we violate our own rule.

            For example, most Christians believe that man was created inherently good from the “beginning” but because of sin we lost our inherent goodness. We (not me but Christians in general, although I don’t agree with their reading of it) base that hypothesis primarily on verse 1:31 and the verses preceding it in which God proclaims the character of his creation to be good and in the case of 1:31 to be “VERY good”.

            A closer examination reveals an alternate possible meaning, which I believe is the correct one.

            The meaning is this: When God calls his creation very good. He is saying it is very good in total, not a sum of the individual parts. But very good because taken as a “whole” it is “all” very good when taken as a whole. If one starts removing parts such as darkness for example, is darkness good? God never called darkness good. God separates light which is proclaimed good from the darkness. God never identified anything on day two as good either, for that matter. But yet at the end of day 6 God sees “everything” and “it” is “very good”. So how is “everything” being used in context?
            In a closer examination we note that God is selective in his use of good as it pertains to his creation. Those inanimate things which were separated from God, void of God, or without God physically and spiritually (separate from God’s spirit) such as the darkness are not characterized by God as “good”. The darkness on day one was physically separated from the spirit of God. All that on day two was “individually” without God as well.

            ALL “non-free will” life is “individually” characterized as “good”.

            Then we come to man, the only “free will” life on “earth” able to choose or reject God. God never says that man specifically or individually is good as He had previously proclaimed other good things in His creation “individually”. But taken as a “whole” God saw “everything” he had made collectively and “it” was “very good”. I’m not saying that God is calling man bad. But we know that “everything” doesn’t mean every individually created item because there are items which were NOT pronounced good. So “all” or “everything” in context must mean “everything” collectively when taken as a whole. NOT everything individually without the whole; NOT the individual parts separated out.

            31 (V)And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

            After God made man He then looks at everything as a whole taken together in its completeness and vast array and calls it very good.

            But since man is in the presence of God in the Garden we can’t say that man is not good either. That would be an equally erroneous conclusion. I’m just arguing that man is not “inherent” this or that in the sense of the other items or individual parts of creation previously enumerated.

            Now, one could argue that God considers the “free will” in and of itself to be “very good”. And I wouldn’t dispute that notion but that would be with the understanding that an additional or alternate meaning of the term “good” and “very good” is also being used.

            Many say that man is “inherently good” in the sense that he has an inherent predisposition from the beginning to do or be good because that’s the way God made him. The text does not support that claim. And that is using applying “good” to a free willed creature in a different sense than the context of the text suggests.

            We can choose to walk in the light which is with God and is therefore good or walk in the darkness which is separated from God and therefore not good. In that sense, all that is with God is good and all that is not with God is not good. ”Free will” then is neither, good or not good, in the “inherent” sense as in the case of “other” inherent good things in God’s creation. But man can be classified as “good” or “very good” in the sense that God values free will so much so that He endowed man (His crowning achievement in all of creation) with the special gift of free will.

  28. naaria says:

    Where is the “selfishness” of “Satan”, if it was the “serpent”, (which many scholars agree is not supported by the text), if it was encouraging the woman to be more like God, knowing good & evil?  If that was to “turn man away from God”, where did it get that insane idea from?  And how would that work?  Why would God “fall for & go along with that plan”?   Where was the serpent arrogant (displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance)?   It might be that the serpent was envious of God’s love for man (or jealous of Eve?), but how was it’s actions going to improve it’s standing with God?  Or with Man?  Not too bright, but why assume that it was bright when it is only defined as  “more crafty” than other animals?  Was it just guessing?  It did not eat of the fruit, did it?   Or if it did, why would it have then chosen evil?  And somehow think that it could escape God’s notice?   It is called sly or crafty, but not evil or bad, why?  Did it have an inherent “evilness” or was it just a mistake of God’s but then it still was just good enough to be allowed into “paradise”?   If it had “sinned” before, why wasn’t it exiled from the garden?  How long was it in the garden?    And where in the Tanach was the serpent (or even ha-satan) a murderer, “especially from the beginning”?  Literal scripture, not assumptions, allegory, or allegations.  WHERE did I even hint that somehow the Garden was “irrelevant”???   Quite the opposite, but I deny that emphasis on the foreign interpretations of 2-3 verses, taken out of context, do not override the messages of the rest of the Tanach, the Jewish Bible, or else, as you finally humbly admit, something is wrong. 

    There are answers from scriptures to some of those questions above.  If you let scripture do the talking & one one listens & one looks at the “big picture”? 

    • David says:

      I’m glad you asked:

      The talking Serpent in the Garden.

      Genesis 3 “you will not surely die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God (gods) knowing good and evil.”

      The Serpent not only impugns the good motives of God towards Adam and Eve, but directly contradicts God’s stern warning about the sure death consequences of eating from the forbidden tree which as God put it “surely die” which translated from the original Hebrew means an unnatural, untimely, and even at times a violent death. In no case does it mean a natural death of old age, and most definitely is never intended to mean a natural death at the end of an extremely long life. Thus he establishes himself as that which is opposed to God. What intelligent, thinking, and understanding being opposes God but the disobedient? And what being causes, facilitates or even encourages another as yet undefiled through disobedience creature of God to reject his creator but the wickedly evil, especially knowing the consequences would be sure death to his fellow free willed creature of God?

      The Serpent demonstrated his ability to retain detailed information such as God’s verbatim commands and tailor and apply that information in real time based upon responses from his target free willed victim as in the case of his dialog with Eve. The Serpent’s precise and verbatim knowledge of God’s command is established by comparing God’s original command to Adam against those words used by the Serpent and by Eve regarding said command. For the most part the Serpent changes God’s verbatim command to the negative thus opposing God by changing one or two words. This is in total contrast to Eve’s ignorance of God’s verbatim command.
      Serpent: “…you must not eat from any tree in the Garden?”
      God: “you are free to eat from any tree in the Garden.”
      The above shows a verbatim knowledge of the first part of the command.
      Eve on the other hand is in error, adding the word “fruit” and missing the word “any”.
      Eve: “We may eat (“fruit” added) from the (“any” is missing here) trees of the Garden.

      To continue…

      God: “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day you eat of it you will surely die.”

      Eve: “but you must not eat (“fruit” added again) from the tree (“of the knowledge of good and evil” is missing here and replaced with: “that is in the middle of the Garden”) and (“you must not touch it” added) (“for in the day you eat of it” is missing) or you will (“surely” is missing) die.

      The Serpent corrects none of Eve’s errors although he knows God’s words verbatim as demonstrated in his following responses. Now that he has ascertained the extent of Eve’s ignorance, he openly and directly contradicts God here.
      Serpent: “you will not surely die.”
      God: “you will surely die.”

      Now the Serpent goes on to impugn the good motives of God towards man and portrays God as something less than He is seeking to lower the status, station, or position of God in the eyes of Eve. Thus, the Serpent is laying the groundwork to remove the fear of God’s wrath.
      Serpent: “For God knows that (“in the day you eat of it” verbatim from God) your eyes will be opened and you will be like God or gods, knowing (“good and evil” verbatim from God and here the Serpent references the concept of “knowledge” with his word choice “knowing” something Eve was lacking.

      EYES OPENED:
      The Serpent’s personal knowledge of the consequences of disobedience and rejection of God are further confirmed when their eyes are in fact opened as promised by Serpent although certainly not in the way Adam and Eve might have hoped.

      God teaches us in Genesis 3:11 that there are only two ways to obtain knowledge of good and evil together, one results in punishment the other does not. One was the path of Adam and Eve and the Serpent. And that path to the knowledge of good AND evil is personal knowledge through self-experience, self-experimentation, personal disobedience, etc. The other way to knowledge of evil is through the intellect, by observation and study of the actions of others and contrasting that with the character of God, or by being told or taught about evil, etc; anything, but not through personal experience.

      The Serpent chose the path of personal disobedience and chose to lead Eve and Adam along the same path as he to their eventual harm.

