Excerpt from a Written Debate with Dr. Brown
This debate took place on the comment section of Dr. Brown’s Line of Fire radio website – November 3 2011.
431. yisroel blumenthal
December 22nd, 2011 @ 11:07 am
Sheila and Dr. Brown
I am jumping ahead now to posts # 426, 427 and 428 because you are telling me that they touch the heart of the matter.
Exodus 24:10 was NOT part of the Sinai revelation in the sense of teaching Israel who it is that they are to worship.
In response to your next point – of-course the God of Sinai is the same as the God of Genesis 18, Exodus 24 and the God of the rest of the Tanach – there is only one God. When God appears to His prophets – however it is that He chooses to appear to them – they know that they are talking with the Master of all creation – that is what we call prophecy – when one KNOWS that he or she is talking with the Master of all creation. They did not need to run to their Bibles and try to figure out who they are talking to.
When people saw Jesus – they just saw a man (see your own comments in post #264)
The key here is that we learned at Sinai – what our fathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob knew before us that everything that happens here on earth is a gift from the all-powerful God who is above every form of existence that we can fathom – to point to the qualities (in this case the spiritual qualities of selflessness) of an inhabitant of this earth as emanating directly from God is to confuse the Ultimate Giver with one of His beneficiaries.
432. yisroel blumenthal
December 22nd, 2011 @ 11:25 am
To all of you who are seeking to reach clarity through this discussion on the issue of idolatry.
– I see the Christian veneration of Jesus as the very act of idolatry prohibited by our covenant with God. Some of you differ with my conclusion. I am getting very mixed messages as to WHY you differ with my conclusion.
To clarify – let me break the act of worship into its two component parts:
There is a verb –
there is a noun –
“object of worship”
In order to tell me that veneration of Jesus is not idolatry – you can say – the verb doesn’t apply here – in other words – what Christians do towards Jesus doesn’t qualify as worship.
You could argue that the noun doesn’t apply here – in other words – the object of worship – is not the object that is prohibited by our covenant with God.
There is a third argument that could be used and that is – that although the verb and the noun both apply – for some reason – worship of Jesus is an exception to the rule.
To clarify further. If God would have said – don’t press any button – and I think that you are encouraging me to press a button. You could tell me that what you are asking me to do is not “pressing” – you could tell me that the thing you are asking me to press is not a “button” – or you could tell me that although this does qualify as “pressing a button” – but this button is wired differently so it is OK to press this particular button.
Since I think you all acknowledge – that if the veneration that Christians direct toward Jesus would be directed to any other human being – you would all acknowledge that that would qualify as an act of idolatry.
This being the case (and please correct me if I am wrong) – then we can move the discussion away from the verb and the noun. In other words – this is an act of worship and this is an object that is prohibited. The only answer that you are left with – is the third one – that this particular man was wired differently than all the rest of them so the prohibition doesn’t apply.
The problem with your answer is that at Sinai – God gave us a tour of the wiring of creation – and all of it is wired just the same. Deuteronomy 4:35 doesn’t just say that we were shown who God is – it also says that we were shown who God isn’t “there is NONE else”
I hope this makes things clear – I look forward to your responses.
433. yisroel blumenthal
December 22nd, 2011 @ 11:27 am
One more attempt at reaching clarity
At Sinai we were taught to differentiate between Master and subject – between Giver and recipients.
We were taught that God is the ultimate Master and Giver (thus deserving of worship)- while everything else is subject and recipient (thus not deserving of worship).
When we see a man – and that is what we saw when we saw Jesus – we saw subject and recipient – did you see anything different?
435. Dr Michael L Brown
December 22nd, 2011 @ 11:30 am
Rabbi Blumenthal, you wrote, “When people saw Jesus – they just saw a man (see your own comments in post #264).” Absolutely not. When did I ever say that people (meaning his followers in particular) saw “just a man”?
454. yisroel blumenthal
December 23rd, 2011 @ 10:06 am
In response to #435 – In post # 364 (I mistakenly wrote 264 before – the first digit is cut off from the screen so I had to guess which hundred we were holding in) you wrote “there was not a full revelation of Yeshua’s deity to his followers until after His resurrection”
So what did they see before his resurrection – if it was not “just a man”? – and don’t you believe that he was “fully human”?
456. yisroel blumenthal
December 23rd, 2011 @ 10:18 am
To all of you – some more clarification
A repeated refrain is that I don’t understand what you believe. (I happen to disagree with that assessment – but I will not take it up here).
Worship is not a “belief”. Worship is something you do – not something you believe. Beliefs explain worship and attempt to justify it – but that is not worship.
I know what you do. You will acknowledge that whatever it is that you do towards Yeshua – if it were to be done towards anyone else would qualify as idolatry.
You now present your beliefs to justify this particular worship.
According to what we were taught at Sinai – no “belief” can justify this worship.
457. yisroel blumenthal
December 23rd, 2011 @ 10:25 am
Some more clarification
Allow me to explain the position of Tanach in relation to Sinai.
At Sinai God sealed a covenant with us – we were married to Him there. This was open and direct between us and God. Those who witnessed it did not need to know how to read in order to understand it neither did they have to be Bible scholars – everyone understood it and God went out of His way so to speak so that we can KNOW. The Tanach was given to us in the context of this covenant.
If you point to a passage in Tanach or even to many passages in Tanach – to support an argument that we violate the covenant as we understood it at Sinai – you have thus removed the Tanach from its covenantal context. I don’t need to examine the passage to see that you are making a mistake. The very context of the book tells me that.
458. yisroel blumenthal
December 23rd, 2011 @ 10:29 am
One more clarification
I don’t see Tanach encouraging me to try to understand the theologies of those who worship idols. The prophets ridicule the worship of idols in the most crude way. I know that idol worshipers (who we both identify as idol worshipers) had very sophisticated beliefs about their worship – “the statue is representing…” – but that is the point – if it could be represented by a statue – and anything between heaven and earth could be represented by a statue – then it is idolatry – giving to the subject and taker that which only the Master and the Ultimate Giver deserve.
460. Dr Michael L Brown
December 23rd, 2011 @ 11:11 am
Thanks for your attempts at clarification. I certainly understand what you believe (and am convinced it is wrong, based on the Tanakh itself), and I reiterate that you still don’t understand what we believe and that until you do, we will be like ships passing in the night. Since I genuinely believe you want true dialogue, I urge you to do what I have repeatedly encouraged you to do. Understand our point of view to the point that you could argue it yourself, then critique it (if you still feel the need to).
Otherwise, to say it once more, we will be like ships passing in the night, although I still believe that our prayers for you and the patient sharing of the truth here by Sheila and Dan1el and others will open your heart.
462. Dr Michael L Brown
December 23rd, 2011 @ 11:20 am
Because of the many posts here, I’ll quote yours in full first:
“In response to #435 – In post # 364 (I mistakenly wrote 264 before – the first digit is cut off from the screen so I had to guess which hundred we were holding in) you wrote ‘there was not a full revelation of Yeshua’s deity to his followers until after His resurrection.’
So what did they see before his resurrection – if it was not ‘just a man’? – and don’t you believe that he was ‘fully human’?”
Again, this illustrates clearly that you’re still missing our points here. Yeshua’s disciples absolutely recognized Him to be the Son of God and professed it on several occasions, and they certainly believed Him to be a human being as well, hence the Son of God here in the flesh. But the dimensions of what it meant to be Son of God were not fully revealed to them until after His resurrection.
And I remind you that the New Testament is very careful about the language used. It is “the Word” who became flesh, not “God” who became flesh, since the latter could readily be misunderstood. And this Word was God and yet was with God.
You constantly make reference to Sinai, and I concur. I worship the God of Sinai — and the God of the entire Bible, of course — and what did God say at Sinai? Don’t make a graven image of Him. Don’t make any earthly likeness of Him, since we saw no form when He spoke at Sinai. Amen and amen, a thousand times over. We agree!
So, what then is the problem? It’s that you don’t accept aspects of God’s revelation in His Messiah and we do, and you know that I believe the Tanakh supports the teaching that the Messiah will be divine.
The one and only God, who sits enthroned in heaven, whose glory fills the universe, whose Spirit works among us even now, whose unity is complex, at times visits us here on earth in bodily form through His Word/Son, and He did it most permanently in Yeshua. The Tanakh prepares the way for this, and I will not sin against God and reject Him and His witness. Sinai affirms this to me.
466. yisroel blumenthal
December 23rd, 2011 @ 1:58 pm
Dr. Brown, Dan1el and Sheila
I want to preface my words with my deep appreciation for your efforts and your patience in this dialogue – thank you.
I will try to respond to the last few points you raised.
Isaiah 53:1 reads “upon whom is the arm of the Lord revealed” – the arm of the Lord is revealed on behalf of the servant – the arm of the Lord is not the servant himself.
Micah 5:1 refers to God’s plan to bring the Messiah – which preceded the creation of the world. the origin of the Messiah is God’s plan and purpose concerning the redemption of the world.
What God said at Sinai – I should say what He showed us at Siani was that He alone is God. Teh prohibition against making an image is the natural result of that teaching.
When you say “fully divine and fully human” (I got that from the FIRE statement of faith) – in light of Sinai what you are saying is that he is fully worthy of all worship and fully not worthy of any worship – I should word that more strongly – One who intrinsically all worship is owed to – and one who, by very definition, owes worship with every fiber of his existence.
In order to say that one can be human and still worthy of worship – you have to mitigate the fact that – by definition – a human owes worship and cannot be worthy of worship.
The lesson of Sinai is that everything – everything between heaven and earth owes worship to the One above and beyond heaven and earth. And “everything” includes Jesus.
Do you not believe that when Jesus was on earth – that he owed worship to God the Father?
And if you deny that he did – then you are saying that the fact that someone walks on God’s earth under God’s heaven doesn’t intrinsically owe worship to the Creator of heaven and earth – you might as well make a statue.
469. Dr Michael L Brown
December 23rd, 2011 @ 3:07 pm
Thanks for your patience and perseverance as well.
You ask, “Do you not believe that when Jesus was on earth – that he owed worship to God the Father?”
Yes I do, which is part of the mystery of the Incarnation and part of the reality of the divine Word pitching His tent among us.
It is the eternal Son, God Himself, we worship.
501. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 9:02 am
You say you are worshiping the eternal son – God himself.
You are confusing worship and belief.
The worship you are encouraging is the worship of the central character in the Gospel stories – worship of a man.
You believe that this man is “eternal son God Himself” – that is a belief you have which you append on to your worship. This belief could technically be appended on to any of God’s creations. At Sinai we were taught that worship of any of His creations is idolatry – no matter what the belief.
Your appeal to “mystery” is anti-Scriptural. When it comes to idolatry and who it is that we are to worship; God appeals to our logic and even to our sense of humor to help us see the futility of worshiping one who walked God’s earth and breathed God’s air.
502. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 9:10 am
To clarify further.
You don’t encourage worship of half of Jesus’ personality.
Furthermore – your points about “we don’t worship the flesh” are irrelevant. Allow me to remind you of a commentary that you gave to Isaiah 40:6 in volume 5 – when the prophet points out that all flesh is ephemeral you comment – “this includes the most favored and exalted human beings” – I understand that you were not limiting your comment to the flesh of the people – but to their personality as well. The prophet calls a personality that is tied to flesh – by the term “flesh” – without distinction. – this includes the most favored and exalted human beings – including Jesus.
504. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 9:29 am
I find this interaction truly remarkable, and the more you post, the more it proves my point: You fail to understand my beliefs and we continue to be like ships passing in the night. Again, I do not resist nor will I avoid ongoing interaction, as time permits, but this is ultimately a spiritual issue.
1) The God of the Scriptures is complex in His unity, sitting enthroned in heaven, filling the universe, touching us by His Spirit, and sometimes appearing in our midst. We speak of this as God’s tri-unity, and this is the God we worship.
2) This glorious God — the one and only God — commanded us not to make any graven image of Him, and we affirm this to the core of our being.
3) When He spoke to us at Sinai, He did not appear in any form (although in Scripture others saw His form), and that underscored the command not to make a graven image or worship Him in any form. Again, we totally affirm this.
4) In the person of Yeshua — who was not a mere mortal — God’s Word/Son pitched His tent among us, while the Father remained enthroned in heaven. (Think in terms of the sephirot and at least you will get in the right direction, although the truth is far more glorious.) As He had appeared in the Tanakh (as in Gen 18, to Abraham, in human flesh), so He appeared now in the person of Yeshua, except in a totally unique and glorious way. But we say emphatically that God is not a man!
5) Just as there are many aspects of God’s nature that are beyond us — because He is God, not man — His manifestation in our midst through Yeshua is beyond us, but we fully accept it as true, scriptural, and glorious, without the slightest possibility of anything idolatrous in any way, shape, size, or form. Again, with each new post you add, as sincerely as you are trying to prove a point, you underscore the fact that you do not understand what we believe. You could easily say I don’t understand what you believe — although I differ, I accept you saying this — but the more you accuse us of idolatry, the more you shout to us, “I don’t see and I don’t understand what the Scriptures really say!” (Again, you might say the same thing to me, which is fine. It just underscores that this is more a spiritual battle than an intellectual one.)
I leave you with this quote from the midrash to Psalm 91 it is written, “At [the moment that Moses finished building the Tabernacle], a great question arose: How could a Tabernacle with walls and curtains contain the Presence of the Almighty? The Master of the Universe Himself explained, ‘The entire world cannot contain My glory, yet when I wish, I can concentrate My entire essence into one small spot. Indeed, I am Most High, yet I sit in a [limited, constricted] refuge – in the shadow of the Tabernacle.’” Amen!
508. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 9:51 am
With regard to “flesh,” even there, Yeshua was different in that he did not have sinful flesh, but even to address this point of yours in any depth is to once again, get us completely off topic, since you continue to miss the point. My question remains what it has been for years: When God makes His truth known to you, will you have the courage to follow Him?
513. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 10:33 am
You keep on reiterating that I do not understand what you believe.
First of all – you acknowledge that YOU don’t understand what you believe – to use your words “His manifestation in our midst through Yeshua is beyond us”. If it is beyond you – what do you want from me?
I may not understand your belief – but I understand your worship. After all – you are encouraging people to worship as yourself – so this is not some personal mystery between you and yourself – this is out in the public. You are encouraging people to bend their hearts towards the central character in the Gospel stories. Did I get it wrong? Is that not what you are encouraging?
In order to justify this worship – you present a certain theology – a belief. We were taught at Sinai that this worship is prohibited – and that no “belief” can justify it.
Furthermore – your magnet analogy fails. If all worship of Yeshua is a just a means to achieve a greater good and not an end in and of itself – you would not attempt to influence people who already worship the One Creator of heaven and earth. The fact that you try to influence people who already worship the One Creator of heaven and earth testifies most loudly that worship of Yeshua is NOT merely a path to lead one to worship of God.
514. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 10:39 am
How would you know that I do not understand your belief? Is it because I disagree with you? Do you notice that I am not commenting on your belief but on your worship?
I personally believe that if the truth of God’s sovereignty would be more clear to me – then my words would reflect that clarity and you would see the light. If my words do not convey that clarity – I see it as an indication that I need to get greater clarity and submit myself more deeply to the absolute sovereignty of God. My prayer is that my inadequacy not stand in the way of articulating His truth with which we – the Jewish people – were entrusted (Deuteronomy 4:35, Isaiah 43:10)
515. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 10:41 am
Do you understand what you believe? You would say Yes. Is God greater than anything you can understand? You would say Yes again. The same with me.
I honestly don’t know if you’re trying to score a polemical point here (ill conceived, and, I would think, beneath you), or if you’re simply unwilling to hear me when I state that you don’t understand our beliefs and our worship. Either way, posts like this are utterly futile — except for reminding us of the need to pray for you more.
