Sunday, May 27, 2012

Anthropomorphisms



In many places the Bible speaks of God as having hands, feet, eyes and ears but the church leaders have told us we must not believe that to be true.  The word that is used is anthropomorphisms.   The dictionary says this word means an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.  Why not believe the statements in the Bible to be true?   Why should we not simply believe what the Bible says?

Speaking of the physical appearance of Jehovah, Daniel said, the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. Dan. 7:9.  We cannot believe, (as some Bible scholars do) that this refers to Christ, because separate reference is made to Christ. One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him (the Son of Man) near before Him (Jehovah). Daniel 7:13.  Daniel sees Christ being ushered into the presence of His Father, the One whom Daniel had just seen.  There is nothing here to indicate that either of them was not in physical form.  On the contrary, the argument stands firm that since Daniel saw them with his physical eyes they must be physical.  

A further indication that Jehovah, Christ's Father, is physical is that John states that, The Father was holding the book in His right hand.  If Jehovah were a spiritual Being only, how would John have noticed that God is right handed?  We also notice that in The Revelation Jesus Christ is right-handed.1:16 & 1:20 

The claim is made that Jehovah is invisible because the Bible says that God is a spirit.  In the fourth Gospel, 4:24, John writes God is spirit.  John is saying that God is not wood or stone or other inanimate object but that He is alive.  To be sure, the Bible speaks of the spirit of God.   God has spirit as we also have spirit. After all, we are in His image.  

If John would have meant to write that Jehovah was only ethereal (without a physical body) he would have needed to include the word “a” so that it would read, God is a spirit.  The KJV has it that way but neither the Greek version nor the newer translations include the word “a” and so John 4:24 has no argument that God is not physical.

Most Bible scholars agree that John, the writer of the Apocalypse, is the same man who wrote the three epistles of John.  In the first of the three epistles, John had derided those people who claimed to have seen Jehovah; men like Moses, Isaiah, Danial, and Ezekiel.  He had written, No one has seen God at any time. 1 John 4:12.  One cannot help but wonder how he felt about that statement, a number of years later, when he also saw Jehovah with his own eyes.  Did he maybe wish that he could un-say that statement?

The Age of Jehovah


To close this topic lets take a brief look at the age of Jehovah.

1. Daniel calls Him the ancient of days.  This statement certainly indicates that God is living in a space frame which has to do with days, hence time.

2. the hair of His head was like pure wool.  In Dan. 7:9, where God is pictured in human form, His "head" is crowned with hair like pure wool (i.e., white). Vine.  If Jehovah has white hair isn't it logical to suppose that it is because he has lived a long time, therefore it is also right to believe that He is aging.   In Christian circles he is sometimes called "the ageless One".  That statement seems to be anti-biblical!

3. with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:7.  If we are willing to accept that statement as it is given, in the time that the earth ages 1000 years, Jehovah is only one day older, but even so He is aging.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Is Jehovah invisible?

What a dumb question!  At least I have never seen Him.  But, rather than trusting personal experience, we will again go to the Bible.  After all, church leaders tell us that we must trust the Bible in all spiritual matters.


To prove that Jehovah is invisible most any Bible student would turn to 1 Tim. 1:17.  Now, to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever.   Mr. Vine, a man who translated the Greek Bible words into English and gave a definition for each word, writes that in this verse, the word invisible means unseen.  Therefore it does not necessarily mean, someone that cannot be seen.   It simply means, we are not seeing that person now, and so He is unseen.  This Bible verse does not say that Jehovah is of such a nature that He cannot be seen, it only says that we are not seeing Him now. 

Lets look at some of the many Bible verses that tell us that Jehovah, in fact, has been seen by humans, if we dare believe what the Bible says. 

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram. Gen. 17:1
Moses covered his face for he was afraid to look at God. Ex. 3:6.
Moses answered to Yahweh’s faceEx. 6:12
the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through              to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. Ex. 19:21
Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders               of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as               it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in             its clarity. Ex. 24:9-10
After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God. Job 19:26
The Lord is righteous; the upright man will contemplate His face. Psalm 11:7  
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness. Psalm 17:15 
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted upIsaiah 6:1  
behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there          was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearanceRev. 4:2-3.  Here we cannot tell ourselves, as some do, that it was Christ sitting on the throne, because we read of Him, in this scene, as standing among the elders.
They shall see His faceRev. 22:4.