      The following is a summary list of verbatim words of God used by the Serpent in his dialog with Eve, but which Eve failed to use; thus showing his superior intellect and Eve’s ignorance:

      “any” tree
      “surely” die
      Knowing “good and evil”
      “in the day you eat of it”

      The following is a list of words which Eve erroneously added which should not have been added and which the Serpent shrewdly did not use himself because they were not verbatim from God’s command.
      “fruit”
      The tree “that is in the middle of the Garden”
      “and you must not touch it”

      Analysis of God’s punishment reveals the specific misconduct or failure of each participant in the Garden. God had originally assigned to each a position and/or task and function. God’s punishment always maintains a connection to his original assignments. The original positions, tasks, etc. are altered but not eliminated in God’s punishment to each. The alteration usually takes the form of including some hardship, pain, degradation, etc. to act as a continual reminder of the original disobedience which was the cause for the punishment in the first place.

      For example, Adam’s original task was to work the Garden and care for it. He was also the one who personally received the prohibition regarding the food source.
      Adam’s punishment therefore was centered on working and caring for the earth/land outside of the Garden and the family’s food source. But with that alteration of the original came physical hardship and degradation in the quality of the food (plants of the field). This process teaches one to appreciate the things of God and to think twice before disobeying a second time.

      Eve’s original purpose and task was to be a suitable helper to Adam. She along with Adam received fruitful blessings from God to increase in number (reproduce, have babies), to fill the earth, to have dominion, to rule and to partake in the BEST food source as compared to the animals (fruit trees as opposed to green plants).

      Likewise, Eve’s punishment centered on her original assignment and purpose. She would continue with the duty of having children but now with pain. Since she proved not to be a good helper to Adam and exchanged her God given desire for food for that which was opposed to God (self-acquired knowledge apart from God) she would now have her desire focused back to Adam where it should have been. Since she proved ineffective at ruling over her surroundings which included the wild serpent, her husband would now rule over her, although she would still continue to rule but not as a co-ruler.

      And finally, the Serpent.

      God proclaims to the Serpent “Because you have done this”. In the context of the Garden this can only mean because through the process of deceit the Serpent facilitated the original disobedience and sin of Eve and indirectly of Adam as well. The Serpent did “this” with full knowledge of the deadly consequences which God had given warning of. He is therefore a murderer or attempted murderer. His knowledge of it all is evident through his verbatim knowledge of God’s word. Thus he intentionally and with forethought brought harm to God’s created free willed man.

      God curses the Serpent personally and directly. In contrast, Adam was not cursed directly; in Adam’s case the ground was cursed because of him.

      The Hebrew bible teaches us that God’s curse is on the house of the wicked.
      Proverbs 3:33.
      God’s curses are reserved for those who disobey. Deut. 11: 26-28.
      And:
      Proverbs 21:26
      “All day long the wicked COVET but the righteous give and do not hold back.”
      God’s curse to the Serpent is further proof that the Serpent did disobey and that he is wicked, and covetous.

      By receiving a position, status, or station adjustment with his punishment, the Serpent showed that he thought of himself above his originally assigned station, status, or position. He departed his station which was separate from man and placed himself above man to bring harm to man.

      God therefore brought the Serpent down to the lowest point possible, down to his belly to eat dust from the ground. We know therefore that the Serpent is arrogant, thinking himself above his assigned station, status, or postion.

      The record shows also that God accepts Eve’s claim that the Serpent used deceitful speech in his misconduct. We know that because Eve’s claim is not corrected, contradicted, or altered in any way by God. In contrast in the case of Adam, he claims that: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and I ate.” Although technically true, the claim by Adam is deceptive to say the least and God later corrects him with: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it.” And later of Adam God also clarifies Adam’s claim and actions: “and now, he might reach out HIS hand and take ALSO from the tree of life and eat and live forever.” Here God makes it clear that although Adam did technically receive the fruit from Eve, God judges the heart and Adam’s heart was to disobey God. He is responsible for his own actions.

      Back to the Serpent. Since we know then that God did fully accept the testimony of Eve regarding the Serpent’s deceitful speech (without ANY alterations), we know then that the Serpent in fact is guilty also of deceitful speech.

      Concerning speech:
      Proverbs 26: 24-26
      Whoever HATES disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart.
      12:17
      Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.

      So in summary, the analysis shows that the Serpent is:
      wicked, evil, disobedient, and desires for others to be disobedient, covetous, arrogant, a deceiver, and attempted murderer or murderer depending on how you look at it, a destroyer of God’s work, in opposition to God, a maligner of God’s motives towards man.

  29. David
    Your evidence for the Serpents jealousy is weak to say the least – I do agree with your point that the serpent tries to make God “less” in the eyes of his victims (such as teaching men that God is unapproachable) – you still didn’t prove that he desires worship
    My point is that Satan’s original argument to God seems to be an argument about the ability of man to be righteous – when God points out to Satan that Job is unusually righteous – I understand that God is using Job as an example for the capability of man – while Satan is arguing against that – if you don’t want to accept my understanding – that’s fine – I do think that it fits in with Satan’s role in the book of Zechariah
    I also disagree with you as to whether God was right about Job or Satan

    • David says:

      Your argument is possible in a broader general sense about Satan trying to prove something about man in general but my argument is superior in that it is confined to scripture, whereas for your argument to make sense you have expand the meaning and leave the confines of the passage to include all men and assume without evidence that Satan was trying to prove something. You have not yet given one passage anywhere that Satan has tried to prove anything. All other passages can be explained in other ways such as Satan has selfish motives.

      It was God who invited Satan to consider Job. Job was already the most righteous in all the land. God’s motivation is clearly presented in scripture. He tested righteous Job to bring Job an even superior understanding of God than he had previously which was already superior to all other men. He also rewarded Job materially.

      If could be argued that rather than trying to prove something about man in general, Satan for selfish reasons simply doesn’t want any of God’s creatures, including Job to receive increased blessings such as what God gave to Job following the successful test. And why would Satan not want good things for Job? – jealousy, envy, selfishness, arrogance, etc.

      “Worship” of other gods takes place when we turn from God and do what the other god wants whether we know explicitly what the other god wants or not. In this case Satan wants Job to “curse God to his face”. If Job did fall and curse God, Satan would then be to blame or receive the credit for the fall depending on your perspective since it was Satan who “incited” God against Job. So then if Job does what the other god (Satan in this case) wants, is he not then “worshiping” Satan if even indirectly? Turning Job from God as a result of Satan inciting God would be a victory for Satan and amount to worship for Satan. By definition that’s what ungodly worship is: exchanging our obedience and worship to God for something else as it applies to any created being or object other than God. Satan is a created being. He was created by God as was everything in creation. He is not God. How is Job going to continue to his worship the one God of creation while he is cursing Him to his face? And, to whom would Job be obedient to while he is cursing God to his face? That would be Satan of course who would receive at least indirectly Job’s obedience and worship. One thing is for certain it would be God that would be receiving Job’s obedience and worship. The mere act of rejecting God is obedience to Satan since this is what “scripturally” Satan is documented as saying: Job will “curse you to your face.” At least that argument is the better explanation and does not leave the confines of the passage and scripture whereas your argument although possible is inferior as it does leave the confines of the passage.

  30. naaria says:

    I may abbreviate beings or objects before or after they were named, by their first letter, E for Eve, A for Adam, T for Tree of knowledge, S for serpent or s-naked (E,A,T,S). H is for Hebrew.

    The H idea of God countered the pagan idea of capricious & morally indifferent gods in a purposeless universe, where the fate of man was not determined by human behavior.  To the H, Man was not subject to chaos, blind or malignant forces of nature or spirits.  The H Bible strongly opposed the theology of the neighboring pagan peoples & nations.  Things (sun, stars sea, etc), including “spirits” or man, that others called gods, God called created objects & God rules over them.  The “malignant forces in nature”, were “thrown down & defeated” by God.  Stop forgetting that “the serpent” was cursed by God & “eats dust” ALL the days of his life.  What God has put under, let no man revive.   We have free will to do evil; to declare God & devil are one or are equals; to worship satan; or to exalt a serpent into ha-satan or a “heavenly being” and make it an important component of one’s theology.  I chose none of those.  I reject the “power of negative thinking”, where the bigger one makes “satan”, the smaller one makes God.        