With all my heart, I want you to recognize Yeshua as our Messiah and King. When you do, your life will be radically transformed to the glory of God.
518. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 10:50 am
As we bring this part of our discussion to a close, you ask, “How would you know that I do not understand your belief? Is it because I disagree with you? Do you notice that I am not commenting on your belief but on your worship?”
I would know that you understand my belief/worship by asking questions that applied to my belief/worship and not asking questions that do not apply to my belief/worship. I am not faulting you for failing to do so; I am simply saying it underscores a point I have made repeatedly here, namely, that this is a spiritual battle more than an intellectual one.
Please also notice that in hundreds of other posts and emails that we have exchanged — even in this thread — I do not commonly say to you, “You don’t understand what I believe.” That should say something to you as well.
519. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 10:53 am
The point I was trying to make is that beliefs about God by very definition are mysterious. I labor to understand as much of your belief as you do – and your statements to the effect that I don’t understand you don’t convince me that I don’t understand you. The fact that you quote the words of men (midrash) who considered your worship the deepest violation of Israel’s covenant with God – is an indication to me that you do not understand what I believe – but this is NOT a discussion about belief. It is a discussion about worship. Do you not see the difference between the two? Do you think that I don’t understand your worship?
520. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 11:00 am
Rabbi Blumenthal, yes, absolutely, I think you don’t understand my worship, otherwise you would not be raising the questions you do or even arguing that anything spoken at Sinai contradicts my worship of God in any way. Once more, I don’t fault you for this, but I must reply honestly.
521. yisroel blumenthal
December 25th, 2011 @ 11:04 am
So my question as to whether Jesus is or isn’t a subject of God – is irrelevant?
My question (which you haven’t answered) asking if you acknowledge the distinction between belief and worship is irrelevant?
My question from Isaiah 40:6 is that also irrelevant?
What questions do you want me to ask?
What questions would YOU ask if someone were to point to a person – not Jesus but someone else – and try to convince you to worship that person because he is the Eternal son of God who is not mere mortal and is sinless and is the Word come in the flesh. Would you not ask the very same questions I am asking you?
522. Dr Michael L Brown
December 25th, 2011 @ 11:15 am
Start with God being a tri-unity and we proceed from there, and start with taking all the evidence of the Tanakh seriously, including prophecies of a divine Messiah. (Of course, you differ with me here, but at least start with these presuppositions on my part, based on Tanakh.) That alone changes the whole nature of your question to me, namely, “What questions would YOU ask if someone were to point to a person – not Jesus but someone else – and try to convince you to worship that person because he is the Eternal son of God who is not mere mortal and is sinless and is the Word come in the flesh. Would you not ask the very same questions I am asking you?”
Certainly not. We have the Tanakh in common and we debate that. That would not apply in your other scenario.
In any case, how does re-posting the same questions (that missed the point the first time around) prove that you understand my worship?
Yes, there is a difference between worship and belief. What have I not answered there?
I have no problem with others here continuing to interact with you on these points, but again, this has taken the thread far off topic for scores of posts here, and, as I stated over and again, we are like ships passing in the night on this issue, and time (and wisdom) does not permit me to go around and around on this point here.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Brown wants one to “start with God being a tri-unity” instead of God as a unity or with “none beside God”. The Tanach didn’t start with any “tri-unity” and many Christians don’t start with nor accept a “tri-unity” and they argue that a “tri-unity” concept in the NT does not exist except in later texts corrupted from the originals. The word “tri-unity”, in any sort of context, is itself non-sensical, otherwise it is essentially saying “non-unity”. Brown keeps separating this “unity”. “His Word” or ” His son”, instead of “Him alone”. Brown keeps separating “son” from “the father” or “his or Jesus’ father” (giving them different names, yet calling them the same – is it “Our son who art in heaven”?). And pray to the father in “the name of Jesus” instead of pray to God alone (in His own name, or by a Holy title like Lord or haShem, but not in some name that was not given to Israel). To God and not “in the name” given to a man. He separates messiah (or anointed one) from God the sender of a messiah (or the anointer of the anointed one), yet they are the same and supposedly indivisible (although still divided into 3). Brown seems as if he does not understand the definition or the principle or the very essence of idolatry. As many others have done and do, he invents “a mystery” in order to try to explain away error. Calling something a mystery often is a smoke screen that attempts to cloud over what makes sense and what is biblical. We shouldn’t trade the plain words given by God for “mysteries” created by people and apologists for error.
It is not Michael Brown but the Holy Spirit that distinguishes the Father from the Son.
‘What is His Name and what is His Son’s Name, if thou knowest?’
Your concept of a wholly simple Singularity comes from Plotinus, mediated by Rambam and their antecedents, not Sinai, where HaShem was manifested to Moses first, in the Messenger of the Lord. וַיֵּרָא מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אֵלָיו
It is HaShem we must worship, and only as He reveals Himself, not a neo-Hellenic, rabbinic idol. Nor do we worship mere humanity, for the person of Son, of Wisdom, of the Word preceded the incarnation, and the Messiah’s flesh (body and soul) are the Tabernacle of HaShem and the Altar of His person.
so you worship a spirit/soul/ghost because it was CONFINED and limited to it’s created flesh? so almighty god was ONLY in the flesh? was almighty god almighty while he was in his created flesh?
if you allow for god to be in the flesh, then if you allow for one thing you must allow for all. since god almighty’s human existence was dependent on the sun ( no sun the earth would perish ) does that mean god almighty was in the sun? or is god almighty limited to created flesh?
i wanted to ask about your idols voice box. when it was a baby was it god almighty making crying sounds or the human person?
If you notice – I did not quote Rambam once – all my quotes are from the Bible – read what I wrote and respond to what I wrote – not to what you wish I believed
YB, I had read your correspondence in full before posting, my reply was primarily to Yedidiah’s comments.
Blasater, did Eli’s sons not serve Baal as effectively as the Philistines, whilst ministering to the Ark? Did Israel not serve Moloch and Chiun in the wilderness under Moses? Idols are as much in the heart and mind as in the eye.
CS– I’m not entirely sure why you asked me that. I’ll just say that there is more to idolatry than just the obvious moloch etc…It was impossible for Torah to list all forms of idolatry. And that is why Hashem gave us a test condition after Sinai to verify doctrine. The test condition is this: Is the teaching that you are hearing today the same and consistent with what your fathers heard at Sinai? Yes or no. Dt 13.
The church will quip, ahhh that is just referring to someone who teaches Moloch is god…or Baal….THOSE are other gods……Well of course. But the fact is, just because the church says that Jesus is the same as “God” does not mean that it therefore passes the Dt 13 test. And in fact, our fathers did NOT receive any such revelation of a pending “incarnation” “hypostatic union” “tri-une personages” or any such thing. You see all future scripture, post Sinai, had to meet that test. The prophetic works and writings in Tanakh can ONLY be exegeted within the framework of Torah and specifically DT 13 (among other test conditions in Torah).
Brown asserts that the Prophetic works give credence to a “divine messiah”.. ie “God” in the flesh. That is impossible. To derive such a meaning from prophetic works would overturn the revelation of Sinai is null and void out of hand. It is idolatry. Prophecy can not trump Torah.
“The watershed between us is easy to define: you believe the Angel here was a mere created vehicle, a telephone operator if you like, we hold the One Who was manifest here was HaShem, the Speaker and the Word being one.”
Precisely. Why? Because you are inserting (eisegesis) a meaning the text does not support, nor allow based upon the totality of the textual evidence. There simply is no identified son of god, nor 2nd personage of a trinity, period. It is self evident, that had you not had a NT to reverse engineer the meaning from, you couldnt draw that conclusion. No one, up until the era of the church ever saw theophanies as a revelation of a manifestation of a triune entity, god-man hybrid, or son of god.
A plain reading of the text clearly reveals an angel performing a task. Being a megaphone of Hashems voice.
CS wrote :” You need to explain away the deliberate confusion of ‘creature’ (in your terms) and Creator,”
Why? Why would we need to explain away anything? It is a simple manifestation of an angel being used as a tool. Nothing more. You on the other hand open a theological can of worms by stating it is Jesus..or the word. Why? How did Jesus (the word) make this pre-human appearance? Was there a permanent joining of Jesus and the created angel? Is there a hypostatic union of Jesus, 2nd person of the trinity and the angel? Is Jesus 100%god and 100% angel as well as 100%god and 100% man? Angels are created beings and you must be able to explain the nature of the entity.
CS wrote: “when at the least His feet were seen” (Ex 24)
You are misreading the text and again using eisegesis. Let’s take another look at what was occurring by who and their relative position to manifestation.
“Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. 2 Moses alone, however, shall come near to the Lord, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”
Moses ALONE shall come near…but THEY shall not come near.
“9 Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement….
Moses and the elders went up…away from the people…but G-d is still up on the mountain. They ARE NOT near G-d to see any discrete body parts, unless the figure is HUGE. As wee see from the next text.
“12 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and [h]remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets [i]with the law and the commandment “….14 But to the elders he said, “Wait here for us until we return to you.”
So, G-d tells the Elders they may not come close….they are at the foot of the mountain (mountains have feet too?) They see the vision of the entity of G-d and posistionally below him is a sapphire like sheet. The reference to feet is made at a great distance from G-d, as they had not even gone up on the mountain yet…there is NO WAY they could have seen human feet at that distance. It was merely a anthropomorphic reference point. NOT JESUS.
CS wrote :”Haven’t you ever read Rev,1.4,8″ God speaking in the NT.
Okay I forgot that one. Big deal. It changes nothing. Hashem is still completely absent from the text of the NT in any meaningful way. He doesnt speak directly to Jesus, the apostles or Paul. All the dialogue with Jesus is a one way conversation with G-d. And that is comepletely different than the interaction of G-d in Tanakh. G-d speaks DIRECTLY to the patriachs. (Interestingly not to the matriarchs..) or uses the Angel of Hashem. No such thing occurs in the NT…And no, one tiny verse in Rev doesnt cut it.
Jesus never self identifies as the angel of Hashem. That is a huge problem for you. If Jesus would have said, yeah, I was the angel of Hasem, that is how I was manifest before….that would have made your case stronger. But he did not. The reference to I AM made by Jesus was just crazy talk. Even that holds problems. He is supposed to be the 2nd person. He is not the first person according to the church. Well it was the first person who said he was I am. The alleged 2nd person in the OT never makes such a claim.
Stephens litany is a self serving rant. Notice he conveniently leaves out details of all the things that Jesus should have done but did not, in order to be crowned King Messiah. Jesus had an existing Temple. He is said to be on a priestly mission. Yet he does NOT purify the Levites and restore the Temple sacrifice to better than Solomons temple, as is REQUIRED.
So Stephen had no basis whatsoever in attacking the Jews.
All in all you are still resorting to eisegesis to shoe-horn in the man from Nazareth into the text. And that is an already collapsed house of cards.
You prize brevity, so I will be brief. I never studied Plotinus and have read little Maimonides. But I do know what the Torah teaches.
The Torah tells us we are to worship God ONLY as he appeared at Sinai, and it provides a description of this revelation. See Deuteronomy 4:12, 15, 16, 35. Read these verses carefully. Then read them again. Let their words sink in.
Jesus did not appear at Sinai; ergo, he is not God.
Do you dare deny it?
Dina– That’s right! succinct and to the point.
Ever notice that the church always HAS TO rely on mystical events to make their case? Gen 1, 18, Exo 24…Visions of Isaiah and Daniel. etc…
The church has to stitch together this patchwork narrative of mystical events and then force fit the mystical into the clear peshat of Deut 4, 13, 18, 30 etc….
Your description is the best. Had G-d wanted us to “believe” in the Jesus character, He would have had him sitting at His right hand, so to speak, at har Sinai and all 3 million Jews would and seen and heard this introduction by G-d, to the nation of Israel. PERIOD!
The One who appeared at Sinai was the Messenger of HaShem, I’ve linked here from the outset. There’s nothing mystical about this in its most basic sense. HaShem revealed Himself in His Word, in His Messenger. Receive it or reject it, and adopt Rambam’s delusions, whether you have read them or not ,if you wish.
That’s not what the Torah says. What you’ve written in your own article that you linked is your own circular interpretation of other events unconnected with the Sinai revelation. I suggest you read, yet again, the Scriptural verses in Deuteronomy that I listed. Their meaning is plain, clear, requiring no fancy explanations with long words.
Your argument is with God, my friend. You dare to disagree with Him.
Drawing agreement from Divine silence is a dangerous business, as rabbis know just as well as the rest of us. My silences on the other hand, are not so much to do with my tail (nor my horns or pitchfork either) but a simple paucity of time. (So here’s 884 words – then more silence). Whenever I follow a page here, my inbox gets clogged up for days! For all my harsh words about the Rambam, I do sympathise with his intensely busy schedule, his accomplishments are astonishing if misguided.
When after 200 years, the silence was broken Moses was drawn by the burning bush. The flame was caused by the Angel, but the LORD looks upon him, as He was to look upon Gideon later, when the Angel also appeared to him. The LORD looked upon him, and said, ‘Go in this thy might’, though the words were spoken by the Angel.
When Moses was called by name, from the thornbush, twice, it was reminiscent of the Akedah call by the Angel to Abraham. He was ‘afraid to look upon God’. Had Moses then erred, had he not yet learned what was to be revealed in Deut 4.35? Did he not know it was only the Angel who was manifested? Or had the Angel, having lit the fire, depart, leaving God to dwell in the midst of the bush? No, God spoke through the Angel, just as He had at the Akedah, ‘seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.’ The Angel spoke, the words were God’s. Then the Angel pronounced the most solemn blessing on HaShem’s behalf, ‘By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD,’ When the LORD appeared to Abraham, and dined with him, it was as the Messenger. When Abraham interceded with him, it was not a vision, as Rambam suggests, for ‘the LORD went His way’, just as it is written that after speaking, ‘God went up from Abraham’, a chapter earlier.
When the LORD appeared to Isaac twice, and when He appeared to Jacob, wrestling with him till daybreak, Jacob said, ‘I have seen God face to face’. Hosea tells us he made supplication to the Angel, and thus had power with God. Had Hosea just not read the Tenach, as the more enlightened here have?
When Moses is addressed, the Speaker identifies Himself as the God of Amram, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One Who had appeared to all three patriarchs, and walked with Moses’ father. He says He ‘came down’ to deliver (v.8) and to exalt (v.8).
When Moses asks not the sound or the letters, all of which were well known to the patriarchs (6.3) but ‘the what’, the substance and meaning of His Name – knowing full well this would be a litmus test used by his people of his experience – the Speaker replies with the key of explanation, the first person singular of the complex verb form of HaShem’s hitherto mysterious name. An explanation Jacob didn’t receive, though Hosea (12.4-5) confirms that it was HaShem he too spoke with, ‘LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial (זִכְרִי).’
Moses later writes of ‘the good will of him that dwelt in the bush’ (Deut.. Who was he writing about the Angel, who we are explicitly informed was manifested, or HaShem? Has Moses not read his own writings – perhaps he too needs to ‘read these verses carefully, then read them again… and let their words sink in.’ After all, could we not all benefit from well-meaning advice? This One Who dwelt in the bush, whoever he was, is the source of Joseph’s progeny’s blessing, just as Jacob prophesied he would be, ‘The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads’ (Gen.48.16). How could an angel be a Goel (גֹּאל), without becoming a kinsman? Job seems to know for he will see Him (גֹּאֲלִי חָי), and that with his own eyes.
Israel’s redemption from slavery is of course the principal theme of Exodus, by the blood of the firstborn. The foundation stone for which is laid at Sinai, in this first appearance to Moses. However it was only a token of the redemption to come, according to Hosea again, for HaShem promises, ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.’