Yes, after our resurrection, we will see the Lord of Glory, Jehovah Himself, face to face.  According to Job, we will see him in our flesh, to this thought Saint Paul adds that our fleshly body must first be changed to an incorruptible body.
After having read these Bible verses how can any person who claims to believe the Bible, as it is written, still maintain that the Lord is invisible?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Is Jehovah omnipresent?



Omnipresent means to be everywhere at the same time.

If Jehovah is everywhere at the same time how would He not have known where Adam was, when Adam and Eve hid themselves? 

How would He not have known where Cain hid the body of Abel after He had killed him? 

God said to Moses, I will not go up in your midst. Ex. 33:3.  If God is always everywhere, how can he avoid going with them?

Jehovah said, I went from tent to tent, from shelter to shelter. 1 Chron. 17:15.  It is hardly a picture of an omnipresent God when He must seek shelter from the elements at different places?

Satan said, I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north. Isaiah 14:13.  Who is on the mount of assembly?  Common theology has placed Jehovah there.  

Billy Graham suggested that the reason there are no stars in the north is because, that is where Jehovah’s throne is.  Considering that, according to Church theology, Jehovah is omnipresent, is His confinement to a throne in the Northern hemisphere even logical? 
  • Is Jehovah closer to the Northern hemisphere than He is to the Southern hemisphere?  
  • If Jehovah sits on a throne, how can He be everywhere at once?
When Satan came to "the general assembly of the sons of god" Jehovah asked him, From where do you come? Job 1:6.  Why would the Lord need to ask that question if He is always everywhere (omnipresent)?

This was the creature that I had seen supporting the God of Israel.
Isaiah 6:1,TJB

This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel. Ezekiel 10:20 NCT 

Does the God of Israel really need something, like a throne, to support Him?  Is that throne supported by something else, something like a living creature?  From these two verses we do not get the idea that Jehovah is omnipresent!

By now I have written many negative things about the Bible and about Jehovah and you might think that I have no respect for either.  That, however, is very far from the truth.  I believe that Jehovah is one of the Gods, spoken of in the Bible, and that He is worthy of worship and adoration. 

If we have chosen Him to be our God He deserves our allegiance and obedience. Joshua stated his choice publicly, He said to the Israelites, choose today which God you will serve, but as for me and my family, we will serve Jehovah.  The Psalmist, David, wrote much about having chosen Jehovah to be his God.  If we also make that choice we had better be sure that our lifestyle matches the code of conduct that Jehovah has prescribed for His adherents.

Christ, Jehovah's son, while on earth was the supreme teacher as far as morals and spiritual insights go.  To find out what He taught, we, of course, turn to the New Testament.  It is the prescription that our God, with the help of fallible hands and minds of humans, wrote out for us, and He expects us to do our best to follow it, if we dare to claim Jehovah as our God.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Is Jehovah really all powerful?


Today we want to answer the question, according to the Bible, is Jehovah really omnipotent (all-powerful)?  Again, I am not saying that the Bible does not say that He is, I am saying that the Bible also says that He is not.  

Let us suppose, as I mentioned earlier, that at times the Bible writers confused the traits of the "A-field" with the traits of Jehovah.  If that happened, than, at times they would have written that God (the "A-field") is all powerful but at other times, they were saying that God (Jehovah) is limited as to power, time, and location. 


Is Jehovah really all powerful?



Part of the story of Moses goes like this, And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Ex. 4:24. What can we gather from this statement except that Jehovah set out on a mission, and failed to accomplish it.  The reason for the failure is not given, unless we believe that Moses's wife (Zipporah), successfully acted the part of an intermediary, and caused Jehovah to change His mind.  But, if we believe that, than we are forced to admit that the Lord did not foresee the future, or the part that Zipporah would play in the scene!

About Jacob we read, Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks”. But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”. Gen. 32:24-26.

It is possible to rewrite this and replace the pronouns with proper names without changing the meaning.  See what it looks like now!  Then Jacob was left alone; and Jehovah wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when Jehovah saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, Jehovah touched the socket of Jacob's hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as Jacob wrestled with Jehovah. And Jehovah said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks”.  But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”.  Some argue that it was not Jehovah that was wrestling with Jacob.   But before they get carried away in their defense of Jehovah, as if He needs defending, notice what Hosea said about this story. And in his strength he (Jacob) struggled with God (Jehovah). Hosea 12:3.  In reading this story, we realize that the contest between Jacob and Jehovah was quite even; but how can we compare Jacob's strength with omnipotence? 
 