    God has control of ALL; in, on, & above the earth & in Heaven.  God saw ALL (the earth system) that was created was good, very good, balanced, & God placed a portion in the hands of the Man.  The Fate of Man is largely determined by Man.  Like God, man is called “yoser”, both a “creator” & a potter, giving man a sense of glory & freedom, while yet being necessarily dependent upon the Supreme Power.   All vegetation & all animals, including serpents & snakes, are subjected to rule by Man (whether we choose for the good or for the bad).  What Man can’t do, or fails to do, God can do, if it needs to be done & God wills to!  Anything that needs to eat, or be sustained, (E,A,T,S) is/was not immortal, for now.  Anything created from the earth is subjected to the rules of earth & therefore also to the Creator.  

    As important as it is, the Creation story (which includes the Garden story with the 4 Rivers, etc., which are holdovers from or counters to the pagan “Emuna Elish” story), is only an introduction, a prologue, to the main Biblical theme of the Exodus & a Covenant.  In the H Bible, God mainly is seen, not in the Creator role, but as an actor within history. And the vast majority of that is in the direct relation of God to Man (or nation/kingdom) & vice versa.  

    “Verbatim” is more meaningful if one use a more accurate translation.  Note that the S came after the 1st command about the T.  We are not told when or where or from whom that E or the S heard of it.  Was E wrong about the command or was A wrong, if he taught her?  E seems to think that she heard direct from God, & she tells the S verbatim what God said, according to her.  Or, was she just being more exact, so that there would be no confusion; so her words wouldn’t be twisted?  What exactly was meant by “eat of it” (was that the leaves, the twigs, or the fruit, also taking into account that usually fruit may be seasonal & may not always be ripened or edible)?     Maybe E is better at communicating with ignorant animals, like a serpent?  She uses more words to explain it better?  To better ensure that one doesn’t eat what is desirable, God may have said to E, don’t even touch it.  Don’t sin by blaming E or by insinuating E was a liar, unless you have her written version of the story.

    Maybe E remembers something God said that A & we may have forgotten?   Maybe, while not really meaning to, she did obey God’s command of Genesis 1:29, “… See, I give you EVERY seed- bearing plant that is upon ALL the earth, and EVERY tree that has seed- bearing FRUIT; they shall be yours for FOOD.”  

    If E wasn’t directly commanded, can she be blamed for disobedience?  Can she be blamed for Adam’s errors? Duped? Some take her word for it, that she was, but then her punishment is unjust.  Since no reason was given for her punishment (& none need be given to us, only to her), maybe she lied about being duped?  Maybe.  Just like A, E could blame another.  But, after eating of the T, she had some new knowledge, yet she still gave of the T to A.  Was that her sin?  Both A&E hide despite, or maybe because of, getting this new knowledge.  If E was innocent, although maybe “dizzy”, why is it that A (who may have failed to teach her correctly and who just failed to lead) is being “punished” by being given the task of leading & ruling over E?  Failure causes promotion?  Maybe whatever E desires, rules over her?  If she desires knowledge of God, God rules? 

    What the S says in 3:1, is incomplete (there is no “verbatim”).  One very literal translation is “Even if God said don’t eat from any trees of the garden…” and then the sentence trails off, as if the S was interrupted.   It is neither a complete sentence nor a question needing any yes-or-no answer.  It can be read as “Even if God SAID don’t eat, so what?”  Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, a giant of Biblical exegesis, suggested that the key to the S’s words may lie in the simple emphasis of one word.  Read that way, the S isn’t really challenging the authority of God per se. His argument is much more narrow; saying that God’s SPOKEN words are not the things that one should pay attention to.  Animals rely on their instinct, their inner voice of God, and their thoughts are neither good nor bad.  But to a human, God’s voice may instruct one not to eat of the tree, but another “voice of God” — His voice inside you; your passions, your desires — calls you to eat.  To the S, the real voice of God doesn’t speak to you from the outside, it comes from inside of you.  Or instead of the traditional speculation, perhaps the S was told not to eat of ANY fruit & then it wondered why E & A “disobeyed” & ate from some but not all trees?

    Gen 3:6 is usually interpreted as “And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a means to wisdom”, but a  more literal translation of the last phrase is more like “the tree was desirable to contemplate”, meaning aesthetically pleasing.  Each phrase increases the desire.  In effect, the tree is what draws E in, the S only drew E’s attention to it.  Actually, S is really unnecessary to the story.  Maybe, that was another reason why the author of Genesis intentionally did not call the S wicked or evil. Stop the “blame game”, A & E were personally responsible for their actions & they bore all the cost of disobedience.  Don’t blame A & E or the S for your own sins or for your sufferings.  This is the world that you were born into; this is your Garden.  The T itself, would sooner or later, draw E or A to it.  That is why is was placed in the center of the Garden where it would be difficult for the humans to long avoid.  Some suggest it was all a setup by God; it was necessary for the “babes” in order to go to the next level,  closer to the Parent.  A baby is enticed by something, so they learn to crawl to get to it.  Then later they are enticed to walk; maybe later, out an open door and towards the busy street, where they will surely die.  They are stopped & disciplined, but not for having learned to walk.  Hopefully their innate curiosity is not stifled.  Sometimes children grow up quicker than one expects?  On the other hand, some need outside encouragement or assistance.

    “Etz HaDa’at Tov Vara” is T.  The “good and bad” part can be taken as a merism or all encompassing knowledge from “A to Z”.  The human ability to study & chose 1 thing over another.  Da’at” can mean knowing something by experiencing it (not just contemplating about it from a distance).  In a few verses, a form of the word will be used again when “the man knows his wife” and “with the help of God”, a child will be born to E & A.  Whereas, most of the religions or myths of the pagan nations emphasized the mortality of man & a hope for a “tree of life” (& perhaps none but Israel had a “Tree of Knowledge”), God of the H Bible earlier put no constraints on its use and it is barely mentioned.  The theme of the T, emphasizes not the mortality of man but the morality of man.  We were the “pinnacle of creation’, already with the “breath of God” within us, created in the “image of God”.  God is almighty & certainly would allow no mere “interloper”, wild beast or “minor, “created spirit”, god, or idol to “defeat God”.  A “setup Test” is all you can assert, without mentally rejecting God (rebelling & accepting an inferior god).  Some versions of the Garden story call God a liar & the S or a satan some sort of “uber-gott” (over-god, the “truth-teller, or one maybe smarter than God), because the man & the woman did not “surely die”.  The H Bible doesn’t see it that way (or else perhaps, one is better off “worshipping a slanderer, accuser”). In a way A & E were rewarded with life; the “image of God” has become like God, using their freedom (& greater responsibility) to become moral agents, with abilities to tell good from bad. 

    These MORE literal interpretations are internally consistent and are consistent with other stories & other teachings of the H Bible.  We err when we invent or import foreign meanings (with pagan, polytheistic overtones) into the text.  Explicitly it states that the serpent is one of the wild beasts.  It was explicitly created from the earth, named, and ruled over by the man.  It can have offspring, is mortal & is punished ALL the days of its life.  The author or God chose not to call it evil (& nowhere in the H bible, does God or any author, call ha-satan a god, idol, or evil being or spirit, despite the attempt of satan-devotees” or “fans” to re-write the H Bible in order to perhaps promote another theology).  The S is definitely not an “angel”,  plus it was cursed to the “lowest position” among the beasts to crawl in & “eat” the dust (which man will return too.  Oh-oh).  Any other beast had a better chance to grow up to be “satan”.  Nowhere in the H Bible is it mentioned that the S was somehow forgiven & then raised up to serve God or to compete with God as ha-satan.   The S & ha-satan ideas  have some minor similarities (they are concerns about bad & good), but lack of discernment does not create valid arguments. Obey & fear God or fear the demi-god, S?   In Ecclesiastes, we see some people could charm & control S’s.  Exodus 4: has Moses & the Egyptians “battling” with S’s or a rod.  In Numbers 21:6-9, it is God who is the one who sends out the “serpents” to punish people.  In John 3:14, Jesus is a serpent that needs to be raised up on a stake.  There were & are millions who worship such a shrewd man. 