So, Who did appear to Moses at Sinai, not in human form this time, but manifestly and unmistakeably and Who appeared again to Israel subsequently in fire and smoke?
The answer is childishly easy, and resisted only by those who prefer to pull down the shutter and hope for night, however erudite and forthright the inevitable gainsaying.
It is the One who said in the Temple centuries later, ‘before Abraham was I AM’ (εγω ειμι in Greek, truly לְפָנַי אַבְרָהָם אֶהְיֶה), Whose goings forth as the Ruler of Israel have been from days of eternity (וּמוֹצָאֹתָיו מִקֶּדֶם, מִימֵי עוֹלָם), the Angel of the Covenant, the true Redeemer-kinsman, which is precisely why He appeared in the midst of emblem of the curse, the thorn. The Angel and HaShem are One, as the Father and the Son are One.
That should have been לְפָנְי אַבְרָהָם אֶהְיֶה
Charles, It looks to me like you are another in a very long line of Xtians attempting to re-make Xtianity into something rational. No amount of twisting will accomplish that goal.
Charles, I said nothing about Divine silence; I was referring rather to yours. You now say that you aren’t answering because of your busy schedule, and I can respect that. But you also said that you would not respond in order to let Jim stew in his own juices (I’m paraphrasing). If you are taking that back, that is well and good.
I disagree with your interpretation of the so-called theophanies in the Bible, but that is not relevant. You see, even if your interpretation is correct, even if God appeared in human form a trillion times, worship of Him as such is idolatry because Deuteronomy 4 teaches us that we are to worship Him ONLY AS HE APPEARED AT SINAI. Which was without a form, without an image, without a trinity–and we should “beware greatly for our souls” to worship Him in any other format.
To quote your own words back at you, this “is childishly easy, and resisted only by those who prefer to pull down the shutter and hope for night, however erudite and forthright the inevitable gainsaying.”
Like I said, your argument is with God and the Bible, not with me. It does not say what you wish it to say.
CS– Thanks for making my point! Very nicely done! Once again, mystical events from Torah have been exegeted through the lense of the Church.
Jesus never once claimed to be “the Angel of Hashem”.
Angels are not G-d nor share substance with G-d. Otherwise Hashem would have said so. Moses never perceived that the Angel was Jesus or the son of god. G-d never calls the Angel Jesus or His son and in fact told Moses He was to be called YHVH forever.
Angels are nothing more than a type of communication device, Similar to a craft that moves to a location and broadcasts a message or performs a task. They do so with the authority of Hashem, but are not Hashem. And they certainly are not Jesus.
Again, what you are doing is taking mystical events and shoving Jesus in to them with no authority to do so by G-d Himself. Had G-d wanted us to understand that the angel of Hashem was Jesus His son, he would have done so in a declarative setting as in the Sinai event for millions to witness. Then 1500 years later, when it was time to restore this Jesus to earth, it would have been easily documented not from cobbling together mystical events but a simple reference to a previously documented revelation.
Something so fundamental as the nature and “make-up” of G-d, is not going to be left buried in a series of mystical events, to be teased out by the church 1500 years later.
On the contrary…G-d said dozens of times…this is it. I am all there is. I am the only redeemer. I give my glory to no one and I share my glory with NO ONE else. And since Jesus the man was not revealed at that time, he can NEVER receive glory or claim to be god in the flesh.
Over 400 times in Tanakh, Hashem or G-d (LORD or Lord) is giving directions, law, prophecy etc…The LORD says xyz….thus saith the Lord…xyz….
Not once in the entire NT does the LORD speak. Nor the Lord…ZERO times. The closest reference is a “voice from the clouds” with no specific name attached but is “attributed” as god speaking….and thats IT!
So how can the church even claim a divine narrative when Hashem doesnt even bother to speak in the NT?!!.. Hashem Himself from Moses to Malachi speaks and gives His Name as authoritative witness to the prophets. Totally non-existent in the NT.
So beautifully clear, Blasater. It’s “childishly easy, and resisted only by those who prefer to pull down the shutter and hope for night, however erudite and forthright the inevitable gainsaying.”
You’re living in a house of cards, and for some of you this is becoming apparent.
This is not just a narrative passage, nor a mystical exchange. Here is Torah for the Moreh – the Lawgiver’s Law, the Judge’s commission. This is the foundation stone of all that happened subsequently at the same place at Sinai – its very name reflecting that.
The watershed between us is easy to define: you believe the Angel here was a mere created vehicle, a telephone operator if you like, we hold the One Who was manifest here was HaShem, the Speaker and the Word being one. Just as happened in many other theophanies, YHVH identified Himself in His Messenger, so that the Messenger Himself spoke as God in the first person, for example to Hagar (‘I will multiply thy seed’), or to Abraham (‘I have sworn by Myself’).
Now to disillusion all gainsayers, all that is needed from you is a simple exegesis of the verses in Exodus 3, with reference to other incidents where HaShem represented Himself to disprove this union. Sometimes He came visibly, to Abraham, Hagar, Jacob, the 70 Elders, (when at the least His feet were seen), Joshua, Gideon to name a sample, but here and at the giving of the Decalogue the manifestation was indirect. You need to explain away the deliberate confusion of ‘creature’ (in your terms) and Creator, (who actually ‘dwelt’ in the bush – both at the same time perhaps – like a cherub sitting over the Ark?), and why if so they should both be revered, or rather worshipped, interceded with and supplicated to, the awkward anthropomorphisms (‘I came down’, and in other places went His way, went up). So please go ahead, and test how tenuous your foundation is.
Referring us back to Deut.4 yet again doesn’t address this watershed and has no purchase – both parties agree HaShem and He only were manifest at Sinai, and at the granting of the Decalogue not by any similitude. Where we disagree is Who HaShem is, and how He was manifest. Whether He is simple, solitary and singular, or complex and relational.
(Incidentally, Exod.23.20-23 and 33.2-3 do not describe the Covenant Angel of Mal.3.1, Ex.3 or the visible display of the invisible Deity at Ex.24.10, merely a createdarchangel, probably Michael, Dan.11.1, who is clearly distinguished from HaShem, (as in Jude 9) though some commentators have confused them. The contrast is readily explained.)
HaShem never spoke in the NT? Haven’t you ever read Rev,1.4,8, where the expression ο ων is the same as Exodus 3.14 in the LXX, used first of the Father and then the Son?
So, Yeshua was never spoken of as the Angel in the New Testament? It’s noteworthy how Stephen sharpens the edge of his message by identifying the Speaker and the Angel in Exodus 3 as Moses’ direct commissioner. No doubt he was re-visiting oft examined ground, that had now become a neuralgic point of distinction. When he concludes the defence, as the prophets had so often done in the past, with ‘Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye’ – the only reply was iniquity.
Why be content to rest in slavery to the flesh, the Messiah was sent to liberate you, why should the firstborn still linger to the last?
I don’t think you understood what I wrote, so I will try again.
Let us say that you are correct that God manifested in the flesh in all the instances that you presented from the Torah.
You aren’t. We’ve been over this ground before. Rabbi B. has an excellent article on this topic, here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-bush-the-cloud-and-genesis-18/
But let us say, for argument’s sake, that you are correct. Let us say that all these theophanies prove that God is incarnate. Let us further say–and it turns my stomach to write these words–that each time this manifestation occurs, it’s Jesus (although there is nothing, and I repeat, nothing, in the text to even hint at such a thing).
You are still wrong to worship these manifestations as God.
Why? Because of the clear teaching of Deuteronomy 4. To paraphrase, Moses tell the Children of Israel: You were there, at Mount Sinai, when God revealed Himself. And what did you see? Nothing! You saw no form or likeness, you only heard the sound of His voice. Therefore, be very careful NOT to worship God in any form–only the way He appeared at Sinai. No form, no angel, no messenger, no image of a male or female.
You may not worship Jesus even if he were God in human form because the Torah tells you must not, don’t you see? (Of course he wasn’t, but even if you believe he was you are committing a sin against God by worshiping him).
This is so simple it boggles the mind that you don’t get it.
Charles, I would further like to add that I did not say that God never speaks in the NT–only that He rarely speaks. I choose my words with care. I’m amazed that you don’t find embarrassing the fact that you could find only one example. (By the way, where do you find Hashem using His name for “the Son” in Exodus 3:14? Are we looking at the same Bible?) Count the number of times God speaks in the Hebrew Bible and compare it to the number of times He speaks in the Christian books. I think you will find it an instructive exercise.
You suggest that Jews are slaves to the flesh while Christians are not. That is not charitable and kind (or true), but it certainly is thoroughly Christian of you.
You see, contempt for Jews is one of those beautiful Christian ideals that is supposed to provoke us to jealousy. Somehow, I’m not feeling very jealous at the moment.
Charles, Just WHERE did you get all these ideas. If you are to say from your own studies then we can know there is no merit in what you say. If you want to say it is the Xtian holy spirit that reliance too is suspect, especially considering Stephen’s account of Torah, who, guided by the same holy spirit, couldn’t get the most simplest of facts correct that every Jewish child would know.
Your insistence upon putting G-d literally on earth is evidence you are unable to grasp the incorporeal nature of G-d. It is literally impossible for Him to have any form of a corporeal nature. If He would literally “assume” a human form the entire Universe would cease to exist. Furthermore, there would have been no need whatsoever of any beings known as angels. Instead, the Universe was created with levels of existence, including the angels. The power of G-d cannot be withstood on the physical plane and therefore it is filtered though many levels before it reaches human physical existence. This is alluded to in Kohelet 5:7.
How many times have I heard a Xtian use the reference of a “stiffnecked nation”. Do you not think G-d KNEW who he named as firstborn. Did he NOT Know this nation would have been this way. Being a “stiffnecked” nation is not only a negative but a positive as well. What other nation would have continued Torah for so many generations under the onslaught of their neighbors. It is ONLY the Torah observant Jew that has survived, as Devarim Promised would be the case. Did those early Jews who were Xtians survive. There is not a Single descendant of those followers today. But there ARE descendants of the Torah Jews from that time. And YOU would have all of us give that up for a PAGAN god. I don’t think so!! You can keep your pagan beliefs and we will stay with Hashem as usual.
You quote of Proverbs was part of a speech by one who did not possess knowledge of the Holy One.
Proverbs 30:1-3. “The words of Agur son of Jakeh,[ man of] Massa; The speech of the man to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: I am brutish, less than a man; I lack common sense. I have not learned wisdom, Nor do I possess knowledge of the Holy One.
People like Nebuchanezzar believed in a son of God. A divine son is a pagan concept; they had no problem distinguishing the son god from the father god. And the concept of incarnation and “the word” or manifestation of wisdom was a Hellenistic one not a Mosaic one. Manifestation of a god or a “holy spirit” in a “tabernacle” or statue or altar or gold calf was called idolatry.
The quote means the opposite of the meaning Charles imputed to it.
To CS: My “concept of a wholly simple Singularity comes from” Tanach” and not from anyone else. Decades before I even heard of Rambam and I have little knowledge of Plotinus. And common sense tells me that God is not a messenger from God and I should never place a “messenger from God” alongside God or above God. Never focus on any idolistic “manifestation of God”, even if in human clothing, when one should focus on God. Do not focus on an “actor” when you can focus on God (the Creator who isn’t playacting). It is worse than absurd to think that God is or was 100% man, after He said that He was not a man. Why make God out to be a liar? God does not have to imitate the Egyptian, Caananite, or the other nation’s gods, in order to be acceptable to us mere mortals. We don’t need to bring Him down to our level; to recreate Him in Our image.
The idea that man is as unlike God (and vice versa) as possible is Greek, not scriptural at all, Xenophanes seems to be the first thinker to have expressed this. It was his (over)reaction to Homer and Hesiod’s childish anthropomorphisms, that blazed the trail for other Hellenes, including the Sadducees’ apophatic doctrine. In Tenach, God is certainly not man’s image, but we are His, that entails real, inbuilt similarities and analogues, as well as His absolute and ineffable supremacy to us in every respect. I’ll try to come back on Angel – YHVH identity.
For all your ascribing of Judaism’s doctrines to the Greeks, you are quick to ignore that the Trinity is of Greek origin. Augustine found it in the Neoplatonists (like Plotinus), not the Torah. In fact, he has to speculate on how Plato knew about the Trinity. He invents a meeting between Plato and Jeremiah in Egypt to explain how Plato came to a knowledge to the Trinity. (It should be noted that this speculation is not based on the writings of Jeremiah, but the presumption that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity must have been known by the Prophets.)
The fabrication of such a meeting is an admission that the Trinity is a Greek idea, not originating in the Torah. Since the Torah is supposed to be the foundation of Christian doctrine, not Plato, an explanation is needed why it appears in Plato and not Tanach. Reading the Trinity into the Torah can be done with a little manipulation, but that does not explain how a “pagan” arrived at a knowledge of the Trinity. Augustine’s solution only draws attention to the problem, however, and does not solve it.
The way you harp on about the pagan origins of Judaism is unsafe, considering the glass house you inhabit. It might be advantageous to read the Torah for what it says rather than for what you can make it appear to say.
Thanks Jim, I appreciate your caution, and I do take it to heart, the blade indeed cuts two ways, you may notice I have spent more time ‘at home’, on Christian adherence to Simplicity for example, than Jewish or Muslim – and I also respect the problem of theological leavening goes far beyond Plotinus and Xenophanes.
I hope your own difficulties are resolved peacefully, despite our differences.
Right, Charles, we are created in God’s image, not vice versa. But Christians have gone ahead and created God in man’s image.
except in later texts corrupted from the originals.
The problem with this hypothesis of alteration by Paul or others, is simply a matter of the accepted scholarly dating of the sources, and the fact that all the information we posses about the “original Jewish Jesus” was preserved by “Pauline” Christians. There is no Pauline conspiracy to reinvent the “real” Jesus. If this were true, Paul’s students did an awful Job.
Paul’s accepted epis tles (written from early to late 60s CE) in his epistles, passages that refer to G-d are applied directly to Jesus.
John (written in 90 CE the word was G-d, Jesus forgives sins, etc.)
Gospel of the Ebionites (100-150 CE) Jesus, according to this Torah Observant group of followers is the 1st born of creation “like one of the archangels.” Their traditional reading was probably an offshoot tradition of one those similar in form to the ascents and transformations of Jacob, Enoch, and Elijah, into the “prince of the face.”
Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (110-140 CE, an arguably Orthodox Christian Epistle)
2nd-3rd century rabbinic and Christian references to Birkat Ha Minim.
It is not a hypotheses that texts were “corrupted”. One only need compare the surviving copies of early Christian texts. Or objectively read what early Christians wrote and what they commented on. It is not “simply a matter of the accepted scholarly dating of the sources”, since scholars disagree on what is or what should be accepted (as to when or what).
As far as the “tri-unity”, it is difficult to accept either side of the debate between Trinitarian & Unitarian Christians about when the “Trinity” was first mentioned (by Jesus or Tertullian or Origen or whoever). That doesn’t really matter (except to those who want to claim that they are the “orthodox” or the “true followers of Christ”). The real theological problem is that with either the trinitarian or the unitarian Christologies.
“accepted scholarly”. Here is a modern scholar that many other scholars and everyday people disagree with.
You could argue we all do the same thing. It’s just our beliefs that differ. You could even argue god does the same thing, he certainly has his beliefs. The choice is who do you want to believe? Bozos like this professor, full of himself, his education, his attitude, if the world would just listen to him it would be a lot better off. I can read make up my own mind, that’s important. I should also pay attention to who god trusted to preserve his teaching. At least get the basics.