Concerning God’s omnipotence, it is important to think in terms of comparison. The Bible teaches that Jehovah is Almighty.  To the saints of Old Testament times it must have seemed that way because of the many ways in which their God had worked miracles for them.  The Bible also teaches that the power of life and death is in the Lord’s hand.  This much can also be said about a modern skilled surgeon who successfully performs a heart transplant; or, in another case, the power of death is in the doctor's hand when he orders that the life support system be stopped. 

It is impossible, for the human mind, to fit together Jehovah's omnipotence and his holiness and infinite vastness with the mess that the world is in.  If the Lord were perfectly holy, omnipresent and omnipotent it would be necessary for Him to eradicate all the sin in the universe since absolute holiness and sin cannot co-habit. 

In the New Testament Saint Paul wrote, Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Cor. 1:25.  The very fact that the Scriptures compare God’s wisdom and strength with men’s is an indication that Jehovah is not omniscient or omnipotent.  “Omni” cannot be compared to humanity’s feebleness because infinity has no comparison!  Paul, however, does compare God’s weakness with men’s strength, thereby indicating that they are at least on the same “playing field”.

In the next post we will explore the idea of Jehovah's omnipresence.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jehovah's limitations



As I have stated before, and will probably state again, in cases where the Bible presents two opposing points of view, for arguments sake I will stress the one that theologians and preachers would rather just sweep under the rug.

We continue now where we left off in the last post.

If one reads the Bible with an open mind, one comes to the same conclusion as the philosophers Plato and Plotinus (from about 450 years before Christ was born) who taught that above the Gods of traditional belief was "The One" also called God. The One is the impersonal unifying principle of divinity. To believe that there is “The One” seems necessary to the human mind, for without that belief we cannot imagine the origin of the universe. 

The Church, following the Jewish lead, has ascribed infinity to Jehovah, and that is not surprising, for the Bible is replete with references, which indicate that He is infinite and invisible.  However, remembering the statements made about the inspiration of the Bible, we see that we must give the Bible writers “poetic licence” to write this way about Jehovah.

However, in many cases what they wrote may not have been “poetic licence”, but rather a real, heart-felt belief, based on experience, because of what “their God” had done for them. 

Is it not very believable that since the Bible writers were not aware of the Akashic field, they, at times, ascribed the attributes of the Akashic field to Jehovah, their own God? 

However, on the other side, many times they wrote of a God that was much more human-like: a God they had seen, a God that might forget, a God who needed to ask questions, a God who lived in tents.

To even suggest that Jehovah has limitations, is no doubt, considered to be blasphemy.  I would not go there, if an open minded approach to Bible study had not lead me there, but it did!  To try to fit what the Bible says about Jehovah into what is The One unifying principle of divinity is not at all possible. Let us turn back to the Bible again. 

Is Jehovah really omniscient?



First we look at Omniscience, that word means, to know everything

After Adam and Eve had sinned, God was looking for them but He could not find them so He called out to them, where are you? Gen. 3:9


After Cain had killed Able, Jehovah asked him, Where is your brother? If Jehovah is omniscient how is it that he did not know where Abel's body was?  If He is as awe inspiring as we have been taught He is, would Cain have dared to be so evasive, perhaps even flippant, with his answer? I don’t know, am I responsible for him? Gen. 4:9 

Yahweh regretted having made man on the earth. Gen. 6:6 The Jerusalem Bible. and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.1 Sam. 15:35.  If Jehovah is omniscient how can either of those scenarios be true, did the omniscient God not foresee what was coming?

When… the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; … I will remember. The KJV says, more pointedly, I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant. Gen. 9:13.  It sounds as if God knew that he might forget (we are created in his image in this area also) and needed a reminder in the sky, much as a child needs a string around a finger to aid his memory. 

Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. Ex. 2:23-24.  Does God need reminders, like hearing people groan, to help Him remember His promises?  It seems as if He does.

In many different translations of the Bible, Ex. 13:17, reads something like this, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt”’.  The Bible clearly says that God thought, but He did not know!