    • naaria says:

      Magic was a prime component of many pagan religions, but it is one more area that the H Bible rejects pagan ideas. After eating of the T, we see there was no magic, no power, no “great wisdom” bestowed on E. If there were a wisdom or greater knowledge, that E gained, then giving the fruit to A must be a good & Godly thing. But there was no “magic”, no “great secrets or revelations”, no “higher wisdom” and this “knowledge of good & bad” is something that allowed both A & E, to be more concerned about “nakedness” than other important issues. Something that allowed them to want to “hide from God” & not to see that as not only wrong but “stupid” (to choose passion/feelings over reasoning or to fail to use any gained ability to distinguish between right & wrong).

      • David says:

        REV commentary on Romans 7:17 (sin nature from the Garden)

        I agree with the commentary below. The only thing I would add is that “sewing” the fig leaves to cover the nakedness (the nakedness which Adam then realized exposed his sin) was another form of man’s craftiness after sinning. The Law like everything else before it including the animal skins, flood, food menu etc. was always meant to be a temporary solution to man’s sin and resulting death.

        By the way, do Jews trace their line through Cain or Seth or a mixture of both?

        7:17. “sin.” “Sin,” dwells, or lives in us even when we are not in the act of “sinning.” This is due to our “sin nature,” the nature we have as natural human beings. It is a sinful nature, and it leads us to sin in our flesh. An unanswered, and historically much debated
        question is exactly how it came to be that everyone is under the power of sin. The doctrine of “original sin” is that the sin of Adam was somehow passed down to all mankind, but exactly how did that happen? Before we examine that question, however, we should be clear about the fact that it did indeed happen. The sin of Adam has infected all of mankind, and this is most clearly explained in Romans, especially chapter seven.

        Part of the reason for the debate about “how” the sin of Adam was passed to all mankind is that the Bible does not actually say how. Therefore theologians postulate about it, and argue their particular viewpoint. Perhaps it would be more honest just to say we are not sure. What we do know is that Genesis makes it clear that the nature of the Devil became the nature of Adam and Eve, and mankind has had a crafty nature ever since then.

        In Genesis 2:25, Adam and Eve are portrayed as “naked” (Hebrew is arvm). In the next verse, Genesis 3:1, the serpent (which is the figure of speech hypocatastasis for the Devil; cp. commentary on Rev. 20:2, and Bullinger, Figures) is said to be more “crafty”
        (arvm) than any other creature. In the original unpointed Hebrew text, the route words are the same arvm (which can be pronounced “ah-room” or “ah-rome” depending on whether is it “crafty” or “naked”): Arvm is a homonymn: a word that has two meanings but is
        spelled alike and sound alike. Nevertheless, in Genesis 2:25 and 3:1, no one confuses them. No one thinks that in their primal state Adam and Eve were “crafty” and the serpent was “naked.” However, after Adam and Eve sinned, what meaning do we assign to arvm? In Gensis 3:7, immediately after sinning, the Bible says their eyes were opened and they knew they were arvm. Naked, or crafty? Actually both. They dealt with their nakedness in verse 7 by covering themselves, and they displayed their craftiness in verses
        8-13 by first hiding from God and then, when confronted, blameshifting. Adam openly blamed Eve, and although Eve told the truth when she said she had been deceived, she does not tell the “real truth,” which was that she thought the tree would be good for her
        (for food and to make her wise) and so willingly ignored God and followed the serpents advice.

        Thus, although the Bible does not say exactly “how” Adam and Eve took on the nature of the serpent, something happened when they sinned that was deeper than just “a sin,” which just needs an “I am sorry, will you forgive me,” to be forgiven. Adam and
        Eve’s sin eventually resulted in their death, and the sin, sinning, and death of all of their descendants.

        As a result of the action of Adam and Eve, every person has an arvm nature, and it is the “root” reason that every person sins. This sin nature is a major reason we sin when we do not want to (Rom. 7:14-20).

      • naaria says:

        David on 15 July: If a hungry man takes a fruit from a tree, eating it is good, he is choosing life; what God produced has sustained him.  If I planted & raised the tree, the man has stolen the fruit; it is a sin (in your mind, that was from his “sinful nature”).  If he had asked me & I agreed he may have the fruit; it is not a sin (whether he pays me for the fruit or I give it to him for free).  If he really did not know the tree belonged to me (or anyone else), it might not be a sin, but he needs to pay for the fruit eaten.

        Paul in Romans 7 is wrong on several levels.  First, God gave the law. It was given as a Good Thing, like the “Breath of Life”.  And man can make other laws (emulating God or opposing God).  Man is authorized by God to interpret & to enforce some of those laws of God (& mete some punishment).  Man can decide that the man did not steal the fruit & therefore there was no sin and no punishment, but I, the tree owner, need to be reasonably compensated for my loss.

        The “image of God” or the “un-sinful nature of Man”, and the authority to rule for God was there before the “sinful nature arose”.  Before the sin, the possibility for “sin” existed, but also the greater possibility of not sinning.  Before “Death” arose there was the almost certainty of death; that was why one ate to sustain, keep that life.  That was why a “Tree of Life”, greater than all the other trees that gave & sustained life, existed.  Another “tree” was not “of good AND Evil”, but knowledge of them; the ability to determine wrong acts or things from good acts or things.  There was already  desire before a “serpent”.

        Paul illogically believes that “the sinful desires, AROUSED by the law” were somehow caused or triggered by “the law”, instead of identifying, preventing or constraining the desires.  Paul thinks that because he had not yet “heard or read” about “Do not covet”, that he didn’t covet until he heard of the law & then the “law caused him to go wild”.  Paul thinks that because he was ignorant of the law, that he somehow did not sin.  Others, who were victims of his sin, would not agree with him.  His “internal lawful or un-sinful nature”  or “common-sense” should have told him that hurting or killing others was wrong.  To keep him from being “lost in his sins”, others (his serpents)   introduced him to “the law” or “tree of knowledge of good & bad”, and then he “began to sin”.  Then he backs off that absurdity (is the law sin?) and credits the law for, at least showing him about his sins (yet his eyes weren’t fully opened).  To him the “dead sin” was “resurrected” by the law.                         

        • David says:

          The account of creation including the Garden is the standard God set for us to live and experience Him. Everything that happens following the Garden is evaluated based on that standard and God wants us back there otherwise what was the point of creating it in the first place. And once Adam and Eve screwed things up what was the point on continuing with them rather than just killing them on the spot and starting over if God didn’t want to preserve them to eventually regain the Garden or the equivalent?

          All things that follow then are “fixes” until we can return.
          God’s declaration of the just punishment of eating animal food and expulsion from the Garden, hard labor, etc. was the first fix.
          Then animal skins (and the killing of innocent animals) another fix.

          The flood another fix.

          But none of these fixes are permanent. If they were He wouldn’t have to keep inventing fixes to keep fixing the problem.

          After the fix of the flood we note that Ham, the father of Canaan got himself and Canaan in trouble with Noah regarding nakedness. So the flood was also obviously a temporary fix. But in each case the fix fulfills a purpose.

          As is the case with the Law; a temporary fix which fulfills a purpose.