Larry I don’t have a problem with Torah or with Judaism, but in posting widely accepted dates (Which were from the Jesus seminar btw, not some bleeding heart Christians) I was showing that what became the trinity, exists in latent form in our earliest sources. Its not simply, “what you choose to believe.” These christologies exist even in the Jewish Christian sources. Why? Because the ideas present therein are likely pre Christian. You don’t have to accept it, but at least take notice that the earliest christian sources do not support the hypothesis of a massive all out corruption. Differences? Yes! arguments over the exact meaning? Yes! Philosophic speculation, Yes! Nefarious corruption? I don’t believe so, though I used to. There are indeed similarities to the trinity in Platonic philosophy, but only if you hold a modalist understanding of the trinity, because the philosophers were arguing in abstractions. In fact, many early polytheistic converts to Christianity were actually Neo Platonist. Similarity does not imply derivation. There are massive similarities between Rambam’s philosophy and that ofAristotle, does that make Rambam a polytheistic philosopher?
It is not a hypotheses that texts were “corrupted”. One only need compare the surviving copies of early Christian texts. Yedidiah, you are aware that the same “corruptions” and differences exist in the copies we have of the Torah itself right, according to scholarship? If you are going to listen to the scholars’ criticisms of Christianity, they level the same exact criticism against Judaism. We have textual criticism for this reason, an
d both of our traditions have a healthy manuscript tradition.
Maybe not nefarious, but I look at the NT itself as corrupt. Corrupt teaching. Along with all its authors. You really cannot believe in the Torah as it was taught being a Christian.
You can only accept the Torah as taught by the Christians.
Greek influence on Israel came several centuries after Xenophanes, who probably was born 200 years after Homer was believed to have lived. And you fail to see that both were Greek & Xenophanes critiques the Homeric epics. Homer shaped Greek culture more than did Xenophanes (who in your mind shaped Judaism or Torah?). Both Plato & Homer had little or no influence on Torah or Judaism before Alexander, however both had great influence on Christianity & NT writings. So if “Greek” or Hellenistic influence is “bad”, you may want to read Dennis R MacDonald’s book “The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark” as just one more example of the strong connection between Greek and Christian thought, rather than wasting your time promoting your unsupported speculations above.
I was saying, Greek ideas don’t mean derivation or dependent thinking. Cultures interact all the time, this is true of Judaism and Christianity.
What gross exaggeration to write “that the same “corruptions” and differences exist in the copies we have of the Torah itself right, according to scholarship?”. Scholarship? And in “they level the same exact criticism against Judaism”, who are “they”? And “exact same”? And just what manuscripts are you including and which and how many (unhealthy?) ones are you excluding from your “healthy manuscript tradition”? What periods are you including or excluding? How many? Or are the quantity of Christian writings that some speak of, just an exaggeration in order to impress us? Are you denying a “richness” of the source documents or is there a looseness of the definition of “differences” in the texts?
Yedidiah you are claiming that the whole of the Christian message broke down about 32 years after Jesus died. This is untenable based on the fact that everything we know about the original Jewish sect comes from Pauline, and later gentile Church sources.
Are you really going to base a scholarship on an assumption of a documentary hypothesis? This theory is a Lack of scholarship. This says a lot about where a person gets his opinions from. I would be highly suspicious of anyone who uses this as a premise Their words would have no weight in a discussion.
CR: I did not claim “that the whole of the Christian message broke down about 32 years after Jesus died.” First, I don’t know when Jesus (if he even existed as told in the gospels) died, since some early church fathers were unsure when he was alive & when he died. Was he 50 years old when he died and was John & James still alive at about the time of the “bar Kochba revolt” after 130 c.e. When did Origen believe Jesus died? The gospels themselves appear to show a breakdown in the Christian message while Jesus was still alive. Many people seem to feel that even the disciples of Jesus were “slow learners” or fairly ignorant, or usually uncomprehending of his message. Someone who “not with Jesus” and his disciples was “casting out demons” in the name of Jesus. Jesus allowed this or these “heretics” because their “evil” would not last long, since anyone who was not against Jesus and them was “for them”. Quit a few scholars provide good arguments that the book of Acts seems to “sugar coat” the dispute between Paul and the “Jerusalem Church” when comparing its view of the “debate” and that which is found in some “letters by Paul”. Supposedly there “anti-Christs” at that time and some of them were “false teachers” who might have claimed they were Christians. So it is not very “untenable based on the fact that everything we know about the original Jewish sect comes from Pauline, and later gentile Church sources.” The word “fact” is presumptuous, especially when combined with the phrase “everything we know”. Everything? Well, maybe. No, probably not even maybe, since that depends on what scholar says what about Paul and which letters are considered as “authentic”. And depending on how “late” you mean when you say “later gentile Church sources”. Would one include “Marcionites” and Pseudo-Clementine” writings as some of those sources? Which Jewish sources are included or excluded (if there were any?)? BTW, who wrote the gospels and when (no guesses or assumptions no matter how popular the modern “consensus'” guesses are)? Who wrote the Pauline letters and when (again no assumptions, since once upon a time for a long time, many people would say that all of Paul’s letters were written by “Paul” – even when a letter speaks about the necessity of guarding against forgeries – while many modern scholars speak of “the authentic letters of Paul”. Who wrote the majority of the texts that are in the books that were once claimed to be written by one and only one person named John? And which John was that one John?
There are similarities between “mountains” and “mole hills”, but it is disingenuous, in essence, to bolster your argument in some cases with the “mountain” of remnants of ancient text and scholarly work on the one hand and then on the other hand, minimize that mountain in order to “level the field”. I subscribe to several daily or weekly emails, such as the Biblical History Daily and the Biblical Archaeology Review and publications from the Society for Biblical Literature, so I try to keep up with what Christian scholarship. I say that not because I am an “elitist” or” elitist wanna-be”. So I know that many Christians are critical of “the Documentary Hypotheses” of the “Old Testament” (or the Q gospel hypothesis of the gospels). I read the Jewish scholar Richard Elliott Friedman’s books on the Documentary Hypotheses such as “Who wrote the Bible” and “The hidden book in the Bible”, etc. But I am also aware (as are you) of Christian authors, such as Bart Ehrman, who wrote about “who wrote the NT” and all about forgeries in the NT. Not much in Ehrman’s books were that new to me, since I read a bit of the early church fathers writings as well. He merely consolidated a lot of the info available & known by many Christian scholars over the last 2000 years. There is a mountain there.
Christians had for centuries claimed that Jews intentionally altered the Hebrew bible to “write prophesies of Jesus out” and Jews could not argue because of the lack of ancient Hebrew texts or remnants of those texts. Not until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered did we learn how little the Hebrew (or non-Septuagint) texts had changed. And the Jewish bible is the larger part of the Christian bible (re-arranged a bit in many Protestant, Catholic, and other Christian bibles). But few Jews lay claim to or blame for any part of the Christian NT. On the other hand It is very difficult for any bible scholar or objective reader to deny the “almost scandalous” history of Christian texts.
Sharbano, I was responding to Yedidiah’s statements here
What gross exaggeration to write “that the same “corruptions” and differences exist in the copies we have of the Torah itself right, according to scholarship?”. Scholarship? And in “they level the same exact criticism against Judaism”, who are “they”? And “exact same”? And just what manuscripts are you including and which and how many (unhealthy?) ones are you excluding from your “healthy manuscript tradition”?
The documentary hypothesis. Levels the same type of criticism at the Torah, that is often leveled against the Christian bible. We know that the meanings and original wording and even meaning of certain words has been lost.
‘Similarity does no prove derivation’, but close mimicry of form and style of argument is used as proof of plagiarism today for good reason. Philosophy has had a colossal influence on all 3 monotheisms, but the love of human wisdom is repeatedly and diametrically opposed in revelation, both the Tenach and the New Testament, and for very good reason. Sanctified reason is an ally of faith, profane speculation, inferences from unvalidated human axioms into the unseen and the logical thuggery of Plato and his colleagues its bane, as even theoretical physics bears incidental witness.
Yes, Larry, the educated elite who know better than everyone else what is good for them, so everyone should listen to them. I’ve encountered this attitude by Christians as well. They know the truth, so why bother listening to what anyone else has to say?
Educated elite? I’ve noticed a lot that you guys are sometimes Down on education. Why? G-d gave us our intellect to use it. I don’t understand this.
Con, we’re not down on education.
We’re down on arrogance. Too often, people who are well-educated and intelligent begin to view themselves as superior to everyone else. The video that Larry posted is evidence of that.
Also, I’m cynical about colleges where I believe students are taught how not to think but to conform to political correctness. In my opinion, only the hard sciences are worth studying in colleges these days.
Intellectual elites are the problem–intellectuals who think they are the elite.
So be educated. But don’t be smug.
I would point out your errors here – but you have demonstrated time and time again that you write what you want regardless of the truth and when your errors are pointed out – you move on to your next “attack” – so please give me a reason why I should respond to you (if not for the sake of the readers)
Tell me rabbi, how am I attacking you? By disagreeing with your premises?
When I say “attack” I mean any attempt to discredit Judaism as opposed to “defend” which would be any attempt to defend Christianity. The fact that you ignore the obvious breaches in your own house and try to find breaches in the house of Judaism is disturbing to me.
Rabbi, its not a matter of me trying to find or cause breaches in Judaism. I’m not trying to demolish Judaism. This site is leveling criticism at Christianity for not meeting certain criteria, and I’m noting that Judaism does no better based on these same criteria. Its not meant as an attack against you personally, or against anyone here, or Judaism. When you say, I’m not “defending” but attacking, I have brought much evidence which you have rejected, for various reasons, as not authoritative, I can say that’s fine. What do you want me to respond with?
Rabbi I gave widely accepted dates from NT scholarship to determine what I’ve said concerning these writings. http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Gospels-4th-Edition/dp/1598150189 (this is a source that relies on the Jesus Seminar.)
Paul’s epistles are the earliest texts, (60s ce) followed by Mark in 66-70 ce, Mathew in the late 70s, Luke-Acts, 70s-80s ce and John. John was written in the 90s CE. So, Within 30 years of the death of Jesus, it is not unreasonable to say that passages that apply to G-d in the Hebrew Bible, are applied interchangeably to Jesus in Paul’s epistles. By 90 the equation of Jesus and G-d, while noting Jesus’ subservience as son and servant to the father, is explicit. In what way, am I misrepresenting the sources or making errors here?
The gospel of the Hebrews bears similarity to John’s gospel, in that Jesus and his mother (identified with the Holy Spirit of G-d) are deemed to pre exist. The ebionite gospel calls the Holy Spirit “Christ” and says that the spirit entered Jesus at his baptism. These sources date in the mid to late 100s.
It’s also interesting that the sources which teach Christians their mode of behavior (the dos and dont’s) come from Paul. From the later synoptic texts, we see all of the information present that modern scholars today use to deduce the Judaism, and halacha of Jesus. Sources like the Didache and Didascalia (that contain even more sources for Christian ethical material) are later early 2nd century, and 3rd century sources. There is therefore definitely continuity of perspective in the Christian tradition on central questions, pre dating Constantine. The hypothesis that Paul, or later Gentiles changed Jesus and Christianity is untenable. Make of it what you will, but please don’t accuse me rabbi without substantial evidence extending beyond your say so.
I wrote on this subject – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/a-supplemental-history-of-the-charolites/
Brown repeatedly and casually makes the following statement:
4)” In the person of Yeshua — who was not a mere mortal — God’s Word/Son pitched His tent among us, while the Father remained enthroned in heaven.”
I dont think Brown ever runs to ground the fallacy of that statement.
What he is saying, is that the personage of Jesus the son of god, in spirit form, departed heaven and pitched “his tent”. What was the tent? Jesus the man. And unlike other manifestations of G-d in the Tanakh, This manifestation FUSED…permanently…to this “tent”. And instead of a physical metaphor with no overt relationship to G-d (A tent has no neshama) this physical joining is with a man, who does have a neshama and human nature.
So, this person of Jesus in spirit, according to Brown, left heaven in pure spirit form and returned back to heaven as a god-man fusion, a hypostatic union, which still exists to this day. He dragged his “tent” back to heaven and now god the father and god the holy spirit both have to commune and coexist with this “tent”.
So, this clearly constitutes A) change in “God” as a spirit, incorporeal in substance ONLY to that of a being in heaven that is now fused with the human being named Jesus. B) idolatry, since we are told to worship this new entity, Jesus the hybrid god-man, who never existed at Sinai and was deceptively held back from us in heaven the entire time.
Dr Brown and the church think they have found a loophole in the meaning of what is idolatry. They have not. They just have not taken the implications to it’s logical conclusion.
And what would you describe as ressurection to the world to come? Existing purely as a disembodied neshama?
Your question is not germane to my points at all.
If you truly believe in the physical resurrection of the dead to eternal life my question to you is most certainly pertinent, as you have to deal with the same kind of logistical questions with resurrection that Christians do with incarnation. If we are to live with G- d eternally in his presence, won’t his presence annul our existence? Will we, remaining as we are with our will and personality intact, in earthly bodies be transformed? Will we be going to higher and higher planes of knowledge of G-d? Will we by our resurrection cause a change in G-d’s nature in that we too are said to be made “in his image”?
We are Not to live with G- d eternally in his presence. This is a Xtian idea that man will be standing in front of G-d.
“If we are to live with G- d eternally in his presence, won’t his presence annul our existence?”
if a god does not fully exert his power can one see god with out direction?
and how can one be eternally in god’s presence when one is created and dependent on god?
if a god does not need to fully exert his power then why does he need to become anything? take on anything? leave his powers behind?
is he fully exerting his punishment powers on earth ? if yes, then why are we still in existence?
if his powers are not annulling the earths existence, then why is that ?
Con, you are changing the subject. The Torah spends very little explaining details of where’s, why’s, and how’s of the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, that means it’s not important to our worship of God, to how we live our lives on this earth. Why don’t you answer Blasater’s argument instead of looking for distractions?
CR– I’m not going to chase your rabbit. Address my points directly.
It is time for me to disabuse you of a notion. You seem to think that by not responding to our words, you are allowing us to stew in our own juices. You seem to think that the best response to an argument you deem silly is no response at all.
The rabbis taught that silence is akin to agreement. When we hear your silence, we assume you have been defeated. You cannot answer us on rational grounds because we have torn your defenses to shreds. You run away with your tail tucked between your legs, trying to maintain a semblance of superiority, of being above the fray, by refusing to re-engage. I am sorry to be so blunt and so unkind, by you ought to know how this appears to the audience who is following the conversation.
You have to do this, of course, because you cannot defend your faith based on reason. It is a faith based on faith (John 20:29).
Ours is a faith based on reason (Deuteronomy 4:35).
So, really, you never stood a chance. Reason will win out, every time.
Dina, I hope you know that I’m not tucking away, and that I realize this form of argument (not quitting until a question is resolved) is in the finest tradition. 🙂 I’m sorry if you felt my mention of resurrection was a rabbit hole, but its pertinent because G-d created an eternal being “in his image” that was meant to live in communion with him for all time. This does not create a change in G-d. so why should the doctrine of G-d’s word manifesting in the flesh? It wasn’t meant as a distraction, but an illustration.
Con, you should be responding to Blasater on this. I think you got confused. Nevertheless, on the fly, I’ll just quickly say that this is not how God revealed Himself at Sinai, and that is the only way we are allowed to worship Him. The idea of of God’s word manifesting in the flesh is not in the Torah.
and how can one be eternally in god’s presence when one is created and dependent on god? How was this true for Adam before he sinned?
What is your source that we were supposed to be eternally in God’s presence? Even so, why is this a contradiction?
