Thursday, December 19, 2019

InspiringPhilosophy's videos on Genesis and the Passion Week.

I respect IP a great deal and he's done many videos I like, it is not my intention to hostile at any point in this.

Genesis first.

He is making these videos largely to opposite Young Earth Creationism, so in that way we are at odds.  But he also makes arguments on some issues I feel very inclined to agree with.

Ben S I also have in mind in this post, he and IP have different views on the Nephilim but besides that they seem to be coming from the same place.  I haven't dug into the details of Peter Hiett's interpretation of Genesis yet.

I don't want to go in-depth on everything, as much of it relates to things I've talked about before. I just have a few particular comments to me.

I believe he was correct to argue that Adam was forbidden to eat the fruit only until he was ready for it.  But to me that should have gone hand in hand with arguing that the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge are actually the same tree.  The entire basis for the "doctrine" that Pre-Fall Adam needed to eat from the Tree of Life to be important is a comment made at the end of Genesis 3 about Adam in his post-fall state.

On the creation of Eve, I also agree that "rib" should be translated "side" and that the picture here is of Adam being split in half.  However he argues that this is merely a vision because God putting someone in a deep sleep always means that, and then cites Genesis 15 as if no one would disagree that God's covenant cutting ritual was a mere vision there.  But I do disagree with that, I believe God walked in a figure eight at Shechem and that is why Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal look the way they do.  Genesis 1 and 5 tell us Adam was created Male and Female, what we call the creation of Woman was really Adam being literally split in two.

On the argument about what The Serpent is I mostly agree.  But the one difference is no the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:1 and 14 does not justify saying the Serpent wasn't a "beast of the field" and a Behemah, it was.  The thing is I believe all the beasts and fowls created in Genesis 2:18-19 are angelic beings who were sapient enough to be potential mates for Adam, and only Genesis 1 records the creation of normal animals.

IP's Nephilim argument is for the royal bloodlines view.  I hold what is technically a from of the Sethite view, unfortunately IP talked about that view the least trying to write it off with two bad arguments based on a strawman understanding of it, the point is not about bloodlines but about Sons of God being Believers.  My post on the subject is partly devoted to undoing that false understanding.

Now his argument overlaps with mine in some ways when it comes to arguing that the Sons of God can be Human beings.  But I actually disagree with conceding Sons of God ever means Angels, especially not Psalm 82 which Jesus quotes as being about the Israelites.

He criticized the Hybrid view for being so dependent on later material, yet he too depends a lot on extra-Biblical material to support Sons of God meaning Kings.  I show how my view fits the meta narrative of Genesis being about the escalation of violence.

His Meta Narrative for Genesis makes it so he thinks the main Sin in view here is Polygamy.  I have utterly destroyed the notion that The Bible is anti Polygamy in any Testament.

And that's as far as he is at this point.  I may do a follow up in response to future videos.

In his answering Bible Contradictions series, he on a number of occasions takes routes different then what I would and that's fine. The problem is when it comes to ones relating to the chronology of the Passion Week.  He is acting as if the Crucifixion being Friday is the most undisputed detail of the Chronology, and those who think Jesus spent more time in the Grave then the traditional Passion week observance implies are moving the Resurrection to Monday or later, when I've never seen anyone argue that and I investigate these matters a lot, the day of Crucifixion is what's disputed, most commonly are arguments for Wednesday and Thursday.  The only people are trying to move the Resurrection are those wanting to movie it up to the Sabbath who I have a few posts on my other blog.

As someone who has been for most of my online activity a Thursday Crucifixion proponent (but I have been open mindedly looking into other chronologies recently), I agree that the inclusive numbering is a valid interpretation which is part of why I have generally rejected the Wednesday model.  But his desire to weasel out of three days and three nights is simply nonsense.

The Resurrection is placed on the "third day" many times, but the Crucifixion is never called the "first day".  I believe the Resurrection was on the Third Day of Unleavened Bread, the 17th of Aviv.

The Crucifixion is seemingly described as the day before (or preparation day of) the Sabbath a few times.  However the Sabbath in question is the 15th of Aviv not the weekly Sabbath.  Leviticus 23 describes the 15th as a day that is like the Sabbath in that doing labor was forbidden.  Leviticus 23 doesn't use the word Sabbath for that day, but when talking about the seventh month it does do so for it's non weekly days you can't work.  When discussing the first month it avoids that only so there is no confusion that the weekly Sabbath is the one relevant for determining Fristfurits and Pentecost.  We know the Sabbath approaching when Jesus died was a Holy Day not a regular weekly Sabbath because John 19:31 explicitly calls it a High Day.