There are also the questions that the Lord asked of Satan when Satan came to the general meeting of the sons of God.  The Lord asked him, From where do you come?  Satan, seemingly, did not think that it was a redundant question because he gave the Lord a straightforward answer.  The Lord asked him another question, Have you considered my servant Job. Job 2:2.  Again, Satan answered the question, as if it was a reasonable question for Jehovah to ask. 

Furthermore, Satan suggested that Job worshipped the Lord for selfish reasons and that they should have ‘a little contest’ to see if he was right.  The Lord must have thought that this "contest thing" was a good idea.  From reading the story, it seems that the Lord also did not know the outcome of that contest.

In the next post we will look at what the Bible says about Jehovah's omnipotence.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The creative force

We have been taught that Jehovah is the driving force behind all that exists.  End of discussion!   Till now!  It is time to "think again" about this "written in stone" doctrine.  I am willing to argue that doctrine, based on two points:

1. on something, that, in my opinion, is quite new to science. It is known as the Akashic field.

2. and on what the Bible does say about Jehovah.

The following is from Erwin Laszlo in Science and the Akashic Field.

An Integral Theory of Everything writes: The akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term used in theosophy ... to describe a compendium of (mystical) knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence.  These records contain all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos.  They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogies commonly found in discourse on the subject include a "universal supercomputer" and the "Mind of God”.

Mystics and sages have long maintained that there exists an interconnecting cosmic field at the roots of reality that conserves and conveys information, a field known as the Akashic record.  Recent discoveries in the new field of vacuum physics now show that this Akashic field is real and has its equivalent in the zero-point field that underlies space itself.  This field consists of a subtle sea of fluctuating energies from which all things arise: atoms and galaxies, stars and planets, living beings, and even consciousness. This zero-point Akashic-field-or "A-field"- is not only the original source of all things that arise in time and space; it is also the constant and enduring memory of the universe.  It holds the record of all that ever happened in life, on Earth, and in the cosmos and relates it to all that is yet to happen.

As I understand Mr Laszlo, he says that this "A-field" is the foundation of space itself, or, in other words, everything that exists.  It is possible to strongly argue that Jehovah is the foundation of space, of atoms and galaxies, even of all consciousness in the universe, except His own, of course.  The problem with accepting that as fact is that the Bible has lesser things to say about Jehovah.

When we finally accept that the “Akashic field”, or something of that nature exists and that it is the origin of all things, physical and spiritual, we can set our minds free from the need to make the Jehovah of the Bible the great creator of all that exists. 

Once our minds grasp this idea as a reality we are left with a God, Jehovah, who is actually in a realm where we can believe that He cares for humans.  We can then believe in Him as a God who is great enough to be worshipped as our God. Then it is possible to believe that He has a son; that He is "finite enough" to care about life on earth but not “infinite enough” to control everything that happens in the universe.  

More about this in my next post.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Many Gods in the Old Testament


This is really a deep subject, and if one looks at it from a different viewpoint than one grew up with it is really difficult to deal with.    A recurring thought is, what if the one God gets so angry with me that He strikes me dead; worse yet, what if, because of what I am writing, He bars me from heaven.  However, I take comfort in the fact that I am writing things that the Bible clearly teaches.  I am not concocting any fabulous theories.  Based on what the Bible teaches I am portraying only facts.  With that in mind, we continue.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24.    
 
Our Lord, no other gods compare with you. Exodus 15:11.  This is the definition given to the word gods, as it is used here, strength; as adjective mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity) Strong H410.

These verses very distinctly speak of more than one god.  Some of the newer translations rearrange Geneses 19:24 in such a way that the Lord is mentioned only once.  Was this change made because the translators could not grapple with the teaching that there is more than one God?  

When I first wrote about the Bible, I wrote that changes like this were being made to the Bible so that the Bible would agree with the translator's theology.  Some would rather change the Bible then change their own preset conclusions! 

Abraham … dwelt on the other side of the river in old times: and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2.  The word we notice here is gods and it is the same word that is used in Genesis chapter one, (about the Gods which created heaven and earth), and in many other incidents throughout the Old Testament.  The gods are written about in plural, and as was already mentioned, the word gods does not always refer to idols.

The Psalmist said, For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:3.  Again, the word “gods” here, is the same word used in Genesis chapter one, speaking about a collective, creative group of gods.