          The tree is called the “knowledge” of good and evil because man was completely ignorant of evil and had an inferior understanding of good prior to sinning and experiencing evil on a personal level. Without the contrast of something we are ignorant of the full reality and character of God’s creation and therefore God. We were created into goodness but Adam was not able to perceive the goodness fully without the contrast of evil. Unfortunately the knowledge of the evil which he found was a result of his own disobedience, his own poor choice to select that which was prohibited by God over that which was provided in abundance from God; and, therefore his own rejection of God’s purpose and blessings for his life. Adam experienced the evil with his own body and mind, and thus he gained knowledge of both good and evil at the same time. Hence, the tree was called the Knowledge of good AND evil and not just the Knowledge of EVIL. It is by violating God’s command Adam gained knowledge of both good and evil (not just one or the other), thus moving from a state of total ignorance of evil and an inferior understanding of good to knowledge of both.

          The obvious and plain pattern of God’s teaching method of contrasting, comparing, and complimenting creation against itself (which you reject) begins on day one of Genesis; it continues throughout Genesis, and the rest of the Hebrew bible and NT. If you cherry pick and down play this or that you’ll never gain an accurate understanding of how God wants to teach us.

          In the system of God’s teaching method, if we assume for the moment that there was no darkness anywhere in the universe (if there was only light everywhere), we could then argue that we’d have an inferior understanding of Light not to mention our ignorance of darkness. One could argue that the concept of light wouldn’t even exist in our minds and it most certainly would not have a name.

          Darkness is recognizable because God created Light. And God that the light was “good”. Funny, He never said that the Darkness was good. You conveniently ignore that fact. Then God separated the light from darkness. When separated we can fully recognize and differentiate one from the other. This pattern is repeated again and again.

          Did God separate out Abraham from the rest of humanity or did he leave him mix with everyone and everything else? Was it not from Sarah the promise would be passed through? Did God want Abraham to continue in the traditions of the pagans with Isaac regarding child sacrifice? Or did He want Abraham to worship in a different way?

          Going back to the account of creation and fast forwarding to day 6, God creates animals. We know more fully what it is to be human because of the contrast and comparison to animals. We know what it is to have free will to accept or reject God because there is that which exists which does not (plants and animals). We know what it is to rule because there is that which is ruled. We know more fully the blessing of human food in the form of fruit from trees because there is inferior green plant food for animals. We know more fully life and the reproduction qualities of life by comparison to the reproduction of plants, and animals and also to that in creation which has no life; rocks for example and does not reproduce itself. Adam knows more fully what it is to be male and what it means to be created with the responsibility for working and caring for God’s Garden (God took the man and put him in the Garden to work it and care for it) and having a unique personal relation with God because there is something to compare and contrast. Adam is better able to evaluate the Garden because he experienced his own creation from God outside the Garden and was brought into the Garden by God. Adam knows better the uniqueness and significance of Eve in creation because God assisted him in searching for a help mate from among the animals. Adam has knowledge of a personal relation with God unlike Eve because of the work he did with God naming all of the animals and his regular and personal “walks” with God.

          Eve on the other hand has no solitary experience with God. She experiences God either through Adam’s re-teaching, re-telling, or his behavior from Adam’s personal one on one knowledge. And she experiences God in the family setting with Adam by her side when God gave them both the instructions for life. Unlike Adam, she realizes her purpose in life not through her own individual work but by complimenting Adam in his work.

          And we could go on and on. This teaching style of God is as I said repeated again and again throughout history.

          • naaria says:

            Again, you seem to use some of my points later as your points & then present it as if I disagreed with that point. Or say that I believe something when I don’t believe that thing. Maybe I am wrong and you were addressing the general audience and not me directly. Some things you write, few could disagree with unless carried to extremes. You use the word “fix” so often, one might think God created a “lemon”. Or else, God likes being a “mechanic”. Teaching & developing might be better terms at times.

            Something to consider is that comparisons can lead us to see correlations, but correlations are not the same as similarities or causes. Patterns may mean something or they may not. The number seven is a combo of the “holy” number 3 and the “earthly” number 4 (e.g., 4 winds or 4 directions or “corners of the world”). We see in Genesis 1, that there are 7 “goods” on the first 7 days. On 2 days “good” is not mentioned, but the adjacent day has 2 “goods”. Day 2 carries over to day 3 because they both deal with the waters. Darkness & water are both primal, primordial; both were there on earth on or before Day 1. God doesn’t need light, but it is good because we could use it. Don’t think God just happened to discover light on Day 1. Some patterns are deliberate, some aren’t.

            Remember, in Gen 2: Adam meant the man, Mankind, and the woman before the woman was named Eve. And in Gen 1:27-29,(shortened) “And God created man in His image… male and female He created THEM. God blessed THEM and God said to THEM,”Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; rule over all the living things….” God said,”See, I give you every seed- bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed- bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.”. Don’t separate Chap 1&2 too far. In Chap 1, the humans have “dominion or rule”. In Chap 2, the Hebrew word used means “serve” or dependence upon the Master.

            Don’t get carried away with certain ideas, because you might miss the “real story”. For instance, although separation out (like the Pharisees) is a Jewish and Israelite theme, Abram wasn’t or didn’t separate out from the rest of humanity. He left one place for another where people were pretty much the same or worse, in fact right near Sodom & Gomorrah. He was in the land 60 (?) years, but still considered himself an immigrant or resident alien in the land.

          • David says:

            At some point you have to ask yourself why you try so hard to down play or nullify Genesis prior to Abraham. Unfortunately for your theology you’re stuck with it.

          • naaria says:

            David: You said, “At some point you have to ask yourself why you try so hard to down play or nullify Genesis prior to Abraham. Unfortunately for your theology you’re stuck with it.”.

            I don’t understand your logic at all. I wrote several pages about Genesis Chap 1-3 on this blog article, because I love early Genesis so much. I only mentioned Abraham once because you did, and that just to correct your mistake. I love early Genesis probably more than later Genesis, because it is so poetic & symbolic, so rich & deep, so revolutionary. It was a radical departure from the pagan world surrounding the Israel of Old. And I don’t want it to be used to support pagan ideas that should have died out long ago.

            Everything I said about Genesis can be supported by both Jewish & Christian study bibles or excellent books that deal strictly with Genesis, like Nahum Sarna’s book “Understanding Genesis” or articles on early Genesis on websites like aish.com, mesora.org (which was also helpful on discussions of Job), & others. Just study the text itself without trying to prove your modern Christian idea about satan. It seems each time, I mention a literal translation of the Hebrew words in some text, it irks you, because it tends to undercut your own interpretations. But it is the text itself that does that; I am a messenger, not the author of the Biblical text. What I am stuck with is my bias that was formed by decades of Christian teachings & preachings. I heard your superficial reading of OT texts quite often.

            I hear a trace of anger in your words, so maybe your eyes are beginning to be opened.

    • David says:

      You erroneously conclude that because God is above all there is no adversity in life. God didn’t conquer evil or adversity whether it be from humans, spirits, or God himself, because He has always been above all and, still is above all whether it be good or evil or from humans or spirits so there is no need to conquer or reconquer what has always been, is now, and will always be under God’s control.

      Man is in control delegated by and under God only because that is the order which God established. That was established from the beginning. God commands that man rule. But God did promise animosity in general in Genesis 3:15 (that started with Cain and Able) and an engagement to battle which began with Jesus.
      Question: Why does God humble and test us with adversity?
      Answer: To do good in the end.
      Citation: Deuteronomy 8:16
      Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
      16 who fed you in the desert with man, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end —

      REMEMBER JOB?
      Don’t forget, the adversary meant it for bad but God meant it for Good. Job 2:7
      Then the Adversary went out from the presence of ADONAI and struck Iyov down with horrible infected sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

      Here are some additional citations out of the Complete Jewish Bible regarding adversaries, accusers, and spirits, with the purpose revealed by context, sometimes evil, sometimes good (including that from God, angels, and human) to pick just a few out of probably hundreds:
      1 Kings 11:14
      Then ADONAI raised up an adversary against Shlomo, Hadad the Edomi, of the royal line of Edom.
      1 Kings 11:23
      God raised up another adversary against Shlomo, Rezon the son of Elyada, who had fled from his lord Hadad‘ezer king of Tzovah
      Job 1:6
      It happened one day that the sons of God came to serve ADONAI, and among them came the Adversary .
      Job 2:6
      ADONAI said to the Adversary, “Here! He is in your hands, except
      1 Chronicles 21:1
      The Adversary now rose up against Isra’el and incited David to take a census of Isra’el.
      Zechariah 3:2
      ADONAI said to the Accuser, “May ADONAI rebuke you, Accuser! Indeed, may ADONAI, who has made Yerushalayim his choice, rebuke you! Isn’t this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
      Psalm 109:6
      [They say,] “Appoint a wicked man over him, may an accuser stand at his right.
      Psalm 109:20
      This is what my adversaries want ADONAI to do, those who speak evil against me.
      Nehemiah 9:27
      So you handed them over to the power of their adversaries, who oppressed them. Yet in the time of their trouble, when they cried out to you, you heard from heaven, and in keeping with your great compassion, you gave them saviors to save them from the power of their adversaries.