And not even every Gospel explicitly calls the day after the Crucifixion a Sabbath, Matthew never does, Matthew only calls the night before the Resurrection the Sabbath in 28:1, and calls the day of the Crucifixion the Preparation in 27:62 but never uses the word Sabbath in chapters 26 or 27.  Matthew is the most Jewish Gospel, the one some sources say was originally written in Hebrew.  So it makes sense he would use these terms more strictly and correctly to Torah terminology then other writers.  I believe in all four Gospels Preparation day means the 14th of Nisan not Friday.

Mark 16:1 is misused by Wednesday proponents to say the Women purchased the spices after the Sabbath creating apparent conflict with Luke 23:56.  But this is false, Mark 16 is only referring to them having brought these spices previously.   Luke 23 is clearly making it still the same day they Buried Jesus that they prepared the Spices.

IP's second video on Passion Week chronology is about if the Last Supper was the Passover Seder.  The Last Supper being the Seder is the casual popular misconception, but every scholar who actually cares about how Jesus fulfills the meaning of Passover knows the answer to this alleged contraction needs to be that Jesus is the Lamb and so is killed when the Lamb is killed.

The idea that the Synoptics make the Last Super the Passover Seder is based one statements recorded in Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12 and Luke 22:7, and then another Quote that's only in Luke I'll get to later.
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
If these verses are translated correctly then they are a problem no matter what chronology you support because they make it sound like the Passover is killed during the days of Unleavened Bread.  The Passover is killed during the daylight hours (Between the evenings in the YLT) of the 14th.  Fact is there is no coherent chronology where eating the Seder is yet future but it's already during Unleavened Bread.

In at least Matthew the word Day isn't used in the Greek, and the word translated "first" can also mean "before".  I don't know exactly how to translate these verses, but I think they are saying that Unleavened Bread is approaching since everyone knows they come after the Passover is killed.  And the beginnings of both Matthew 26 and Mart 14 place these events 2 days Passover and Unleavened Bread.

The Disciples make these arrangements two days before, but then Matthew 26:20 and Mark 14:17 make the Last Supper that very next evening.

The only verse that even comes close to directly describing the Last Supper as Passover is Luke 22:15-16.  And we have another translation issue, because some add the word "again" to verse 16 when that's not in the Greek, or the KJV or the YLT.  In this quote Jesus says he desired to eat the Passover with His Disciples before He suffered, but he's saying that to lament the fact that He won't.

John 18:28 is using the word Passover not of a holiday but of the Lamb itself to be eaten.  Even in the looser terminology they might have been using in the first century AD that was still only ever done in reference to the Lamb killed during the daylight hours of the 14th.  And I believe 19:14 is doing the same, this is happening as they are preparing the Passover Lambs for slaughter just as Jesus is being prepared for slaughter.  John called Jesus the Lamb of God all the way back in the first chapter.  This is also why it's stressed that none of the bones were broken.

1 Corinthians 5:7 says Jesus is our Passover Sacrificed for us.

What was the Last Supper if it  wasn't The Seder?

Well I feel the main Hebrew Bible precedent for it is Genesis 14 not Exodus 12, with Jesus as Melchizedek and the Disciples(us) as Abraham.

Extra Biblical ideas suggested include it being a Seudat Mitzvah of some kind likely a Seudat Siyum Masechet, or a "Teaching Seder".

The "Teaching Seder" I have had trouble finding verification is a thing independent of Christians talking about this issue.  But the concept is basically like doing a rehearsal dinner for a wedding the night before the actual dinner.  And frankly that actually fits best with what actually happens at the Last Supper.  When Jesus says "do this in remembrance of me" in Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, He's giving them instructions for the Seder they will have the following night when He's gone.  Which is why it's still valid for Christians to read the Last Supper account when we have a Christian Passover Sedar.

So I think the earliest Christians were doing the Eucharist on Thursday night proceeding Resurrection Sunday for that reason, and in time the tradition simply got confused.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Mono Mia

Three times in the Pastoral Epistles Paul makes a comment about Overseers (Bishops) and Deacons being the "Husband of One Wife", or in some more literal translations "of one wife a husband".  1 Timothy 3:2-12 and Titus 1:6.