O Israel, listen: Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone. Deut. 6:4 The Living Bible.   Many theologians have used Deut. 6:4 to prove, from the Bible, that there is only one God (Jehovah), whereas it explicitly states the exact opposite.  

What it actually says is that there are other Gods, but for Israel, there is to be only one God; His name is Jehovah.  Therefore, for all practical purposes, as far as praise, worship, and faith are concerned, for Muslims, for Jews and for The Church, it is not wrong to declare that there is only one God.  However, among those who have a need to be explicate to the Bible, it must be agreed, that the Bible distinctly teaches the existence of Gods other than Jehovah.

Wikipedia writes, Recognized scholars have formulated a substantial case for ancient Israel's practice of Monolatry. The book of Exodus, in fact none of “The Law”, denies the existence of other Gods. However, it does make a strong issue of the fact that the Jews are to follow and worship only Jehovah.  We recall, from a few posts ago, that monolatry means, to worship one.  This viewpoint recognizes the existence of a plurality of actual gods, but insists that there is only one God worthy of worship.  For the Christian Church that One is Jehovah. 

Why don't we try and let the Bible speak for itself, even if it means that we have to "think again" about the basics that we have learned in the church, in the mosque, or in the temple.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The O.T. teaching about various gods.

In my last post I wrote that we will take a closer look at what the Bible says about the plurality of the gods.  If you have been in a Christian church, even a few times, you probably have heard that there is only one God.   I do not deny that the Bible says that that is true.  The Bible also speaks of the fact that there are Gods.  It is easy to say that this refers to idols but that statement is not true in every mention of the Gods.

A good place to start is probably at the beginning.  Let us look at Genesis 1:1, (the first verse in the Bible). In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Even Bible teachers who believe that there is only one God, admit that the word God, as it is used here is a plural word for God.  So that Genesis 1:1 really should read like this, In the beginning the gods created heaven and earth.  Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; Strong H430

Then, in the second book of the Bible we find these interesting words.  I will pass through the land of Egypt...and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. Ex. 12:12.  Bible teachers tell us that the word "gods" refers to Egypt's idols.  However, that argument does not stand because the definition for the word gods here is the same as the definition for the word God in Geneses 1:1. So, in this instance, are we going to take what the Bible says literally, or are we going to say, as theologians do, the Bible does not mean what it says? 

Now, back to Genesis 1:26, Then God (the Gods) said, "Let us make man in our image".  If these Gods were only one God, why would He speak to Himself?  Why would He not just think, I will make man in my own image, and then proceed to do it?  

People who insist that there is only one God have strange ways of trying to prove that the Bible does not teach that there is more than one God.  In this case they say that God used the plural word even though he meant the singular word, this is called, using, "the royal we".  It is said that Queen Victoria used to say "we" when she meant "I".  Admittedly, this is one way of explaining the problem, but it sounds like nothing more than an easy way out of an interpretation dead end, if you believe in only one God. 

Concerning the problem of the plural pronoun, the well-known author, Isaac Asimov, said, It is possible to argue that this (the plural pronoun) is not true evidence of early polytheism. God might be viewed as using the royal “we”; ... Nevertheless, as far as we know...early beliefs were always polytheistic and monotheism was a late development in the history of ideas.  Or, in other words, why would the writer of Geneses have spoken of a singular God when everyone else in his time period spoke of a variety of gods?

Mr Roop, in his commentary on the words, Let us make man in our image, Genesis 1:26, wrote; God speaks to a group … Yahweh sits in the company of other divine beings. Then, almost as an afterthought, because he realized that a statement like that does not fit church theology he wrote, for example, angels. But the evangelical church has never thought of angels as divine beings. 

Can we not at least consider the thought that there is more than one God?  If that thought, after serious study, just does not "fly" then discard it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

five theosophic viewpoints



The word theosophic simply means something like, "ideas about the gods".  In this post I am laying the foundation for the next number of posts.

Throughout the ages humanity has held, and is still holding, very different views about the nature and quantity of the Gods there are. 

1. Pantheism: This is a belief that god and the material world are the same thing and that god is present in everything.  Therefore, if a person looks at a tree he is actually seeing god.  This is not the same as saying that every tree is a god.  Rather, it says, that the whole, material universe is one god.  From here, it is easy to see people taking a small step, shaping a tree into a human form, and worshipping it as god.  This, than, has become idolatry.