      And, here are some citations regarding spirit in terms of attitude and actual spirit(s) relating to God, spirits or angels, and man, and even animals.

      1. 1 Samuel 16:14
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      Now the Spirit of ADONAI had left Sha’ul; instead, an evil spirit from ADONAI would suddenly come over him.
      2. 1 Kings 22:21
      Complete Jewish Bible
      Then a spirit stepped up, stood in front of ADONAI and said, ‘I will entice him.’
      3. 1 Kings 22:22
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      ADONAI asked, ‘How?’ and he answered, ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.’ ADONAI said, ‘You will succeed in enticing him. Go, and do it.’
      o
      4. Leviticus 20:6
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      “‘The person who turns to spirit-mediums and sorcerers to go fornicating after them — I will set myself against him and cut him off from his people.
      5. 1 Samuel 28:9
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      The woman answered, “Here, you know what Sha’ul did, how he expelled from the land those who tell the future by communicating with the dead or with a demonic spirit. Why are you trying to entrap me into causing my own death?”
      6. 2 Kings 21:6

      Complete Jewish Bible
      He made his son pass through the fire [as a sacrifice]. He practiced soothsaying and divination and appointed mediums and persons who used spirit guides. He did much that was evil from ADONAI’s perspective, thus provoking him to anger.
      7. 2 Kings 19:7
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      I will put a spirit in him that will make him hear a rumor and return to his own land; then I will cause him to die by the sword in his own land.’”
      o
      8. Ezekiel 2:2
      o Complete Jewish Bible
      As he spoke to me, a spirit entered me and put me on my feet, and I heard him who was speaking to me.
      9. . Ecclesiastes 3:21
      Complete Jewish Bible
      Who knows if the spirit of a human being goes upward and the spirit of an animal goes downward into the earth?”
      1 Chronicles 10:13
      Complete Jewish Bible
      So Sha’ul died for the transgression he committed against ADONAI, because of the word of ADONAI that he did not keep and because he sought the counsel of a spirit
      Nehemiah 9:30
      Complete Jewish Bible
      Many years you extended them mercy and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets; yet they would not listen. Therefore you handed them over to the peoples of the lands.
      o

      • naaria says:

        David:  Once again you have shown that your reading comprehension is quite poor.  Nowhere did I “conclude” or even hint that “because God is above all there is no adversity in life”.  In fact, I listed counts of the number of instances in my Bible where words like “adversary”, “accuser”, or “slanderer” (English translation of the Greek translation of the Hebrew “satan” or accuser or adversary) were used and the absence of the word “devil” (the later Christianized version of “ha-satan”, which is a distortion of the Hebrew concept of “satan” and which has greater similarities to Canaanite or other pagan, polytheistic “evil spirits” or “powers”).   I also mentioned that were “innumerable” instances of the words “wicked” or “evil”, and explanations of the cause of the evil or the remedies for sin, in the Hebrew Bible.  Perhaps I did not emphasize that some occurrences of “evil spirits, such as sorcerers, witches, etc” were the beliefs of some Israelites who turned from God, to practice the beliefs of their pagan neighbors.  Just because many people believed, & some still do, in idols, gods in the flesh, demons, a devil, witches, etc. doesn’t mean that those beings existed, nor that we should include them in our theology, our concept of heaven or God.  I quoted or mentioned some of the same verses you use.  I counted those verses and examined them and used some of them as arguments against your concept of satan, a devil, or evil spirits or forces.  I mentioned that most of the instances of “satan” outside of Job, were for humans (and not for some type of “super-natural” being) & I explained (but apparently poorly so) some more controversial verses (David’s census & Zechariah 3:2).   I even mentioned that it was God that had sent some of those adversaries or “serpents”.  So you “brought nothing new to the table”.  You even helped some of my arguments.  The “devil” even had power over Jesus (at least during the “temptations”) & John used the symbol of a serpent for Jesus (Lucifer was used as a symbol of satan & then some NT author or editor symbolizes Jesus as Lucifer).  I know, I know – bad translations & interpretations.  I use them as a lesson, whereas you base your theology on some bad translations & mis-interpretations.  

        Complete Jewish Bible?  My pastor introduced us to it in our church & used it quite a bit a few years ago (BTW, I am not a Jew nor “Jewish”).  It is not a “Jewish Bible”; it is largely a Christian paraphrase of the American Standard Version (or directly through the JPS 1917, which was based on the Christian ASV & RV).  The CJB is strongly biased & inaccurate, so I would recommend several other more literal Tanach’s or Torahs and several much better Christian Old Testaments. 

        Job is poetic fiction, a parable, conceived for the purpose of explaining the different opinions which people hold on Divine Providence. No author is given, there was no mention of a prophet’s dream or vision, no one who overheard a conversation between God & his “prosecuting attorney”.  God didn’t explain it to Job.  No one has been able to determine when and where Job lived or even when the parable was first taught or who taught it (in the time of Abraham or 1000+ years later in the Babylonian exile?).   That doesn’t really matter.  Job is more than a “battle” between God and a created, minor spirit (a character only really appearing in the first 2 chapters, totally irrelevant to any of the other human characters, a diversion, or actually irrelevant to the story); that is the elementary school view of the story.  Job is a college course in philosophy or theology.  One needs to consider all of Job (in context with ALL of the Tanach) to understand its main messages.   Many different ideas about God and the nature of man’s relation to God are discussed & some are dismissed (including some ideas that some people hold dear and as basic). 

        Where is the land of Uz?  Uz was a name of a person in Gen 22 (but no connection to this story).  But, as the imperative of the verb, Uz means “to take advice” or “uzu”, to “take counsel”.  There are several who give “advice”, so compare what they say & learn the right lessons well.  Different people react to different situations (or tests) differently.  One key is that Job is clearly defined as “righteous and upright and blameless and has integrity”.  He is not introduced as an intelligent man nor as a wise man.  His initial response to his problems is what is called the “gam zoo letova” philosophy (“this too is for the good”).  You will hear that a lot in churches when they quote Romans 8:28 (We know that all things work together for good for those who love God….).  That idea quickly fails for Job, but he hangs on to hear if his friends can give him something more to go on. 

        Job also first strongly believed in God’s providence over, protection of individuals (Hashgacha Pratiyot), but he began to reject that in favor of general providence (Hashgacha Klaliyot).  As far as the idea of “testing” or “tempting by the adversary”, many Rabbis believe “satan” is not real, it really is our own desires, our own will.  The NT teaches that as well, as we see in Yaakov or James 1:13-14;  “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;  14 but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

        • David says:

          Your understanding of the case of Job is a good example of your defective reasoning.

          You take the short view. God takes the long view. Try reading the bible anew with that understanding.