When Protestants are attacking the Catholic Priestly Celibacy doctrine they quote these verses as if no less then one is the point.  But then when trying to claim the Bible teaches strict Monogamy will argue the point is no more then one.  Either of those applications would be a lot more plausible to me if the Greek word used was Mono, but instead the word used is Mia.

The Oriental Orthodox Church (which includes the Coptic,Nubian, Ethiopian and Armenian Churches) is commonly accused of Monophysitism (believing Jesus had only one nature, usual Divine rather then Human) by Chalcedonians.  They however insist that they are instead Miaphysite because they believe Christ's Divine and Human natures are United.

They take this use of Mia and Physis from a quote of Cyril of Alexandria, but Cyril is also revered as a Saint by Chalcedonians who insist what Cyril said in that quote is perfectly compatible with the Chalcedonian Definition.  The Chalcedonian Definition itself is not really why the Oriental Orthodox reject Chalcedon, but rather Chalcedon's condemnation of Dioscorus.  I don't want to get into all that here, the point is the Greek word Mia while often translated "one" can refer to something there is more then one of.

I think the point in these three quotes in the Pastoral Epistles was the Unity between Husband and Wife.  But my point is that phrasing was never meant to rule out being untied with more then one wife.  BTW the Husband and Wife being One Flesh verses also use Mia.

Many people (Muslims, Unitarians, Modalists, JWs, some Jews and even Secularists) accuse Nicene Trinitarian Christianity of not being truly Monotheist.  And we typically feel compelled to defend the applicability of the term Monotheism to us.  But I have recently been asking, why?  Monotheism and Monotheist are NOT Biblical terms.

I've looked at every New Testament verse that says "One God" or that "God is One", or "One Lord" or "Lord is One".  And likewise none of them use Mono either but instead Heis.  Some material from my Trinity in the Hebrew Bible and the YT videos I linked to in it are worth remembering here.

Mono is used in the New Testament, in the KJV it partly because of context tends to get translated "Alone" or "Only" instead of simply One.  While it is used close to Theos in the text sometimes it's never directly used of how many of Theos there is or that we worship.

According to the Strongs Concordance, Mia is the "irregular feminine" form of Heis.  Now it's easy to guess why Paul used a feminine form when referring to wives.  But why did Cyril use a feminine form when referring to the Divine and Human natures of Christ?  Is it simply that Miaphysite rolls off the tong as a name for your Christology better then Heisphysite?  Or maybe it's because Cyril said this while he was engaging in the Theotokos controversy and wanted to stress that it was in the Womb of a Woman that Deity and Humanity were United?

But perhaps Cyril had some awareness of what I talked about in The God of The Bible is both Masculine and Feminine?

So this Trinitarian Christian feels prepared to suggest that maybe we should stop clinging to the title of Monotheist and instead claim we are Miatheists, we believe True God is Three Persons who are United in One Being (and arguably of the same Substance).


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Who are the "Many"?

The Greek word "Polus" is translated a lot of different ways in English Translations of the New Testament (even the same translation never translates it the same every time), but perhaps the most important uses of the word are certain key passages where the KJV and most others it seems render it "many".  I don't know if every "many" in English Bibles is this word, but I have verified it is for each verse that I shall single out below.

The way we use "many" in modern 21st Century English means a large number, but presumably you would never use it if you actually meant 100% of the what you're referring to, and it's not even necessarily the majority.

And that is why Calvanists will use this Last Supper quote from Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24 to try and support limited Atonement.
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Of course it used to be Calvinists admitted they had no direct Biblical support for Limited Atonement, that it was just based on "logical" deductions form other allegedly Biblical conclusions.  Another verse in Matthew using the same word for "many" they might cite is 20:28.

The problem is that the Greek word isn't used the way we modern English speakers usually use "many".

First, in particularly the verses where it's translated "many" the word has the Greek Definite Article before it, which sometimes English translations acknowledge by putting a "the" first but the KJV usually doesn't.  However that alone proves little because Greek and Hebrew use the definite article in a lot of places it wouldn't be appropriate to do so in English.

The real issue is that "Polus" is the root of the word "Polity", a more accurate translation of the word when used in these kinds of context would be "the Population" or "the Populous".  And some Biblical uses of the word where it gets translated "many" demonstrate this.  Like in Romans 5 where "many" is clearly used interchangeably with "all" in reference to those made Sinners in Adam and made righteous in Christ.