If God is omnipresent then we are always in His presence, anyway.
do you believe that infinite power can enter the universe and earth?
do you believe that god EXPERIENCES , in person, the changes in his power when he enters universe and earth?
i say “changes” because you said “in god’s presence…” as if gods presence would destroy and take one out of existence.
since the earth still exists do you believe that god has adjusted his powers to keep the earth going? are these adjusted powers powers besides god?
so do you believe in powerful being and then ANOTHER version of his power for the universe and another version of his power for the earth and are all these versions eternal with god?
could a case for polytheism be made here?
you got the daddy god and then you got his LESSER powers WHICH are not equal to the daddy god’s powers and according to christianity god EXPERIENCES power loss while he is on earth.
The error I see in polytheism is that it uses the rules of logic established by men to say what the divine can’t or won’t do in a given situation, and so sees separate entities, or none, if exposed to any idea conceivable. Give a read to Lawrence Krauss’ a universe from nothing or watch his lecture on YouTube, if you want to see how an ancient polytheist (and a modern scientist by extension) sees G-d. The form has changed, ideology is the same.
If you read polytheistic polemic against monotheism, they all say things like “given your description of G-d as “above everything, including human intellect,” How do you assert he exists at all, or created anything, let alone gave commandments. In logic, G- d often becomes an abstraction. G-d does not have separate powers (like a created glory, to reveal himself) in Christian theology. There are not dual or tripple infinities in G-d. We would say there is one single infinite being, who manifests in 3 distinct persons.
Persons here means individual rational nature, (incorporeal) not a physical person with limitations that apply in everyday linguistic usage. An analogy would be the philosophical notion of thinker, thinking, and thought. There is one being, subsisting always in these three. I am a thinker (only I know 100% what I am thinking in my innermost thoughts, I can choose what to “reveal” and what not to at any given time.) I am always thinking, (perceiving, “revealing” what is mine to reveal, like my everyday revealed personality, it consists of what I choose to reveal) this is a distinct, but not a separate “person,” in G-d, because he does not change. He exists fully in these ways simultaneously.
G-d is not limited to philosophical catagries of change, or motion, or such. If I have my innermost person, and revealed person, it doesn’t have a separate will from my own revealed person, though it is distinct. Likewise we are used to saying “these are three people.” How many human natures are there actually, 3? No, there is only one human nature, despite several persons being actually present. we are incorrectly accustomed by habit to think of separate catagories of existence, especially when it comes to G-d.
Christians read the Tanakh and see that G-d exists alone in unapproachable light, and no one has seen him. But, we also know full well that G-d also speaks face to face, and reveals his will openly to man. It is simultaneously true to state both that G-d has never been, nor can he be seen, yet also to state that he has been. We say that’s two persons. It’s also testified by scripture that direct experience of G-d makes people fear tor their lives. It is philosophy, not G-d, that makes people say G-d can’t, or won’t do something.
G-d does not become less by incarnation, his very existence as creator dictated the very idea of less and more, one and many, limited and unlimited, indeed all conception and reality.
People have said that visions and dreams serve as the basis for G-d delivering prophecy to us. Tell me, when you dream, are you always aware you are dreaming? Have you had a dream where you felt pain like a nightmare? A dream Where you experienced life in the dream, as though you weren’t dreaming at all? Did this dreaming create a change in your nature? Did you cease to exist as you were in your bed while you slept? A dream is a world we create and enter, and it does not cause us harm. Why cant the one in whose image we are made, do what we do?
Infinite power can enter what it created yes, but this does not imply a change in G-d, just as a dream does not change the dreamer.
Deuteronomy 4, Con, Deuteronomy 4!
“There are not dual or tripple infinities in G-d. We would say there is one single infinite being, who manifests in 3 distinct persons.”
christians say that the 3 persons are not under the control of the other. each of them communicate and do things for each other. none of them need each other to exist. the god you worship seems more like a company.
you have PERSONS who COMMUNICATE. so they ARE conscious persons.
Deuteronomy 32:39 New International Version (NIV)
39 “See now that I myself am he!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
HOW many speakers are SPEAKING DEU 32:39?
are they SPEAKING as a SUBSET of trinity or as COMPLETE god?
you have CONSCIOUS gods who ‘talk thier minds’
who is speaking?
If you set aside what others say, Peter, Paul, and Mary etc., and you believe in what happened at Sinai, at the end of the day you either believe in what God said or what a man said. Jesus was a man, he even said so. You may believe and he may also claim he was god. Everyone at the time knew he was a man, some may even have thought there was some mysterious trinity. Still he was a man. I know this, god never claimed to be a man, only a man who some say claim to be a god, or others claim was god.
christians say that the 3 persons are not under the control of the other. each of them communicate and do things for each other. none of them need each other to exist. the god you worship seems more like a company.
Respectfully, that’s an incorrect statement. Apparently you haven’t heard of the doctrine of perichoresis? The persons are what G-d is, there was never a time when one did not exist, and the will of the triune G-d is one will. There are not three wills. The very idea of the trinity implies co dependence.
Christians, “man” says etc… What is gods claim? Perichoresis?
It’s clear you guys have zero interest in real dialogue. Your continual mockery and misconstruing of Christian beliefs demonstrates that. I have, sometimes, responded in kind, and for that I sincerely apologize. However, if all you can do is engage in self validation, and set up standards that not even your own tradition meets for validation, then there is no point to discussing.
Since Hashem gave Torah it is That Torah that sets a standard, not the words of men who authored an anti-Judaism philosophy. It is not a “standard” that is in question but an attempt to re-define the entire existence of Hashem. If the writers “Knew” this philosophy was the case then where did they learn it. It simply Cannot be found in Torah, nor anywhere in Tanach. It is but the imaginations of men. Because we do not accept, in any way such ideology, it is an effort in futility. It is not US who should question the validity but those who propose the question who should consider the Invalidity of such a question.
Con, that is about the most unfair accusation you’ve thrown at us so far. Jim and I and Rabbi B. have spent a considerable amount of time constructing careful responses to your arguments based on our best reasoning. Rabbi B. has even taken the time to post two articles addressing your comments, something he rarely does.
You are free to disagree with our position, but to say that “It’s clear you guys have zero interest in real dialogue” is beyond the pale.
Also your assertion that we misconstrue Christian beliefs is wrong because I’ve argued with a lot of Christians who disagree with your presentation of Christianity and who agree with the way I articulate their beliefs.
I am not mocking Christians, nor am I misconstruing their belief. At the end of the day Christians believe god is also a man, because a man claimed to be god and other men claimed a man was god.
Larry, scripture continually portrays G-d as speaking through limited creatures and phenomenon but he’s speaking with the full authority of the word of G-d. The difference as I see it, is that Judaism sees in these phenomenon an instance of a particular Shaliach speaking, whereas Christians see the same concept on an ontological level.
By using the term “co-dependance” suggest there are three (3) distinct entities. If the three are “one will” then when one entity was hungry and wanted to eat then the other two had a need to eat also. Therefore, all three would have the need to eat. It is so clearly obvious how utterly ridiculous this philosophy is.
is each he in trinity CONSCIOUS of it’s own power? or is it CONSCIOUS that it SHARES it’s power with the other he’s ? in other words jesus NEEDS the father and the father NEEDS jesus to see the universe? co DEPENDENCE?
how man “i’S” spoke ?
HOW many speakers are SPEAKING DEU 32:39
can you show where in nt the word anthropos can be used for someone 100 PERCENT man and god?
“People have said that visions and dreams serve as the basis for G-d delivering prophecy to us. Tell me, when you dream, are you always aware you are dreaming? Have you had a dream where you felt pain like a nightmare? A dream Where you experienced life in the dream, as though you weren’t dreaming at all? Did this dreaming create a change in your nature? Did you cease to exist as you were in your bed while you slept? A dream is a world we create and enter, and it does not cause us harm. Why cant the one in whose image we are made, do what we do?
Infinite power can enter what it created yes, but this does not imply a change in G-d, just as a dream does not change the dreamer”
what are you saying? that god had a dream that satan took his life away for 3 days and 3 nights? god had a dream that he lost control of his life? its just a DREAM and there is NO power loss?
By way of a very very crude analogy, creation is like a dream of Hashem, and he has absolute sovereignty and control of it, he can enter it, be subject to its laws, but still be in absolute control. If you look at John’s gospel, Jesus is in control the entire time. He knows he’s going to be crucified, he knows he will be handed over, and by whom, etc. Satan didn’t kill Jesus, Jesus gave his own life.
Jesus, the man who claims to be in control of the universe. The man who claims to save the world. The man who claims to die for you.
but isn’t god PLAYING games? seriously this looks like a game. does he snap out of his DREAM? let me explain. god knows ALL languages, right? when he dreams he dreams of being a boy and learning hebrew. BUT how is that REALITY? how does the REALITY DILUTE with dream? it is a GAME, right?
Crude analogy isn’t the word for it. No matter How you want to define it, the idea is Strictly a man-made idea. It is simply an attempt to make a pagan idea “Fit” into a religion, a religion that is ever so far from Judaism.
this looks like one is playing dead when in reality his soul is moving about, driving cars, cooking food, flying and everything . so god , who has NO flesh, was playing dead. if he had KNOWLEDGE of DEATH , then DEATH over powered and over took him
did DEATH over power and overtake god?
what life did jesus give? to whom? jesus GIVES his eyes and is STILL able to SEE , then what did he GIVE? do you see ? admit for once that jesus LOST control of his sight. admit it and then the truth shall set you free.
“Infinite power can enter what it created yes, but this does not imply a change in G-d, just as a dream does not change the dreamer.”
so god can be infinitely powerful while at the same time he dreams about experiencing the symptoms of kidney failure?
“I am a thinker (only I know 100% what I am thinking in my innermost thoughts, I can choose what to “reveal” and what not to at any given time.) I am always thinking, (perceiving, “revealing” what is mine to reveal, like my everyday revealed personality, it consists of what I choose to reveal) this is a distinct, but not a separate “person,” in G-d, because he does not change. He exists fully in these ways simultaneously”
you worship gods who THINK for themselves and according to trinitarians each person is INDEPENDENT of the other. you are talking about EXPRESSIONS and thoughts you are fully control of and act out. you worship something called “the word” and this has a mind of it’s own.
That’s incorrect. The word is the “image” of the father. Jesus is subject to the will of the father, he carries it out. His temptations, doubts, etc. are of his human nature. You can mock all you want, but the way your presenting is not how orthodox Christians define the trinity. What you are describing is a kind of social trinitarianism, which quickly becomes tri theism, and it’s not the traditional view amongst any of the mainline Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox traditions.
CR wrote: “The word is the “image” of the father. Jesus is subject to the will of the father, he carries it out. His temptations, doubts, etc. are of his human nature. ”
Once again we have to run this statement to it’s logical conclusion.
Okay, so the church teaches that the father and the son are of the same substance (“god”. Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, etc..) got it.
But Jesus is positionally subject to god the father’s will…got it..
Here is the problem…one of many actually. Jesus is a hypostatic union that is 100%man,100%god. And therefore, Jesus the man HAD NO FREE WILL!
When satan allegedly took Jesus on the flight and offered him this and that, Jesus the man would have ZERO ability to accept what was offered and sin. The man Jesus being 100% man could not have sinned while being fully 100% god at the same time. Remember that Jesus was not just half and half, or even a mixture…so the sinning portion would not be present with god. He was 100% god-man.. Jesus had not one ounce of free will. So, what is the ramification?
Simply put, Jesus was a rigged set-up. Jesus cheated. Or put another way, the church’s god the father, created a being who was supposed to do the law perfectly (he didnt, set that aside for now) on our behalf. But he wasnt a human being in the sense of all of the rest of us. We WILL SIN. Jesus COULD NEVER SIN…not even if he wanted to. I can never relate to such a being! In fact, if god were to place within me, 100% god nature, the same as Jesus had, I WOULD BE PERFECT TOO! I would not be able to sin either….so what does a hybrid god-man incarnation prove? NOTHING.
Jesus was no more than a creation of god….one who was perfect by cheating.
If I may ask Yitro, does G-d himself have free will? Is G-d himself capable of, repenting for example? Can G-d be tempted?
CR- Asked :”If I may ask Yitro, does G-d himself have free will? Is G-d himself capable of, repenting for example? Can G-d be tempted?
Of course G-d has free will bit Jesus does not, he is totally subservient, as was witnessed in the garden. G-d can not sin, therefore He will never need to repent. G-d can not be tempted and neither can Jesus be tempted since he is a hypostatic union with G-d. It is impossible by definition. If I had G-d within me, I could not be tempted either. And I would no longer have free will.
Could Jesus have sinned in theory? No. See, it’s rigged.
I don’t think it’s possible for us to understand what it means for God to have free will, but of course He does.
C.R.In the spirit of great questions lead to great answers. you asked:
“does G-d himself have free will? Is G-d himself capable of, repenting for example? Can G-d be tempted?” How would christians answer this question about God, Holy spirit, Jesus. Christians claim to have only one god I know but this will require 9 answers.
Jesus’ subservience, and “inability to sin” would be no different than G-d’s own, ability or inability to do so, or even Adam’s before he sinned. We are told in scripture that G-d has repented of certain things he thought to do to humans, has he changed his mind? The emphasis you lay on simplicity in G-d, is contradicted by G-d’s own actions and “appearances” in scripture, that’s the point. You can use allegorical interpretations until the cows come home about how these are forms of anthropomorphism, about how the Torah speaks in human terms, about a Shaliach etc. but G-d shows himself as one, yet complex in scripture. People say G-d doesn’t reveal himself as form, then he does it, and we result to allegory to explain it away. If you want to call christian theology speculation, ok, but its based on scripture. One central tenant of Christianity is the mystery of the trinity. We believe in G-d’s unity, we defend it, we have clarified that Jesus alone is not worshiped, yet this isn’t monotheism enough. Its ironic, because religions that don’t base their faith on the Bible are deemed better at being monotheistic without it.
Monotheistic doesn’t necessarily mean true or good.
CR wrote: “Jesus’ subservience, and “inability to sin” would be no different than G-d’s own, ability or inability to do so, or even Adam’s before he sinned. We are told in scripture that G-d has repented of certain things he thought to do to humans, has he changed his mind? The emphasis you lay on simplicity in G-d, is contradicted by G-d’s own actions and “appearances” in scripture, ”
You are making a category error. Changing His mind is His perogative when a given lesson is taught. Changing His nature, or adding humanity to His nature is something he wont do.
G-d changing His mind over the destruction of Ninveh, or anyother similar situation, is not the same condition logically as G-d changing His nature, from one of pure incorporeal infinite to one that includes a hybrid god-nature human-nature in the form of the Nazarene.
The other anthropomorphic references are you, making G-d an Angel, not G-d saying so. Where did G-d ever declare “I am an Angel”? Again, you body of text you cite as proof, are mystical events. Yet there are over 40 declarative statements by G-d of His solitary Oneness.
1st principal of hermeneutics? The clear passages shed light on the unclear. You dont make doctrine off the mystical. You take the clear declarative to make doctrine and shed light on the mystical.
25 “Of old You (Hashem) founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 “Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
27 “But You are the same,….
Here we plainly see the unchanging nature of G-d….Even though the heavenly bodies were out and are changed. G-d does not change. He does not add human nature in an incarnation event, otherwise he would be changing His garment and therefore His word would be untrue.
Excellent, Blasater. I especially loved the first principle of hermeneutics.
you totally left out the holy spirit? For the record I hardly find God of the torah simplistic.
The complexity is what I expect and am not disappointed. What I find simplistic is what you call christian scirpture, or the New Testment. The distortions, denials, half truths and cherry picking scripture to make a point here or there.
I wouldn’t call that evil but it is what men do.