          “You will hear that a lot in churches when they quote Romans 8:28 (We know that all things work together for good for those who love God….). That idea quickly fails for Job”

          • naaria says:

            One of the definitions of “defective” is incomplete & ,yes, I am still learning.  But God is One & God is Eternal, and there is nothing short-term about that view.  Job does come to an “inconclusive conclusion”, after Job became as nothing & surrendered (half-heartedly).  Traditionally, people see the “happily ever after”, “fairy-tale” ending and are pleased that it “all worked out in the end”. Job got blessed “more” than before.  “Double for his trouble” we preach.  Bubbles can be easily burst. The “gam zoo letova” (this too is for the good) philosophy failed Job earlier & failed him again in the end. Let’s use an extreme version of “ALL things work together for good”: “World War II ended in peace, so WW2 was worth it”.  “Millions died in ha-Shoah & more millions of non-Jews died in WW2, but for some who loved God, a nation of Israel came about a few years later, so it all worked out for good”.   That is a perverse way of thinking about the suffering or about the evil of some people (don’t blame no devil).  It is hard to justify some ambiguous or unknown “long-term” value for such “long-term suffering” & immeasurable costs.  That theory makes it seem that suffering (on earth) is a good thing.  And the Blessed are really the cursed.  But there are better theories out there without all the difficulties & absurdities & contradictions. 

            The simplistic or superficial reading of the book of Job (one simple view is to read it as literal history) not only obscures it’s deeper, more sophisticated, more spiritual meanings, but it can cause us major theological problems.  The New Interpreter’s Study Bible has this to say about the simplistic “bad vs. good” interpretation of Job: 

            “The affliction of innocents is the result of a heavenly experiment intended to prove God right and ha’satan wrong. Job is merely a pawn in a cosmic game of chicken. Such an understanding of divine behavior flies in the face of all other testimonies of the OT. Not only does this scenario debunk the simplistic notions of “you reap what you sow,” but it also opposes Israel’s notion of a compassionate God who does not want to see anyone suffer.”

            One of the 1st ideas or positions in Job, is that true suffering is unrelated to what people may have done or failed to do (may include temptation or attack by external malignant spirits).  And then those who believe that all suffering is (or appears to be) deserved, it can lead to either falsifying the character of the sufferer (You sinned Job) or of God (Job says God is unjust). The inconclusive conclusion is that there is no way of understanding or comprehending the meaning of suffering. 

            Job is the most difficult book in the Bible to understand, because of it’s many complicated arguments, it’s poetic nature and ambiguity, and it’s large number of words used nowhere else in the Bible.  Translators & commentators often totally disagree on the correct interpretation of a word or  phrase.  The writing is in different styles and parts have different themes.  Some speeches are missing and some appeared to be added later.  There is no scholarly consensus on parts of it.  But this is not a bible study course, so I will stay away from the “defective” parts. 

            God never answers Job’s questions.  And Job never admits he was wrong to question “God’s injustice” (in this case).  In v.42.6, the usual reading is that “he confesses his sins”.  But actually he only feigns submission and does anything but confess.  The actual, literal Hebrew words mean “I hate or I reject” and “I rue or regret”, and so the verse can be read as “I regret and reject dust & ashes”.  There is no direct object, so what really does Job despise?  Job is not sorry for confronting God, he knows he will not get the apology from God that he wants.  In v7., God does admit that Job was correct in his accusations against God.  

            Some say the ending of the book should not be seen as a “reward”, but simply as an end of the test in Chapter 1.  Job’s restoration to his earlier status quo.  He is materially blessed, but the 7 lost sons & 3 daughters can not be truly replaced with 10 new ones. Notice that the 3 daughters are named, they are beautiful,  & they get inheritances just like the sons.  Highly unusual, but important to the story., or ?   Job gets more things, but it appears like God is atoning for mistreating Job, sort of like modern courts may award “damages” to victims in civil cases to ease their pain.  But some losses can not be so compensated.  Job’s family & friends now come to bring him gifts and to comfort him, but where were they before his wealth was being restored.  Sunshine friends.  (God was angry at Job’s 3 old friends, but why, since their real sin or failure was in not comforting Job.  They were better silent).  The happy ending is a way of saying that although Job appears to be appeased, he merely surrendered and  he never really recovered from his tribulation.  The material blessings are outward “glitter”.  With some traditional views, God comes off as a villain.  But, there are other defective interpretations where God is the Hero, maybe a teacher, and Job is a student.  God is an observer and the battle or challenge Job is waging inside himself (see Maimonides for a rational interpretation). 

          • David says:

            There is a recurrent “cherry picking” theme throughout which you base your theology on; a pattern of yours which I first noted in Genesis. Anything which goes against your predetermined view is altered, twisted, or outright discarded and nullified. When you venture off into fantasy land I usually don’t get past the first few lines.

            “Job does come to an “inconclusive conclusion”, after Job became as nothing & surrendered (half-heartedly).”

            Maybe the following will help in keeping the story straight in your mind. Job 1 is the beginning and Job 42 is the conclusion. The conclusion supports the beginning.

            Job 1 is the beginning:
            “Did you notice my servant Iyov, that there’s no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil?”
            Job 42 is the conclusion:
            “My anger is blazing against you and your two friends, because, unlike my servant Iyov, you have not spoken rightly about me. ..”
            “When Iyov prayed for his friends, ADONAI restored his fortunes; ADONAI gave Iyov twice as much as he had had before. …”

            “After this, Iyov lived 140 years, long enough to see his sons and grandsons, four generations. 17 Then, old and full of days, Iyov died.”

  31. David
    You seem to place your “interpretation” of Scripture above Scripture itself – the law of Moses is permanent – it is not a “fix” – Deuteronomy 30:10; Ezekiel 37:24

    • David says:

      That was poor wording on my part. Think of it more as a series of steps in a permanent plan which began in the Garden by God after man’s violation of God’s command. Each step (or fix) is necessary and is implemented by God at the appropriate time. The objective is to return mankind to the Garden state. For the most part it is a series of additions with the “intent” of the previous step or fix incorporated into the next step in the plan but that not necessarily is each individual part of the previous step maintained.

      As you know the law is summed up in one or two commands.

      My point is in agreement with your references.

      Is David still alive? If we read the references your way he should still be alive.

  32. naaria says:

    David on July 17, 2012: You wrote, “There is a recurrent “cherry picking” theme throughout which you base your theology on….”, etc. Be cautious of your frustration, for vain attempts at insults or sarcasm doesn’t phase me and it only makes you look foolish. I understand where you are coming from, you may have been taught certain lessons for so long or you take too much pride in the theology that you are developing. You know that I am not writing a book here, so like you, I am limited in what material that I can present. As I stated (you acknowledge that you did not read or read well what I wrote), Job is THE most difficult book in the Bible to understand. We could write pages just on what one paragraph may or may not mean.

    You know that I touched on several areas of the book of Job, in particular the 1st few chapters and the last few- the prologue & epilogue. What you presented was the typical summary or the traditional Christian understanding of Job. What I tried to present (as a non-Jew) was a more Jewish understanding of Job, based on my readings on website (in particular that on mesora.org) and the NJPS Jewish Study Bible and other commentary, but including a couple of Christian study bibles. I intentionally presented some verses or parts of speeches, that you ignored. I presented some translations of some Hebrew words to show you a more literal interpretation of Job. I didn’t write those words in Job, but to ignore them is deceit. It would be to “close my ears & shut my eyes to God’s Word. Sorry, if I presented you with information that you may wish was fantasy. I also clearly stated that some other words or phases could be interpreted differently by different translators or commentators. I stated I would not bring those up, because I might show a bias for one over the other. I don’t know you so what you believe matters little to me. But I was had hoped that your mind would be open to more of Job than just the usual, superficial reading of it.

    • David says:

      You spend your efforts regurgitating the party line of anti-Christian hate writing which is the focal point of this blog and other hate outlets.

      I have demonstrated that you have little to no original thought of your own. Probably it is because you accept all of the anti-Christian bias handed to you that you find yourself in a predicament when trying to answer my challenges to you. Your only recourse is to jump through theological unsupportable contortions of scripture.

      This I proved by demonstrating your lack of understanding of Job and Genesis.

      Have you had an original thought which you can point to which wasn’t placed in your head through your biased reading or some other source such as this blog? Can you demonstrate that you can put two things together in scripture and come up with your own idea? Or are you just consumed with trying tear others down?