But to provide context for Matthew is that twice earlier in the Gospel Jesus said "For many are called, but few are chosen", in 20:16 and 22:14.  The latter is as the final point of the Parable of the Wedding Feast which starts at the beginning of chapter 22.  There is some disagreement on who exactly the "few" are in that parable, but there is no dispute that the "many" called is clearly absolutely everyone, even generally in Calvinist commentaries of that parable just to them it's somehow still only the Chosen who are saved.  I like Peter Hiett's sermon on the parable in question.

I'm not even gonna bother to repeat the usual verses I cite to refute Limited Atonement, just follow my Calvanism tag and you'll find them quoted a lot.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tarshish is Tarsus of Cilicia.

It has long been popular to argue for more exotic or distant identifications for Tarshish, including by myself in the past.  But Josephus said Tarshish was Tarsus, and this modern article backs up that identification convincingly.

Tarshish (Josephus' Tarsus Reconsidered)

There is one detail in that I can't agree with, and that's arguing for a late dating of Genesis based on pre Esarhaddon Assyrian Inscriptions rendering Tarsus was Tarzi.  It could be Tarzi was a mistaken Assyrian form corrected by later Assyrians who knew more directly what they called themselves, or the Tarzi inscriptions could be scribal errors.  There is no need to question the reliability of Genesis over this.

Identifying Tarshish with Tarsus also best fits the thesis of this post of mine from last year, (though in said post I also considered a Cretan identification).

Those are all very technical and scholarly reasons for that identification.  What I want to speculate on now is how it could theologically serve the Meta Narrative of The Bible to connect Old Testament Tarshish to New Testament Tarsus.

Like OT Tarshish it's never a location the narrative visits directly (same with Cilicia as a whole), the few times it seems like Acts is about to visit there it then skips forward.

NT Tarsus is only relevant for being the hometown of Paul.

We know from Extra Biblical sources that Tarsus of Cilicia was a port city associated with sea trade and thus with ships, but Biblcially the New Testament never directly mentions that.  However Paul does spend a lot of time on ships, some travel by ship was a part of all four missionary journeys, most famously his ship wreck on Malta.

Tarshish was a grandson of Japheth, but the name is also duplicated as a Benjamite in 1 Chronicles 7:10.  Paul who was a Benjamite can be viewed as playing a role in how the Genesis 9 eschatological relationship between Japheth and Shem was fulfilled.

A number of Prophecies also speak of Ships of Tarshish playing a role in how exiled Israelites are brought back to the promised land.  In some views that too is arguably fulfilled partly by the work of Paul.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 13:34-35 are an interesting saying of Jesus.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
First I want to address what might be an alleged contradiction in that these two Gospels have Jesus say this at different times in different places.  The basis for the Q Hypothesis are saying of Jesus that appear in Matthew and Luke but not Mark, where often the context is different.

It's actually normal that Jesus would have repeated himself.  This quote Jesus says earlier in Galilee according to Luke but later in Jerusalem in Matthew.  Naturally those in Jerusalem aren't guaranteed to have heard what he said in Galilee.

Now what really interests me is how this passage implies at least His Prexistence and probably His Divinity and yet it is overlooked when that issue is discussed.  Generally John's Gospel is where the theology of who Jesus is is gone into, while the Synoptics seem to just settle for making Him the Son of God.

But this quote is about Jesus reminiscing what He's been doing, it pretty much only makes sense if He's claiming to be YHWH.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Maybe "Medina" wasn't where we think it was either?

In my post on possible Nestorian origins for Islam I diverged a bit to discus the theory that "Mecca" was originally Petra, or some other location closer to the Israel.  I've noticed none of those get into the issue of Medina's role in the story much.

Madinah as it is in Arabic is said to be mentioned by name in the Qurran four times, Surah 9: 101, 120; 33: 60; 63: 8.  And in all for of them the name mentioned is Madinah not Yathrib.  Which is significant because Madinah is actually the Arabic word for City (the traditional Islamic narrative is that Muhmmad changed the name of Yathrib to Madinat Rasul Allah, The City of the Messenger of Allah).  I looked at all four verses and in each one simply translating Madinah as "The City" still allows the verse to make sense. 