2. Polytheism: This is a belief that there are numerous gods and that as many gods as one believes there are, that is how many gods a person should worship. The Eastern religions and the early Greeks followed this path. 

3. Monotheism: This is a belief that there is only one God and that He is the one worthy of worship and praise by every person in the world.  This is what the Christian Church, the Jewish religion and the Muslims believe.  It is not surprising that they hold the same view concerning God because they base their theology on what they think they find in the Old Testament.

This viewpoint completely overlooks the fact that Jehovah called Abram from serving other Gods to serving only Him.  We must not insert the word "idols" in place of "Gods".  If we do we are completely altering the foundation on which the teaching of the Old Testament rests.  

The Bible clearly teaches Polytheism and that it is up to the individual to decide which God he will worship.  Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah; the people He has chosen for His inheritance. Psalm 33:12.   The opportunity to serve other Gods is always there, but that nation that follows Jehovah will be blessed.  

4. Monolatrism: The word Monolatrism contains two Greek words: monos, which means single and latreia, which means worship. (It simply means to worship one). This viewpoint recognizes the existence of a plurality of actual gods, but insists that there is only one God worthy of worship. Monolatry is not the same thing as henotheism

5. Henotheism: Another viewpoint is that there are a number of Gods and that each one of them is worthy of worship.  A person, or a community of people, must decide for themselves which God they will choose to worship.  The Bible very clearly teaches this viewpoint.  This teaching is shown in the Book of Joshua when Joshua said to the Israelites; Choose this day which God you will serve, but as for me and my family, we will serve Jehovah. Joshua 24:15

Wikipedia defines the difference between Monolatry and Henotheism like this: The primary difference between the two is that Monolatry is the worship of one god who alone is worthy of worship, though other gods are believed to exist, while Henotheism is the worship of one god, not precluding the existence of others who may also be worthy of praise. 

Many Bible students believe that religion is always progressive. That is to say, that all religions at the beginning were pantheistic then they developed through the polytheistic phase, then the Henotheistic and finally into the Monotheistic, that is where the church of today is at.  Should we view such progression as positive, especially since we know that it contradicts the teachings of the Old Testament?

I will have more in my next post about what the Old Testament says about the plurality of the gods.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Last thoughts About the Bible (for now)

In the past, I have written that the Bible is not absolutely without error but that it is still a reputable book.  My beef is not with the Bible; what bothers me more than the fallibility of the Bible is what the preachers have told us we need to believe about it.  

I hold the Bible in high regard.  I have read through the Bhagavad Gita of the Hindu religion, through the Koran of the Muslims, through the Book of Mormon, through the Egyptian and Tibetan "Book of the Dead" and in many other religious texts, yet, in my opinion none of them can even hold a candle to the spiritual insight, guidance and moral teachings taught by the Christian Bible.

My basic stance is that if the Bible says it I will take it literally.  Therefore, since the Bible says that Christ was born to a virgin, and since it nowhere denies that statement I believe it to be true.  Likewise, the Bible says that Christ rose from the grave, and the Bible nowhere denies it, I believe it to be true. 

However, the Bible tells us that God is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) but it also tells us that He is hampered by time and location; for arguments sake I take the opposing view to what the church has taught us. 

Perhaps a different point of view will help us see the possibility that the church's theologians have been too narrow in their theology and too dogmatic in their opinions and so have kept us from seeing the whole truth.

In my next posts I will address teachings such as the infinity of God, the Trinity, Satan, the return of Christ and others.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Still more about the Bible





As already stated, The Roman Catholic Church does not accept that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Many Protestant churches believe that the Holy Spirit will guide any Christian to the truth if a Christian honestly seeks for the truth in the Bible. 

This is a great theory, but in practice it does not work, for whenever a seeker finds a different truth than the church believes, of course the church cannot allow that such a finding was the Holy Spirit's doing, for that would mean that the church had been wrong. 

We, Protestants, have been so conditioned to believe that everything in the Bible is true, exactly as we read it in the Bible, that if we do find something that does not agree with the same fact, somewhere else in the Bible, we are thrown into a tailspin.