CR wrote: “The word is the “image” of the father. Jesus is subject to the will of the father, he carries it out. His temptations, doubts, etc. are of his human nature. ”
you have minds which are CONSCIOUS of each other. who told you 3 conscious minds = 1 single mind? the son KNOWS what the father DOESN’t ( does the father know what it is to be flesh? no, otherwise the word “distinct” would be meaningless) does the sons conscious mind know the hour ? so these conscious persons are aware of each other and communicate with one another. christians say they give thier love to one another IMPLYING conscious minds doing ACTION verbs to one another. to be subject has to have AWARENESS of what one is subject to . to carry something out one has to UNDERSTAND and know . the father is not subject to the will of the son, the IS not carrying out the WILL as the son would carry it out each god is AWARE of it’s own doings . this is why they are distinct gods.
‘Hear O Israel, the Lord Your God is One (echad not yochid).
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might.’
‘He that hateth me hateth my Father also.’
‘For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me.’
The persons of Father and Son are distinguishable but inseparable, One cannot be known or perceived or loved without the other also being known, perceived and loved. In this there is only One true God, and One Who reveals Him – the Messiah, His Messenger and His Word.
(Sorry, but I haven’t seen anything else here worth replying to, after it’s given a little thought).
You wrote a contradiction.
You wrote that God is one. Then you wrote, “there is only One true God, AND One Who reveals Him” (my emphasis). You can’t say something is one and then put in the same sentence with the word “and.”
CS wrote :”‘Hear O Israel, the Lord Your God is One (echad not yochid).”
Charles you are showing your ignorange of hebrew and contending with your maker.
When we count 1, 2, 3 in hebrew, do we do so as yachid, shnayim, shlosha???
No of course not., it is echad, shnayim, shlosha…..
So why are you contending with your maker who is clearly expressing Himself as a NUMBER….what is the number? 1….
Just because because echad can in context can mean a set of something, it by no means can be done so in the shema. Unless you contend with your maker who asserts his singular 1 throughout Torah.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, and of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. (Was Jesus there? NO)
You are the ones who have been shown, so that you will know that God is the Supreme Being, and there is none other besides Him! (Was Jesus introduced at Sinai? NO)
Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other! (Was Jesus mentioned here? NO)
See, now, that I, I am He — and no god is with Me. (This would been a good one to introduce Jesus…WHERE IS HE?)
There is none holy as the Lord, for there is none beside Thee; neither is there any Rock like our God. (The church says Jesus sits besides G-d at His right hand….Tanakh says NO!)
So that all the nations of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other! (Where is Jesus? There is NO other)
To whom then will you liken God? To what likeness will you compare unto Him? (Charles says: I will compare you to Jesus!)
“To whom then will you liken Me, that I should be his equal?” says the Holy One. (Charles says: Jesus is your equal!)
I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory will I not give to another.(Charles says: NOT TRUE G-d…you will in fact give your glory to Jesus!)
Now, in light of these CLEAR declarations of G-d to His solitary unity….do you still want to contend with G-d over the shema? Echad in the shem means 1..the number 1. Not 3-in-1.
Had G-d intended the shema to indicate a complex unity, he would have completed the task such that all who heard Him at Sinai would have forevermore taught their children that G-d was 3 in 1. That G-d…had a complex unity. But that….did not…occur.
You are the clay telling the maker what He has made.
No one here disputes God is only One. However if Divine Unity is indeed simple and solitary, how is the Divine image and likeness expressed in a binary relationship?
I and my word are one, distinct yet unified. This being true of a single human person, how much more might it be true of the Almighty and Ineffable, Many of the other statements are indeed crass misrepresentations of what was Abraham and Moses’ faith, not just what is found in the NT.
Who is HaShem’s Shepherd? חֶרֶב, עוּרִי עַל-רֹעִי
Who is David’s Lord, and HaShem’s right hand man? Were ever such exalted words spoken of created angels? נְאֻם יְהוָה, לַאדֹנִי – שֵׁב לִימִינִי; עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ, הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ.
Who but HaShem can redeem Israel? Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Why then does Jacob attribute redemption to a mere creature, in your terms? The ones guilty of turning the Creator into a creature (and thus preferring anti-anthropomorphic notions of pagan philosophers before the Tenach) are those who will not recognise His validated manifestations for what they are plainly stated to be.
No wonder the Encyclopedia Judaica makes the outrageous and blasphemous claim, in gross violation of Deut.4, ‘The
actual worship of superhuman beings, such as angels, is not explicitly
proscribed in the Bible‘, and similarly the targums of Jonathan and Jarchi invoke angelic participation in the creation of man in their image.
Accusers of idolatry should always consider their own position carefully.
Charles, your outrageous and blasphemous claim is in violation of Deuteronomy 4. How do you resolve the contradiction?
Charles, you’re making it so complicated. Deut 4 tells us how and Whom to worship. It’s very simple. This isn’t rocket science (or Greek philosophy).
CS wrote: “No one here disputes God is only One. ”
Of course, but adding the human Nazarene to your godhead negates that from the start. By definition you have added human nature to the godhead.
CS wrote: “I and my word are one, distinct yet unified. This being true of a single human person”
The problem again is you are not factoring the mixing of natures. A single person may have different distinct properties that are part of human nature. Fine. But your description of G-d is a hybridization of two natures. Another “crass” example would be a man joining his nature with an animal, say a dog for example. Clearly two different “natures”.
You then have a litany of eisegetically derived meanings again, seeing what you wish to see through the eyes of your NT narrative. Jacob does not attribute redemption to a creature. That is absurd. Once again you are making doctrine from obscure passages and mystical events. That is not the way doctrine is made.
Regarding Targums, you again dont understand the documents you are reading. Targums are translations and contain midrashim.
Have you studied Pardes? Much of what the church cherry picks to “prove” the Jews guilty of polytheism or teaching “the same thing” as the church, are taken from midrash, remez or sod. The deeper insights. But as much as they may seem to backup a church claim, it does no such thing. Especially when the peshat or plain literal meaning is understood. Peshat is ALWAYS the primary meaning and can not be overridden by midrash, remez or sod.
an you answer the following questions with a yes or no
1. jesus’ is a CONSCIOUS person?
2. the father is a conscious person?
3. the father is greater than jesus?
4. the trinity is greater than the father?
Synonyms Examples Word Origin
last; furthest or farthest; ending a process or series:
the ultimate point in a journey; the ultimate style in hats.
maximum; decisive; conclusive:
the ultimate authority; the ultimate weapon.
highest; not subsidiary:
ultimate goal in life.
basic; fundamental; representing a limit beyond which further progress, as in investigation or analysis, is impossible:
the ultimate particle; ultimate principles.
the ultimate consequences; the ultimate cost of a project.
not to be improved upon or surpassed; greatest; unsurpassed:
the ultimate vacation spot; the ultimate stupidity.
the final point; final result.
a fundamental fact or principle.
the best, greatest, or most extreme of its kind.
5. in light of the definition of the word ULTIMATE, i repeat question 4 again,
4. the trinity is greater than the father?
Larry you are (likely unintentionally) misconstruing Christian beliefs. It’s not malicious, I hope, but the habitual theme here, is “we don’t really care how Christians Actually practice or define their faith.” In other words, your mind is made up, before the discussion even starts. You have already consigned Hashem to the realm of apophatic theology, even though scripture explicitly describes G-d differently. You point to Deuteronomy and say “see what G-d says he won’t do? He won’t reveal himself as a form!” But then, G-d goes and does exactly what you say he won’t, habitually. G-d is always sending his word through some limited manifestation, some form, yet you say, he doesn’t want to be recognized this way. Christians even agree with you in that to consign G- d to the form of Jesus, or to limit G-d to operation through Jesus the man, is idolatrous. Judaism does not care about this fact, despite its importance in Christian understanding.
Help me out here, are you denying that your belief that Jesus a man, is god is not based on the fact he told you so and others who were his homies, people who followed him, also said so?
There you go again, Con, accusing someone of misconstruing Christian belief. Stop pretending that you speak on behalf of all of Christendom.
Confused Reader, your problem is that you are creating a false dichotomy with these passages that you claim G-d “took on flesh” or “took on a form.” These angelic appearances, every single one of them that you dispute with us, (Abraham and the 3 angels, Jacob wrestling an angel, Moses speaking with the angel of the Lord, Joshua speaking to the captain of the Lord of hosts, etc.) all of these passages can be reconciled as referring to an ANGEL of Hashem speaking on behalf of Hashem, similar to a prophet!
Instead, you isolate these passages and abuse their context, falsely asserting that the only possible explanation for these passages is that G-d “must have assumed the form of a man.” Have you ever stopped to think about the possibility that these anonymous angels could be exactly that? Literally angels who speak on behalf of G-d rather than G-d Himself?
The Jewish interpretation of these angelic encounters is not at odds with G-d’s explicit commands to Israel concerning how He wishes to be worshipped, which is explicitly outlined in Deut 4:9-19. Hashem explicitly commands Israel not to worship Him in any form and to teach our children this throughout our generations.
But your interpretation causes you to ignore G-d’s explicit commands in Deut 4:9-19. Do you really think that G-d would make such a point to forbid the worship of any form, just to say to us later “well actually, I’m going to take on the form of a man and I want you to acknowledge that guy as me and worship him. He’s my son and he’s also me!”
Your interpretation makes G-d into a liar, CR. If you don’t get this by now, then I’m afraid you never will…
Instead, you isolate these passages and abuse their context, falsely asserting that the only possible explanation for these passages is that G-d “must have assumed the form of a man.” Have you ever stopped to think about the possibility that these anonymous angels could be exactly that? Literally angels who speak on behalf of G-d rather than G-d Himself?
I personally, have no problem understanding your explanation at all Yehuda, because I used to hold your opinion. I was not raised trinitiarian. The problem with the interpretation you give Yehuda is not that it can’t be reconciled with scripture via the halacha, and traditional reading, it absolutely can, I agree with you.
The problem is, every polytheistic culture conceives of “the gods” as being of a totally created and temporal nature, no overarching will, no commandments, etc. When you look at the Gnostics for example, they believed in one absolutely simple divinity with no parts, (which they deemed unknowable, like Plato and Aristotle, some considered it good) then they believed in an evil demuirge angel that revealed knowledge about this unknown being. This angel was called an Aeon, or an emanation from the true, unknown G-d.
2 or more entities were unavoidable in this system, whether they were viewed as creations of one G-d, or little g gods, just as in Judaism you have G-d and the angels, G-d and the Kavod, Saadia’s kavod nivra, Philos logos, or the active intellect in Rambam etc.
True, G-d’s absolute unity is superficially maintained, but the idolatry survives, because Pagans believe in the immanent power of the intermediate angel like beings, who carry out tasks, and worship them as though they are gods, and though G-d’s absolute unity is “understood” G-d himself, as scripture defines him, is deemed to have no relevance to humans or a will to be carried out, because, given his nature, he is unknowable.
Christians see these passages in the Tanakh with “angels” in them, and note that the word simply means messenger, and that this word, alone, isn’t indicative of the beings ontological status. We then look at the content of the passages in question, (say the particular angel bears G-d’s name,) then we look at the content. Joshua 5s captain of Hashem’s host, for example. In this passage, Joshua sees a man. He asks “are you for us, or against us?” The “angel” (the word simply means messenger,) gives his identity, thereby prompting Joshua to fall flat on his face, to fear, and to remove his shoes. This is just like what happened at the bush, and at Sinai. Christians see this messenger and say “Hold it! Only G-d is deserving of this kind of reverence, therefore this is a Malach, that is a manifestation of G-d, that is subservient to his will, but it cant be a created messenger.
Yehuda, the issue is, if these created beings are worthy of the kind of authority and reverence that they receive in scripture as creations, then idolatry is 100% free to flourish. Your interpretation makes perfect sense, if the person you are speaking to already accepts your fundamental premises about the nature of G-d.
Con, another thing to consider is that the Torah doesn’t describe God’s nature much but does tell us Whom and how to worship and whom and how NOT to worship. We can philosophize from here to eternity about God’s nature, but it will avail us nothing. All we have is God’s commandments and we must observe them as He taught us to.
Over and over, Con, you refuse to confront Deuteronomy 4. It is the clearest of clear teachings in the Torah. It teaches that your type of worship is 100% ASSUR (forbidden in Hebrew). Your argument is with God, really.
Confused Reader, I will now expose your faulty interpretation of Joshua 5 and disseminate your argument limb by limb, exposing the polytheistic nature of your understanding of these supposed “pre-incarnate jesus angels” that you christians are so obsessed with.
You seem impressed by the fact that Joshua “fell flat on his face” when the captain of Hashem’s host gives his identity. I’ve heard this faulty hermeneutic before. Let’s look at another passage in Daniel chapter 8 and lets see if you come to the same conclusion concerning his angelic encounter!
Daniel 8:15. Now it came to pass when I, Daniel, perceived that vision, that I sought understanding, and behold, there stood before me one who appeared like a man.
Daniel 8:16. And I heard the voice of a man in the midst of the Ulai, and he called and said, “Gabriel, enable this one to understand the vision.”
Daniel 8:17. And he came beside the palace where I was standing, and when he came, I became frightened, **AND I FELL UPON MY FACE.** Then he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”
Wow! Daniel FELL UPON HIS FACE when he heard the voice of this man! According to your logic conceding Joshua’s encounter with the captain of the Lord’s host, this man speaking to Daniel must also be “god in the flesh aka a pre-incarnate jesus angel!”
Except the text clearly identifies this angel as **GABRIEL**
I guess Gabriel is jesus, too! Right Confused Reader?!
Like I said, Confused Reader, you and your christian friend ISOLATE PASSAGES AND TAKE THEM OUT OF CONTEXT! Unfortunately for you, this angel was NAMED. What you christians do is take advantage of unnamed angels and dub them “pre-incarnate jesus angels.” That is precisely what you have done with Joshua 5. But when we look elsewhere in scripture, your interpretation fails the test of consistency!
Moreover, you seem to obsess on the idea that an angel “bears the name of G-d.” I could argue that Gabriel “bears the name of G-d” because his name has G-d’s name in it! Does that make Gabriel G-d?! Chas V’Shalom! But lets take this a step further…
According to your interpretation, because these angels “bear the name of G-d,” this makes them “pre-incarnate jesus angels,” which would be according to your understanding, the “son person” of the trinitarian godhead.
Lets go through all the different “names” that this supposed “pre-incarnate jesus angel” bears, shall we?
In Genesis 18, the man who appears before Abraham is referred to as a man, more specifically “men” as he is counted as equal among the other two individuals who are explicitly referred to as ANGELS in Genesis 19. You like to argue that he is called “Hashem” because he speaks on behalf of Hashem and you conflate this, but we can both agree that man “in question” is called a man and not an angel explicitly in the text.
In Genesis 32, this man who Jacob encounters is note only referred to as a man, but also “elohim.” The word “elohim” in not exclusive to divinity and is also used to refer to Moses in Exodus 7:1. However, Hosea 12 also refers to this “man” who Jacob wrestled with as an ANGEL. This is in contrast to the “man” who Abraham encountered. Now here’s where things get interesting…
You undoubtedly understand the “angel of the Lord” referred to in Exodus 23 as referring to your “pre-incarnate jesus angel.” Interestingly, the man who Abraham encountered in Genesis 18 is not referred to as “The angel of the Lord.” Also, the angel who Jacob wrestled with is not referred to in this manner either. So at this point, we have at least THREE DIFFERENT NAMES for your “pre-incarnate jesus angels.” Clear as mud?
Well it gets better! Because you understand the “Captain of the Lord’s Host” as also referring to your supposed “pre-incarnate jesus angel” in Joshua 5! And once again, this “Captain of the Lord’s Host” is not referred to as “the angel of the Lord.” He isn’t even referred to by the name “malach” (angel/messenger) at all!