      Judaism didn’t just appear out of nowhere; no matter how hard you wish it were so. There was God’s plan and his process in place before Judaism which continues to this day. People do evil things as a result of their own evil intent apart from the will of God, although you’d like to believe that nothing is evil and that man’s free will is always in conformance with God’s will. The Accuser, you claim has no free will to do evil apart from God. Yet God states otherwise; the accuser has a free will and opposes God. God says so in Job “you did not speak right of me”.

      Does God punish those who do his will and reward those who oppose him?

      Go check with your Jewish arbitrators on that while you’re thinking up an original thought.

      • naaria says:

        David, I forgive you.  But I suggest that you examine your heart.   Perhaps you have been exposed to too many “anti-Jewish, anti-Judaism” “Christian hate” writings.  You have no idea of who I am or what I believe.  I am not a Jew, I was raised a Christian & my family and nearly every single person that I know, is a Christian.  I don’t hate any of them, nor myself, nor anyone else.  I am not here to promote my own beliefs, but I can truly say that I have more “original thoughts” than you.  It seems you find fault with originality when it disagrees with yours.  I do seek support or inspiration from both Jews & Christians, to back up my arguments, so that they are firmly grounded, especially when I discuss the meaning of words & phrases in scripture. When one quotes scripture, “original thoughts” are not appropriate; those can be attempts to re-write God’s word so that they agree with your thought.  

        Although, I am a “systems thinker” who enjoys “the big picture view” and although I might contrast Genesis with Job, or I might quote the NT to backup my point in the OT, you said that I couldn’t take ideas from 2 different places & bring them together into 1 idea.  Probably, what upsets you is not that I have this supposed inability, but that my points may too effectively nullify yours.  You may be too prideful about your beliefs.  Be humble & be willing to learn or relearn; search for your weaknesses by being less defensive and less offensive.   When I said things like “you brought nothing new to the table” for discussion, or you gave “the traditional view”, or “you gave the simplistic, superficial reading”, you seem to have taken that as a personal insult that “your original thoughts” aren’t original.  I apologize.  But really, not only have I heard most of your arguments before, I used them myself in the past & found the weaknesses in them.  Sorry, but you offered no real challenges, especially since I was not putting forth my theology nor defending my personal beliefs.  I was quoting scriptures, (that some might like to erase from the bible or to “paraphrase away”), to counter what I considered your “cherry-picked” verses.  You might make a statement based on your “reading” of Gen. 2 or 3, so I gave you Gen 1:27-29 which counters some of your thesis.  You make it seem that it was unfair for me to use scripture to counter your “interpretations”.  Instead of being challenged, I was more intrigued as to how you were going to put aside history and literal meaning often text in order to treat later Christian ideas as early Hebrew ideas.  How does one keep “major theological ideas” hidden for 100’s of years, while that scripture teaches against some of those ideas?  I am not “tearing down others”, you are just helping to promote the idea that my arguments were too hard hitting.  You might call that another fantasy of mine, but why should you be so upset?  If your ego was incited, why “prod me on” with attempts at personal insult?  Do you want that mean spirit to be seen as Christ-like behavior?

        You seem confused in your last post; it is a series of contradictory positions.  For example, if I present the works of others you believe that those ideas to be my “wishes” & my “fantasies”.  Supposedly, I have “fantasies”, yet I have no “original thoughts”.  I “regurgitate” what others say, yet I “jump through theological unsupportable contortions of scripture” while I’m quoting, summarizing, or being supported by both Jewish & Christian translators & scholars?  I “lack understanding of Job and Genesis” because I’m quoting Genesis & Job which means I have no “original thoughts” and at the same time I’m ignoring or wishing away Genesis & Job?  

        Where did you get the idea that I believed “Judaism appeared out of nowhere”, while I state that the Hebrew bible was influenced by, but also a rejection of, the pagan beliefs of Israel’s neighbors?  Do you believe that God is from “nowhere”?  Where did I ever say God “had no plan or process in place either before or after Judaism”???  Quite the opposite, you just have not “sold” me on “your” contorted version of that plan (nor could you, when there are numerous better alternatives).  Your line of reasoning suggests that maybe Mohammed was a “fix” for Jesus, because Egypt, a  birthplace of Christianity, became a predominately Moslem country and “Asia Minor” which was “Paul’s country” likewise was lead by “men of God” to advance God’s next step in his Plan.  The next “fix” is a Mormon US President who some want to replace one who some ignorantly call a “Islamic President” who was a “fix” for an Evangelical Christian?  Or new “menus”, because God’s original, eternal one was declared by men to be not good enough? 

        Where did I ever say there was no evil or bad???   I just showed where you failed to show a clear and consistent understanding of human nature. There just are some better alternatives to explain it than the pagan, polytheistic “devil” idea.   You appear not be able to read the OT without certain NT prejudices.  The NT came several hundreds of years after the last of the OT was written.  If the NT message was in the OT, the NT is redundant and unnecessary.  Where did you get the idea that I didn’t believe that “people do evil things as a result of their own evil intent apart from the will of God”???   If they have an evil intent, they don’t need a devil.  But Man ALSO has a good & Godly intent & people can do righteous things.   Where do you get the idea that I “believe that nothing is evil” while at the same time I gave a count of words such as “accuser”, “adversary”, “slanderer”, and said that there are “innumerable instances” of the word wicked or evil in the Hebrew Bible”?  Maybe you think I am an angel in heaven?  No, this is not a world of either “all is evil” or else “nothing exists”. “Evil” is a very extreme condition and rare, except in some people’s minds who are far from God.  Where did I say “man’s free will is always in conformance with God’s will”???  But God said Man can be righteous & Man can be Holy as God is Holy.  Argue with God if you have a problem with that, not me. 

        Back to Job 42.   One need not go to “Jewish arbitrators”, if you first go to a several good literal translations.  I checked out 3 popular Christian ones that I usually don’t go to.  In some places they all agree, in others they disagree quite a bit, mainly in the first 6 verses were only Job speaks or both God & Job speak.  First thing they all agree on is that God can do ALL things & nothing can thwart God’s plan (no man, no satan).  But “speaking” can obscure God’s plan?   God does not have to act or intervene & not acting is not approval.  It implies God needs no intermediaries and we can “fix the world” (Tikun Olam), because we do serve & we do have dominion.  Job knew God could do all things & so Job surrendered & relented, because he was “just ashes” and “despised himself”.   He was “nothing” and nothing was owed him by God.  God did not have to “make it right”.  He was truly humbled, which is inward but also emulated & shown outwardly.  Humbled, but not broken.  Job’s questions weren’t answered, but Job was also not “punished” when he considered God was unjust.  He “sinned” when he “spoke of things he did not understand.” 

        Who do you call the “accuser”?   The ones “who did not speak right” did no evil but failed as leaders to comfort & console Job.  To “not speak right about God” is not the same thing as lying or cursing, either intentionally or otherwise.  All versions I checked, had God calling their action “folly”, not evil and not sin.  Folly & “not speaking right” is a “sin of omission”, not a “sin of commission”.  They were not punished (“spoken to” & brought a “communal sacrifice” (this is not in Israel) & Job would pray for them not to be dealt with because of their “folly”.  None of the 3 men were accused of “opposing God”, it was Job who had believed “God was unjust”; Job who relented.  So Job did think that God “punished the righteous”?  And continued to think so?  All versions had Job’s family & community comforting & consoling Job “over the trouble God brought over Job”.  Not any evil spirit, but as his friends thought earlier, maybe Job brought this trouble on himself.  Job did not correct them, if they had said anything further to him about it. 

      • naaria says:

        Another thing to consider about Job 42 (& the happily ever after ending) is: why does a man who spoke & “seen” God have to be comforted by family & friends? Consoled by mere humans?

  33. David
    Where did you find “hate” on this blog?

  34. Pingback: Daniel 7 and Acceptance of Scripture – an Open Letter to Bru | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

  35. Pingback: Study Notes and References | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

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