I also mentioned in that prior post Sebeos being the oldest historical reference to Muhammad we have.  And looking at that account again I noticed something interesting.
Twelve peoples representing all the tribes of the Jews assembled at the city of Edessa. When they saw that the Persian troops had departed leaving the city in peace, they closed the gates and fortified themselves. They refused entry to troops of the Roman lordship. Thus Heraclius, emperor of the Byzantines, gave the order to besiege it. When the Jews realized that they could not militarily resist him, they promised to make peace. Opening the city gates, they went before him, and Heraclius ordered that they should go and stay in their own place. So they departed, taking the road through the desert to Tachkastan Arabia to the sons of Ishmael. The Jews called the Arabs to their aid and familiarized them with the relationship they had through the books of the Old Testament. Although the Arabs were convinced of their close relationship, they were unable to get a consensus from their multitude, for they were divided from each other by religion. In that period a certain one of them, a man of the sons of Ishmael named Mahmed, became prominent. A sermon about the Way of Truth, supposedly at God’s command, was revealed to them, and Mahmed taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially since he was informed and knowledgeable about Mosaic history. Because the command had come from on High, he ordered them all to assemble together and to unite in faith. Abandoning the reverence of vain things, they turned toward the living God, who had appeared to their father–Abraham. Mahmed legislated that they were not to eat carrion, not to drink wine, not to speak falsehoods, and not to commit adultery. He said: “God promised that country to Abraham and to his son after him, for eternity. And what had been promised was fulfilled during that time when God loved Israel. Now, however, you are the sons of Abraham, and God shall fulfill the promise made to Abraham and his son on you. Only love the God of Abraham, and go and take the country which God gave to your father Abraham. No one can successfully resist you in war, since God is with you."
Scholars see this event as correlating to the event traditional Islamic history knows as the second pledge at al-Aqabah.   Except the destination of this joint campaign is the Biblical Holy Land under Roman rule not Mecca, which I feel is consistent with the original "Mecca" being Petra.  In this context, the city where this alliance was made I doubt is actually as far south as Yathrib.

What "Arabia" meant in antiquity was often a little broader then we'd define it today.  Damascus was considered part of Arabia, in Galatians Paul seems to refer to his time in Damascus as being in Arabia, he also implied the city was under the control of Aretas at the time.  Damascus is the city that wound up becoming the civil capital of the Umayyad Caliphate.

But another interesting candidate is Tayma/Tema, an Ishmaelite city that is known to have had a major Jewish popular in Pre-Islamci Arabia.  And yet seems missing from the traditional history of Muhammad and the Rashidun Caliphate.   It is arguably just as close to Khhyabar as Yathrib is but in the opposite direction.  And one of the first places Muhammad sought to conquer after establishing his rule of Medina was Dumah, a location much closer to Tema then it is Medina.

Update: Apparently the name of Yathrib is in Surah 33:13.  Which is probably the same name Ptolemy refereed to as Iathrippa.

I think the name of Yathrib might come from Jetur a son of Ishmael.  In the past I'd gone along with Jetur being the Iturians, but I now see Yathrib as much closer, but the idea of both being connected isn't impossible.  Yathrib seems to have been founded by people who migrated there from further north following the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar.

Upon a closer reading of Surah 33, it's not impossible that Yathrib was being mentioned as a name of a city or tribe that's part of Muhammad "confederacy" (Confederates is the name of the Surah) but not necessarily his base of operations.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Saying "One Flesh" does not rule out Polygamy.

I went pretty in depth on Anti-Polygamy arguments awhile ago.

What really annoys me though is how often I see people argue simply that a Man and Woman become "One Flesh" when they are united (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5-6, Mark 10:8 and Ephesians 5:31) in marriage somehow proves only Monogamy is valid.  It boggles my mind how people think this one comment rules out Polygamy. 

They are operating under an assumption that you can only legitimately become "One Flesh" with one other person, even though nothing in Scripture says that.

In fact the New Testament actually teaches that the Entire Church is supposed to be One Flesh, we are The Body of Christ because we are the Bride of Christ and thus made One Flesh with Christ.

Paul even directly connects these ideas in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16, where he argues that the reason Believers shouldn't have sex with prostitutes is because the members of Christ shouldn't become "One Flesh" with the Members of a Harlot.

People keep misunderstanding what Jesus said about marriage and the Resurrection in his response to the Sadducees in Matthew 22, he's not saying there will be no more sex or marriage, that would undermine it being a return to Genesis 2.  When that time comes there will be only one Marriage that matters, we will all be married to each other in Christ.

So yes I am arguing the Church should view itself as a giant Polyamorous group marriage.

The context of what Jesus said was about condemning divorce (meaning He was willing to directly condemn something Moses allowed if He wanted to) and so would include a Husband with two wives wanting to divorce one because he decided to be Monogamous, if the relationships were consummated he was one flesh with each of them.