So lets recap: You believe that your reincarnate jesus angel goes by these names:
1. man (Gen 18) (Gen 32)(Joshua 5)
2. elohim (Gen 32)
3. angel/messenger (Hosea 12)
4. The angel of the Lord (Exodus 23)
5. The captain of the Lord’s Host (Joshua 5)
This is only a few select passages, but this gives us a good picture of your views on what you believe refers to “pre-incarnate jesus angels.” This begs the question…Why is there so much inconsistency between the names? Why do you assert that “The captain of the Lord’s Host” who spoke with Joshua is synonymous with the angel who Jacob fought with? What links the two together? It certainly isn’t their names! Unless you want to go off the idea that they are both called a “man.” But we both know that is an EXTREMELY weak case…
What you present is a problem for your trinitarian outlook. If jesus is supposedly the “son” portion of the trinity according to your outlook, then how do you delineate the names? I could easily argue that “The captain of the Lord’s host” and the angel who Jacob wrestled with are completely different! This could lead you to have a “quadritarian” or even a “quintitarian” view of scripture! How do we distinguish which angels are your “pre-incarnate jesus angels” and which ones are “just regular old angels”? Clearly we cannot do it by name according to your standard!
See the problem?
I wonder what you think of the idea that “the devil” (in Christian beliefs) is not just an angel, but the chief angel that led 1/3 of all angels to rebel against God? Demons can inhabit a human body and overrule or dominant man, yet a person can “cast them out” from other persons. The devil can manifest himself as a man and he could tempt Jesus (and I am wondering what the devil meant when he said that he would come back to Jesus at another time?). Can the devil deceive a person and say that he is an “angel of The Lord) and appear as God to that person? If one believes that the devil as an angel can be manifested, what makes that angel different from other angels?
I’m not saying that I speak on behalf of all Dina, you are the ones telling Christians they are not monotheists.
What does this have to do with I said? I accused you of representing your beliefs as though they are the only correct ones. I have spoken to a lot of Christians who disagree. A lot of ex-Christians raised in the faith have views that differ from yours as well, like Larry. Who are you to decide what Christian beliefs are right or wrong?
If a Christian tells me that Jesus is 100% human and 100% God then I’ll explain to him why he’s wrong. For you to come along and tell me that that Christian is misconstruing his beliefs is just plain wrong.
That has nothing to do with the fact that Judaism views Christianity as idolatrous.
Many Christians (like many people of all traditions) have not studied doctrine in depth, and many do misconstrue the beliefs. You would say the same about some Jews and their views, I am sure,
All religious Jews who believe the Torah has a Divine Author agree on the fundamentals of our faith. The only differences between various sects are, basically, hair splitting. The differences between devout Christians pertain to foundations of your faith, like is Jesus God or not.
So, no, I wouldn’t say that religious Jews misconstrue our beliefs.
By the way, that is a HUGE difference between Christianity and Judaism.
You wrote that God is one. Then you wrote, “there is only One true God, AND One Who reveals Him” (my emphasis). You can’t say something is one and then put in the same sentence with the word “and.”
Yes, Dina you can. Its an ancient abuse of language to say you cant. If I say there is one man, there are 3 men. How many human natures do they have? Are they different categories of being? No! They all have one human nature. All humans have one human nature, The first man, had two persons, 1 nature.
Totally not following, Con. I think you’re abusing language by using the word “and” incorrectly.
god is a he and he ARE 3
i are god and i are 3
there is no one besides me and i are 3
why USE SINGULAR present INDICATIVE “is” when you say
“is” is referring to 1 PERSON
but then you say “god is 3″
why use ” is” , why not “god are three”
“god is SPEAKING”
who ARE speaking ?
who IS speaking ?
THEY are SPEAKING ? and they are 1 ?
if EACH person is (are?) speaking then HOW many ARE acting/speaking ?
“If I say there is one man, there are 3 men. How many human natures do they have? ”
but god are 3 CONSCIOUSNESS, NOT 1 consciousness.3 minds , NOT 1 mind. 3 SPEAKERS , not 1 SPEAKER. each PERSON actualize it’s thought. jesus TALKS to the father as “i” “the father is (are?) GREATER than i”
this is ONE speaker.
the father speaks , ” this is (are?) my son ”
2 minds, not 1 mind. 2 speakers, not 1 speaker. not a NATURE which speaks, a PERSON speaks . not 1 NATURE speaking .
who SPOKE ? nature spoke? 1 nature spoke? a he spoke.
each consciousness knows it’s own DOMAIN and that’s why there is DISTINCTION between the persons. NO dilution. are 3 ghosts 1 ghost? ghosts don’t have human nature.
“All humans have one human nature, The first man, had two persons, 1 nature.”
adam is adam
cain is adam
1 human nature. now replace “adam” with the pronoun “he”
adam and cain become 1 he/ 1 person.
One problem is that Christians (since the “beginning” have and do) define actual practice or faith in a “multitude of ways”. Orthodoxy is often in the mind of the beholder. While some Orthodox consider Pilate and Emperor Constantine saints, others considered them as an enemy of either Jesus or the Church. If in your mind they (Jews or at least the majority on this blog) have “already consigned Hashem to the realm of apophatic theology”, is it not ok for them to disagree with your assessment? And is it not ok for them to define their practice and their faith as they prefer to define it?
Can you likewise show that your mind “was not already made up before the discussion even started”? I thought that you had “grown” or that you might even be considered as fair and tolerant, but it may be fair to say that you have instead tended to alienate, rather than to enlighten or to understand “the other”. Have you wondered if perhaps that you have spoken much and listened little? Have you thought (in your quiet time) about what some meant by their feeling that you seemingly showed arrogance or elitism? It seems like months back, I warned you of that danger. That at times you might have been more of a concerned than a careful reader. Have you honestly (in your own heart) felt that you truly answered their questions or listened to their answers?
Yedidiah I was not raised a trinitarian, and have looked into conversion to Judaism before. I respect Judaism. I have tried to learn and incorporate the noachide path, but, in my study of the histories of both Judaism, and Christianity, and also of various polytheisms, with their diversities, I have noted similarities that are too close to be accidental, or “heretical,” because they cross borders of a given tradition and even extend across time.
I’m very aware of how important the oneness of G-d is in the Torah, and one of the points I’ve stressed is that Christians, though they are trinitarians and worship Jesus, they have defended the oneness, sought removal of idols, and define their faith such that it is understood by the majority that G-d is not to be limited to operation through Jesus, any more than faith in Moses’ prophecy limits G-d to being G-d to one group, namely Israel.
I don’t want Jews to become Christians, we desperately need the wisdom and work of the Jewish people in this world, but in damning Christianity as idolatrous when so much in it is derivative from Judaism, it causes more harm than it solves. People say Christian texts are full of misuse and “alteration,” but much of its diversity in interpretation and use is attested (you mentioned the non Masoretic variants, that’s one example.) I’m not setting scripture in black and white relief. I know that readings from both traditions can be different, but still legitimate. Take the Logos concept as the Son of G-d found in Christianity. Philo, Maimonides, Saadia Gaon, and Gersonides, all have notions that are but a stones throw from a logos as found in a text like John 1:1, though these thinkers stress the allegorical nature of such ideas.
The Active intellect/logos is most clearly reflected in Moses’ prophecy in Judaism, which is why works like Deuteronomy carry the authority of the Torah, and word of G-d. The Logos/son idea did not originate with the Christians. And it has not disappeared in Judaism itself. I understand that Moses is not worshipped as a manifestation of G-d, but the effect (namely that his word carries eternal weight for Jews) is the same in Judaism, as it is for Christians with Jesus’ words. The point is too, that although Jesus is prayed to, it is always within the context of his obedience to his father G-d, and not self oriented. Trinitarianism is Shituf (which some authorities accept,) but not in the sense of a separate power from G-d cooperating with him. G-d is the one power, who operates as 3 persons. A team of three spokes on one wheel with unified purpose. If Judaism can see monotheism in a faith like Islam, or in a philosopher like Aristotle, that does not look to the Biblical text itself for any authority, how can it not see monotheism in a religion that literally draws on degrees of historical continuity across different times, thinkers, and contexts, (with similar ideas and emphases both in Jewish and Christian traditions.) I mean, think of it like this. Jesus (if he is an idol,) is the only idol that Judaism can point to and say “Aha! See! Even your Jesus says I should stay loyal to the Torah.”
Con, you wrote: “In damning Christianity as idolatrous when so much in it is derivative from Judaism, it causes more harm than it solves.”
Tell me, who has been harmed by our condemnation of idolatry? And how? (I mean, beside for your hurt feelings.)
Although it’s irrelevant. The truth is the truth and we will continue to stand up for it, and let chips fall where they may.
Dina, Judaism has within itself all the ingredients necessary to make a Christianity, and a christian theology. You don’t need the Christians, or their tradition, for a theology of G-d, the Word, and the Holy Spirit to emerge from Judaism. You don’t need Christians to believe that a human can join the ranks of the angels, IE eternity with G-d, or that such a person can “come back” etc. You don’t need Christianity to posit a Messiah who suffers and dies, It can all emerge from Judaism without Christians and Christianity in existence. So, if its idolatry, that idolatry is effectively not stemmed by Judaism, or Torah observance itself. There is enough similarity between the two traditions, that either of them could give rise to the other theology. If you only had Christianity in existence, if the right set of circumstances existed, a theology closely resembling rabbinic Judaism could arise from it. Similarly a Christian like movement (Can and has) arisen from a religiously observant Judaism. You effectively don’t need any foreign influence from non Jews to create a Christianity. If its idolatrous, then the potential for it lies within Judaism itself. That’s what I mean by problematic.
“There is enough similarity between the two traditions, that either of them could give rise to the other theology. If you only had Christianity in existence, if the right set of circumstances existed, a theology closely resembling rabbinic Judaism could arise from it.”
I cannot count the amount of times I’ve heard the same about the similarities. Apparently if a person doesn’t live the life of a Jew he can assume this to be true. Far from it. I just wonder, who was it that taught you about Judaism. Was your comparative religion studies done in a university setting alone. If you hadn’t received a teaching from a competent Rabbi I contend you haven’t grasped the concepts. From what I’ve seen of university teaching on Judaism it comes from the Xtian perspective first. They gain their knowledge, Not by “learning” Torah first, but by Xtian studies first. This clouds the understanding since there are too many preconceived ideas to begin with. There is a loss of clarity. It reminds me of the story brought by R’ Amnon Yitzhak who tells of a professor who wants to understand Talmud. He tells of the two men who fell down a chimney and how the professor cannot grasp the concept. Therefor, in conclusion there is NO way on earth that a “rabbinic Judaism” can spawn from Xtianity. You can try and minimize the national revelation to the nth degree but it IS the cornerstone that supports everything that follows. Xtianity would not be able to spawn Mitzvot that are chukim, unless you assume a spawned Judaism devoid of Mitzvot. How could it then be called Judaism. Your argument leaves much to be desired.
Yes, Israel came out of that environment that you mention and that was a constant theme in the “OT”; Israelites kept going back to their pagan roots or back to Egyptian theologies (lambs as gods or gold bulls or worship of snakes). They often chose the “Tammuz or the ba’alim or Ba’alim of their neighbors. But there were prophets who kept saying “come back to Sinai”, such as the one who said choose between God and Baal.
Yes, Christianity could have come about if no Judaism or no Israel ever existed. You seem often to minimize the influence (while appreciating) of Babylon and Assyria, of the Ptolemy & Seleucids, the Hellenistic & Roman and pagan influences on Christianity. This is not denied by the early Church fathers, but it is now an embarrassment to “later day fathers”. Why such influence of the mystery religions & Gnosticism on Christians to a greater extent that you claim on Jews? From whence came Marcion who claimed his father knew Paul personally and who believed “the Christ” had neither a Jewish mother nor father and who was one who criticized the “Judaizers” for perverting the faith? Why such influence of Homer on Mark, but not Jewish writers? The logos (which you seem to believe arose from Israelite shepherds and out of the desert environment(?) of the great Israelite philosophers(?), rather than from the long history of Greek thinkers and intellectuals) may be a implicit interpretation of “OT” by Christians, but it is explicitly promoted by Christian texts, whether canonical or not. Paraphrasing someone, there are some who go from mysticism to interpretation of the plain words or they start from the mystic and then develope a doctrine to promote their mysticism, rather than using the plain words of scripture to develope the doctrine and using the plain words to intrepret the mystical. They go from “hints” to concrete beliefs, rather than go from the concrete to search the scripture for deeper meanings that do not contradict the plain, simple words.
That’s crazy, Con. Judaism can’t arise out of Christianity because in order for Christianity to exist, Judaism has to pre-exist it. Of course there are similarities. Christianity was originally a Jewish movement and so borrowed heavily from Judaism. It’s a copycat distortion, if you will. What does that prove?
Also, why do you think Judaism or Torah is supposed to stem idolatry? Can you explain to me your logic that the failure of the Torah or Judaism to stem a particular ideology proves that it is legitimate?
Dina, if Christiannity is “plagiarism” of Judaism, it clearly has essential practices within it that come from Judaism. In Christian history, there have been Gentiles who sought to emulate Jewish observance, sometimes to the point of full observance. In this sense, a Jewish praxis can arise from Christianity, that’s what I meant, sorry if that wasn’t clear.
Still not clear–still doesn’t make sense to me to say that Christianity could possibly have come first–but what does this prove? And what about my other challenges?
I’m not saying that Christianity could have “come first.” I’m saying that in a hypothetical situation a halachic system similar to Judaism could arise from Christianity if the situation allowed, just like Christianity and Christian like theologies can, and have arisen from Judaism in the past. Independent of the Church no less, It’s a hypothetical Dina.
Such movements have arisen in a very religious Torah observant environment. What this “proves,” is that Christianity is a possible reading, a possible outcome of naturally expressed Judaism without any Christian or foreign influence. Just Judaism as Judaism alone has within it every necessary building block of Christianity. You believe that it is false, I understand that. However, if the true reading does not deter this false reading from emerging in a faithful environment, might it just be a natural though different outgrowth of the same system?
I’m sorry, Con, I just don’t understand your question or what you’re trying to prove. Throughout history, the Torah has not prevented the rise of heretical movements based off of it. Christianity is just one of many, and like the rest of them, did not survive as a Jewish movement.
There’s always a “but”. “We desperately need the wisdom and work of the
Jewish people in this world, “but”.
Good point, Larry. If we accept Christianity (or any other idolatrous system) as a “plausible” alternative, the Jewish people would cease to exist. It’s our tenacious clinging to our tradition that has kept us alive. So although it’s unintentional, Con is advocating the end of the Jewish people.
You can have your belief but dont talk about it. I’m sure the “but” list is very long.
I’m absolutely aware that your observance of Torah has kept your people alive, and I am very happy it has. Christianity does not have to be acceptable for you, that’s not what I;m saying at all. I’m saying, Gentiles should not be faulted for a accepting a religion that has done much good for them, and which arguably they did not have to be present, to create. Christianity is a non Jewish Monotheism, that has enough potential (in the right circumstance) to be able to have peace and respect for your tradition, if it can abandon proselytizing. I have never advocated that you abandon your religion.
CR wrote: ” Christianity is a non Jewish Monotheism”
You cant throw the Nazarene into the “godhead” and still claim to be a monotheist. You have a bi-natured godhead…Not monotheist.
Nobody is damning christians for their beliefs, finding fault in their beliefs yes. What do you expect these are part of the core beliefs. You said that because we disagree with you and say why that we are doing more harm than good. OK, then it is equally damning for you to tell us why we are wrong and also does more harm than good. You say christians should not be faulted for a religion they did not have to be present to create. Well, should jewish people be faulted for their beliefs for which they were present when given?