Let us not insist that everything in the Bible must be taken as a literal fact.  A case in point would be the hyperboles that Christ used in His speeches.  Here is another quote from the previously mentioned book, We also notice some very ambiguous teachings in the lessons taught by Christ. For example, If your right hand offends you, cut it off. If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains into the sea.  Why have we tried to make ourselves believe that Christ was speaking literally? It is much more logical to believe that He was using hyperboles. It is really the only way that His statements of this nature can make any sense.  

What can we say about a camel passing through the eye of a needle? Theologians have wrangled about how this could possibly happen.  They have twisted the meanings of Christ’s words, just so that those words, by Christ, can mean exactly what He said.  Billy Graham said that by using chemicals, one could liquefy a camel’s body and so it could pass through the eye of a needle.  Could this possibly be what Christ meant?! 

Another theory advanced is that there is a gate in the wall of Jerusalem, named, the Needle’s Eye, and if a camel gets down on its knees, it can crawl through the Needles Eye. The problem with this idea is that, according to Christ, it would be possible for a person to gain salvation by trying very hard.  It would not be easy, but possible!  For theological reasons alone, it is simply impossible to accept the explanation of a camel on its knees. 

In the meantime, it is possible to imagine Christ somewhat amused, or perhaps, very upset at the theologians who engage in that kind of teaching.  If not amused or upset perhaps Christ is thinking; surely, they cannot have taken seriously those things that are so blatantly hyperboles.  As I wrote in an earlier post, When once we set the Bible free from our tenacious grasp we will find that it all makes a lot more sense.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More about the Bible


Let us continue with the premise that the Bible is a good book, and that, for the most part, it can be trusted to tell the truth.  The Bible makes the claim for itself, that holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit wrote it.  That statement, of course, does not say that the Bible is absolutely without error.  It says only that God did His part in making the Bible; when we consider that the other part was done by people it is easy to believe that the Bible most likely is not perfect.  In spite of that, though, many theologians over the past few hundred years have maintained, and some still do, that the Bible is absolutely without error.

Let us also agree that wise, honest people, who were interested in sharing their history, cultural leanings and their learning with their readers, wrote it.  At the time they were writing, they had no idea that someday their writings would be thought of as “holy books".  It is easy to believe that sometimes they inserted "facts" or ideas which, to them seemed to be relevant, but which, in fact, had nothing to do with the history that they were writing. 


In the book, Jesus and His Times published by the Readers Digest is this illuminating statement; the recording of history with literal exactness of detail is a fairly modern development. At the time when the Bible was written, precise fact was far less important than the spiritual message of the stories shared. 

In my book, Doctrinal Errors in Protestant Churches, this statement was made, "Surely, inspiration of the Bible was an act of God, or, is it more right to say, God still inspires the Bible?  It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16.  Let's beware not to  force it into a man made mould.  The Word of God is not our servant so that the Bible’s teachings have to fit into the boxes we have built for our teachings! When once we set the Bible free from our tenacious grasp we will find that it all makes a lot more sense.

Let's picture the writers of the Bible as being witnesses in a court case.  As already stated, these reputable people would do their best to witness to the truth as they knew it or as they remembered it. 

Here is an example.  All four-gospel writers told a brief story of the life of Christ, but Mark, a younger person and the writer of the first written gospel does not mention the resurrection of Christ at all.  His omission, however, does not invalidate the fact that Christ did rise from the dead; it only tells us that he, being a Roman and not a disciple of Christ, did not wish to perjure himself on the witness stand by stating something as a fact, when he was not sure that it was a fact.  

Matthew and John were Christ's disciples, they knew the facts from first hand experience and they had no qualms about stating as a fact that Christ did rise from the dead.  

Luke, the other gospel writer was a well-studied doctor.   He even wrote to his friend that he had carefully studied all the details about the life of Christ and he attested to the fact that Christ, indeed, is raised from the dead.


As I said, this is only an example of how we can view the writers of the Bible.  The more witnesses there are that agree on an issue the more likely it is that their testimony is true.  However, a problem does arise when one witness declares one thing and another witness declares the exact opposite. 

For example, in the Book of Exodus we read, Moses went up ... and saw the God of Israel.  Some centuries later Saint John wrote, No one has seen God at anytime.  It is not right to gloss over discrepancies like this and pretend that they are not in the Bible, as the church, at large, has done for years.  

Because Biblical teachers have done that, I made it a point to study many of the church's doctrines in detail to find out how they do not agree with the Bible, or how the Bible does not even agree with itself.