Do you see Larry’s point, Con? You’ve often accused us of applying a double standard–but here you are applying a double standard yourself.
It’s a fair question. Can you answer it?
This is another straw man, Con. We don’t fault Christians, or damn them, or anything. We do assert that Christianity is idolatrous and false–but we have nothing against the Christians who practice it as long as they leave us alone.
Why don’t Buddhists care that we think that they’re idolaters? So why are you personally so offended? It’s not like we’re forcing you to convert, or anything.
If you indeed have such an ecumenical spirit, you are wasting your time here “talking” or preaching to the wrong choir. LDS is only a little bit different from Protestantism & Protestants are less than a “stones throw away” from Catholicism. And are you active in the effort to bring about the reunification of the Orthodox & Roman Catholic Churches? They all believe in Jesus, so why do you see a significant difference between “evangelical”, charismatic churches and Orthodox? They are virtually twins (more like “Siamese twins” that are linked together closer than are Judaism and Christianity). One easy way to bring Christians together is to retire the name Orthodox. It is a stumbling block to many Christians and it makes them feel as “the other”, as inferior practitioners of true Christian rituals and followers of a lesser faith. There is only one body, one church in Christ. The one man concept that is gaining momentum today. Or the “Hebraic Roots” movement can unite Christians who believe in Jesus of Nazareth. They are just different “styles” of worship. If you truly look at “unitarianism”, it is virtually saying the same thing that Trinitarians are saying. Just with a few different words, just a different slant on the interpretation of the same words in the NT. Their theologies come from the same source and point to the same goals.
One thing we can promote is the idea that everyone should join the church or synagogue that is the closest to their domicile or residence. Or you can list nearby congregations numbering the list from 1 to 6 (or to 12), then throw a die or dice and whatever the “lot” is, go to worship with that congragation next Sunday. I am not totally being facetious, but you tend to have great difficulty in seeing differences where differences are truly important and significant, while seeing similarities where individuals have different values, world views, and deep differences. Many people will not worship in a way that they reject or feel is repugnant or even un-Godly because you seem to want connections. Go back just a little further back in your history and you can see your connection to those pagan or non-Abrahamic religions and polytheists that you often object to.
Dr. Brown said something here that is truly amazing.
“You constantly make reference to Sinai, and I concur. I worship the God of Sinai — and the God of the entire Bible, of course — and what did God say at Sinai? Don’t make a graven image of Him. Don’t make any earthly likeness of Him, since we saw no form when He spoke at Sinai. Amen and amen, a thousand times over. We agree!”
Actually, it says not to make a likeness of ANYTHING, since we saw no form at Sinai. “Lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image, a likeness of ANY SHAPE; a form of a MALE OR FEMALE; a form of any animal…” (Deuteronomy 4:16-17).
Dr. Brown is saying that he can worship Jesus so long as he doesn’t make a likeness of him. If we follow this argument to its logical conclusion, it should be permissible to worship a cat so long as you don’t make a likeness of it.
This is absurd beyond belief.
Or a tree…
I dislike using stereotypes (like that some have of lawyers), but I wonder what Jesus, who often is pictured as criticizing “sages and lawyers” would have thought about the sage Brown’s manipulating or “legalistic wrangling” of the text to have it say what he wants it to say, hoping to influence the “jury” using emotion rather than reason and facts as the defense. If you aren’t convinced by his argument, he will pray to the “Judge” for you (i.e., claiming there’s a “hung jury” or asking for a dismissal of the “case” because of a “prejudiced juror”).
It’s a good analogy. It means he’s run out of arguments.
I am always struck by Christians who refuse to answer questions directly, then when confronted claim that they won’t answer because the questions are a distraction, or they miss the point, or whatever. By the end, they discover that they are too wise and/or too busy to continue such a discussion with someone who is spiritually blind, so bye, bye, now, have a nice life and I’ll pray for you.
That praying thing again–essentially saying, I won’t engage with you, you’re spiritually blind. You need my prayers to bring about a supernatural intervention to see the truth.
It’s arrogant, self-serving, and intellectually dishonest.
And Brown has followed this model throughout the discussion above. He kept saying that Rabbi B. doesn’t understand, doesn’t get it, misses the point, etc.–without actually explaining what he means or backing up his statements and thus neatly avoiding answering Rabbi B.’s pointed questions–all the while saying this is a spiritual battle (connoting that he’s on the right side of it) and sanctimoniously offering prayers on behalf of Rabbi B.
Brown is the one who needs prayers. Here’s mine: May God open his eyes to the truth.
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Also, why do you think Judaism or Torah is supposed to stem idolatry?
The whole purpose of the law of Moses is to teach Israel the good way against idolatry, to teach piety, and the knowledge of G-d. It’s the covenant whose stated intent is to separate Israel from what is wrong and unholy in the world at large, namely idols, and to serve as priests and as examples to the rest of the world, to make this world, a dwelling place for G-d.
Christianity, if it is idolatry arose in the midst of Judaism among people committed to this stated intent of the Torah. Christianity did not need anything but Judaism to propagate itself.
Judaism gave rise to Christianity in an observant environment. Despite the observance of the Torah this “error” (from your view) propagated itself, and spread within Judaism, before any foreigners got involved in it. If Christianity is idolatry, it is a home made Jewish idolatry that did not require gentile influence to exist. It grew up in the very soil supposedly opposed to its existence. How do you account for a repeated emergence of Christian like ideas and conclusions in this environment?
Con, do you believe the Torah negates free will? The Torah doesn’t stop anyone from sinning. If you read Tanach you will find countless times that the Israelites worshiped idols. Your insistence that a movement arising from within Judaism makes it right is convoluted and ignores all the historical evidence. For example, the Sadducce sect was not right. Neither were the Hellenists.
Furthermore, Christianity did not catch on within Judaism, contrary to what you said. They remained a tiny sect and that’s why Paul went to the gentiles–they simply didn’t find traction in the Jewish community. The fact that it had Jewish roots is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether it is true or false.
That’s true, it didn’t catch on, but every ingredient you need to make Christianity is within Judaism. It’s not like an example of idolatry from the Torah brought in from an outside source. The Torah does not negate free will, but it’s mission statement is to further distance you from idols, not to throw roadblocks in your way more than once leading to an idol. It’s not that Christianity arose, by itself, that says anything of itself, but that even Christian texts (according even to some rabbis) supports Judaism’s contention throughout 2,000 years of history that your duty is to the Torah of Moses. It’s many things in tandem that make the charge of idolatry problematic, that’s what I’m trying to get at.
There is only one ingredient necessary to make christianity within any society. Remember, we’re talking about men claiming that another man is god himself. OK, so the one ingredient needed is, wait for it, drums roll please, it’s gullible. Yes there were Jews who were gullible. Of course that a small piece of the pie when you consider the whole weight of the Roman Empire throwing their weight behind the movement.
Con, you have yet to reconcile with Deuteronomy 4. I keep pressing this issue and you keep not responding. This chapter warns to worship God ONLY as He appeared at Sinai. No form, no image. Jesus wasn’t at Sinai, ergo he is not to be worshiped as God (however you want to put it to make it sound better to your ears).
Sorry Dina, I’m not ignoring you, I wrote a response to your question but it got deleted, so it’ll take a little more time. 🙂
I’ll be looking out for it, Con. Thanks.
So independent verification is necessary Larry?
I thought that’s what they all had. J claimed to be god, what else convinced them?
At the very least, Con, just verification by our ancestors and down through the generations. The very people whom I descend from, who actually confronted Jesus, rejected him.
The Hebrew bible is not the only (perhaps not even the major) source of the theology found in the NT.
Based on Aristotle on the underlying nature of polytheism of Greece: “Aristotle continued the work of undermining polytheism. He defines God as “the Eternal Reason”–the Supreme Mind. “He is the immovable cause of all movement in the universe, the all-perfect principle.” (Excerpt from: Benjamin Franklin Cocker. “Christianity and Greek Philosophy.” iBooks.)
And Cocker continues, “The views of the educated and philosophic mind of Greece in regard to the mythological deities may, in conclusion, be thus briefly stated–
I. They are all created beings– “GENERATED DEITIES,” who are dependent on, and subject to, the will of one supreme God.
II. They are the AGENTS employed by God in the creation of, at least some parts of, the universe, … and they are also the MINISTERS and MESSENGERS of that universal providence which he exercises over the human race.”
So, underlying Greek polytheism is the “one supreme God” who sends his created messengers and ministers (angels) as manifestations or incarnations to earth. These deities (sons of god) are anthropomorphic and may be sinful and they may even wage war against themselves (as the devil rebels against his father in heaven and as reminiscent of Paul’s idea of the principalities or spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places).
Cocker goes on to say “There is nothing for it, therefore, but to let the mediæval Catholic Christianity stand as the world’s first monotheism, and to treat it as the legitimate offspring and necessary development of the Greek and Roman polytheism.”
Again Cocker states that “Pagans apologized for worshipping God in images, statues, and symbols, on the ground that these were only schetically worshipped by them, …. since we live in bodies, and can scarcely, conceive of any thing without having some image or phantasm, we may therefore be indulged in this infirmity of human nature (at least in the vulgar) to worship God under a corporeal image, as a means of preventing men from falling into Atheism.”
One reason some people may find a need to worship God through the corporeal image of Jesus is their inability to conceive of God as a unity, as One transcendent or invisible being. Even Paul in Romans admits, “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into a likeness of corruptible man.” And, finally, they ended in “worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.”
All excepts above are from “Christianity and Greek Philosophy: The Relation Between Spontaneous and Reflective Thought in Greece and the Positive Teaching of Christ and His Apostles.” by B.F. Cocker, D.D.,” 1870 (in the public domain).
Your ignoring that this “universal reason” of Aristotle is an abstraction Yedidiah. It’s goodness, and all the rituals and deities of all the nations contribute to this abstract notion. (That’s why so many gods in ancient times were interchangeable, they were concepts, not G-d in the biblical sense. Though there is a monotheist undergirding, rather panentheistic, it has a different meaning to the polytheist. There are no commandments, or a will of G-d in this monistic system of Aristotle and Plato, or Libanius, or in Hinduism, etc.. Providence is an illusion to them. gods and rituals have significance insofar as people believe them, not due to an intrinsic reality, according to thinkers like Libanius.
As you’ve said, “Pagans apologized for worshipping God in images, statues, and symbols, on the ground that these were only schetically worshipped by them, …. since we live in bodies, and can scarcely, conceive of any thing without having some image or phantasm, we may therefore be indulged in this infirmity of human nature (at least in the vulgar) to worship God under a corporeal image, as a means of preventing men from falling into Atheism.”
Why would men fall into atheism? Because a monistic G-d devoid of attributes is no different to the polytheist than a concept, or something that isn’t real at all.
Judaism is giving too much credence to corporeality in Christian theology. If Christians were interested in mere corporealism, we could be Mormon without flinching, Jehova’s witnesses wouldn’t be declared heretics, etc. We would treat Jesus like Buddhists treat Buddha. Jesus as word and Son, solidifies the reality of G-d’s will as relevant to people. As Paul also said, “we know no man after the flesh, not even Christ Jesus. I can conceive of G-d’s oneness just fine, without corporealist tendencies, but his oneness does not make him devoid of attribute, action, will, and reality, because I know that G-d’s word acted through Moses, and went to nations through Jesus.
Who said anything about “mere corporealism”??? “Judaism” is a religion and thus has little or nothing to say about Christian theology, except in general biblical terms and teachings plainly stated in the Hebrew Scriptures. If “Judaism” “gives too much credence to corporeality in Christian theology”, it is because many Christians give the impression or openly express too much credence in corporeality. The NT, especially the gospels, make incarnation, manifestation, transfiguration, or corporeality (or whatever term one wants to use) a very major part of it’s story and of its theology. It’s very purpose, without which it would not exist. Start counting verses and see how significant corporeality is to the NT and to Christians. What is meant by physical bread and physical wine being a physical man’s body and blood (or a remembrance of)? What did Paul say about “if Christ was not raised?” Or was the Christ of Paul just a spiritual being as both “mythicists” and mysticists believe?
You cannot really be serious if you truly believe that “if Christians were interested in mere corporealism, we could be Mormon without flinching, Jehova’s witnesses wouldn’t be declared heretics”. And how does or how would “oneness” make one devoid of “attribute”, or “action”, or “will” (and I do not know what definition or concept of “reality” you are using)?
I don’t quite know what you mean by “attributes”. It seems you have a very narrow definition of the term. It seems as if you are often trying to present false dichotomies. The Romans did consider Jews as atheists. Not because of some idea that a monistic God was devoid of “attributes”, but rather whatever attributes there were, were not the attributes that the Romans valued in their gods. You may be to selective in which gods and which philosophies you consider in your comparison with the Biblical God or Jesus. Pagan gods were also “invisible” all or most of the time. There is nothing in polytheism that prevents or negates “a god having will” nor divine guidance or care. A god could be conceived of as a power sustaining and guiding human destiny. And redemption and salvation were concepts that were not unknown and in some cases they were a major attribute of the belief system and played a key part of their practices and rituals. Even the “Fates” had a subtle and awesome power of deciding a person’s destiny, as they could assign a person to good or to evil, which worked much the same way as determinism (Pre-determinism) does according to some Christians and Church denominations. And a holy spirit could fill an idol. And the sun was a life giving and sustaining force (god) and don’t forget the providing, caring and nurturing mother earth, known by some as providence.
The idol solidified the reality of the god’s will as relevant to people.
It’s interesting that you would quote a source from 1870, when much of the hypothesis of “Hellenism” of Christianity has been hotly questioned and discredited. If you read polytheistic polemic against monotheists, the first thing to disappear is the relevance of the will of G-d, providence, etc.
I have spent too much on books over the years (and now many ebooks), more than I could ever finish reading, so if I find scholarly ebooks that are free, I download & highlight the valuable notes. With ebooks, I can research in minutes what took hours or years of reading and note taking in the past. I can easily copy and paste to rebut fallacious arguments. I could provide lists of modern texts as well, but this blog is not meant to be a classroom or a library.
What is interesting is that he, Cocker, mainly quotes Paul, Christian leaders, & pagan philosophers that are over 1500 years old. So should we discard certain portions of the history of ideas, because they are embarrassing to “new age” apologetics? What was or is “hotly contested”, does not become discredited “overnight” simply because we wish it to be. Exactly who and exactly when and exactly what idea of several was “discredited? Was it Paul who is discredited, who said this about pagans, the Athenians, in Romans 1:19-23, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.” So they “knew god”, because what was known was plain to polytheists. Dying and rising savior gods in the image of mortal human beings is one part that fools, claiming to be wise, wish to ignore or distance themselves from (usually during debates).
Cocker sees what Paul saw. It is hard to summarize a big scholarly book as his, even one theme out of several major themes”, but this quote makes a few vital points: “The method hitherto most prevalent, of treating the history of human thought as a series of isolated, disconnected, and lawless movements, without unity and purpose; and the practice of denouncing the religions and philosophies of the ancient world as inventions of satanic mischief, or as the capricious and wicked efforts of humanity to relegate itself from the bonds of allegiance to the One Supreme Lord and Lawgiver, have, in his judgment, been prejudicial to the interests of all truth, and especially injurious to the cause of Christianity. They betray an utter insensibility to the grand unities of nature and of thought, and a strange forgetfulness of that universal Providence which comprehends all nature and all history,…. A juster method will lead us to regard the entire history of human thought as a development towards a specific end, and the providence of God as an all-embracing plan, which sweeps over all ages and all nations, and which, in its final consummation, will, through Christ, ” gather together all things in one, both things which are in heaven and things which are on earth.”