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Ben Masada

Children of Light vs Children of Darkness

40 posts in this topic

I dont think that this revisionist theory works, your just reinterpreting Genesis to make it less fantastical and unreal.

I can understand why ethnocentric Jews of today would like their Book to be revised in this way, since now the book is recognised as being derivative of other earlier stories and myths, scientifically unsound etc. They would like to restore some authority to it.

To be frank it is a primitive, and unoriginal text, that is itself an attempt to revise the culture-group's history and origins, and owes more to foreign influences than anything definitively Israeli.

It is the moral aspect of the work that is particularly Jewish, it sets the book apart from its influences, the merit of this should be seen in its proper context rather than undermined by revisionist attempts.

Do you know something, Gremlin? I am going to give you the benefit of the doulbt, if you explain to me why light was created in the first day of Creation and the sun was set in the sky only in the 4th day of Creation. If the days are figured according to the rotations of the earth around the sun, how could the report speak of first, second and third days? If you can't, there is no option but to go for metaphorical language with reference to that light in the first day.

Ben

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The light is simply the sun. No sun, no life. This was recognised many many millenia ago. All gods are the sun, or from the sun. Call them Ra, Horus or Aten, they are all one, all the life giving sun. Akhenaten was perhaps the first to untangle the mess caused by so many aspects of the sun being given human(ish) form, and control of various aspects of the world they saw around them. Perhaps even call them saints, it is the same process. Shows how retrograde some religions are 3,400 years after the nonsense was swept away, for a short time.... There are no children of darkness, we are all the children of light. Even in a duality there is no dark and light side in the sense of good and evil. This duality is, to me, simply a way ancient peoples rationalised day and night, life and death. Horus of the two horizons is a duality contained in one being. Not good and evil, simply different phases of one being, Ra, or Aten if you wish, which many don't....

True monsters, children of the dark, without redeeming features, like dangerous powerful gods, are all constructs to frighten the children into submission. Monsters such as Hitler are simply people who are damaged, not agents of some sentient evil force. There is only light, and we are it's children.

Thank you Atentutankh for the vote to my metaphorical interpretation of light. Now, although I don't know if you are a Christian, I would like to remind you that in his Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, Jesus declared: "You are the light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) Of course, this is metaphorical. But so was that light created or prophesyed in the first day of Creation. Perhaps Jesus took that from the Essenes' Theology.

Ben

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Ben, despite my provokative tone you remain gracious. :tu:

I stand by the nuts and bolts of my post though, and see metaphor being applied retrospectively to a jumbled and primitive attempt to explain the creation of the heavens and earth by a god which, at the time of writing, had only just become the official monotheistic patron deity of the jewish people.

I believe that it is an interesting book, which offers us much today, but think that to read it metaphorically is a mistake. Single points in isolation can be pondered metaphorically, just as christian priests now do with both OT and NT, but when viewed in context the metaphor is often undermined. Im not saying that there is no metaphor present in the OT, only that exercises in subjective interpretations do not always bear fruit with every line and passage....so how and where do we differentiate?

I admit, Im unlikely to have poured over the text with the same vigour and dedication as yourself, so maybe you can show me more about what you mean. Are there layers of metaphor that fall within a meta-scheme?

take the following for example....

chpt1

1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7: And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10: And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13: And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18: And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22: And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23: And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24: And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25: And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

do we divide the text into various, but related metaphors? or are parts literal, and others deeply metaphoric?

chpt2

1: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2: And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3: And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

4: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

5: And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6: But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8: And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10: And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11: The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

12: And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

13: And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14: And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

15: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20: And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25: And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I view the work as a product of the author, a man of his own time and place....with everything that that entails. I am not beyond the idea that there are levels of understanding to be reached, as with Greek mystery religions, within the story largely intended for the education of the masses (bums on seats and all that)....but struggle to see it as highly sophisticated and having a metaphoric unity. Instead I view it as a collection of different stories, elements and influences that are stapled together, sometimes badly, to form a reasonably coherent narrative.

If you are up for it, perhaps we could dissect the above, and examine it in various ways.....

How would you read the first chapter metaphorically?

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Thank you Atentutankh for the vote to my metaphorical interpretation of light. Now, although I don't know if you are a Christian, I would like to remind you that in his Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, Jesus declared: "You are the light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) Of course, this is metaphorical. But so was that light created or prophesyed in the first day of Creation. Perhaps Jesus took that from the Essenes' Theology.

Ben

I was mostly being direct. The light really is the light of the Sun, though of course the word can be used to mean goodness. I am from a Christian culture, though it is not part of my world. To me the Old Testament is simply the creation myth and garbled history of just one tribal group in Middle East. It is an accident of history that this book has made an impact on human history that it should never have had. In my opinion, Judaism/Christianity have created an artificial barrier between us in the modern world and the ancient, pre Judaic/Christian world. It is difficult to properly understand what the ancients really thought because, no matter no hard we try, the mind glogging filters and propaganda of our cultures still exert an influence. Though to me one thing is very clear, the Judeo/Christian god is man made, he is less a god than Ra or Perun. Hmm, or Яр, and then it gets complicated......

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Ben, despite my provokative tone you remain gracious. :tu:

I stand by the nuts and bolts of my post though, and see metaphor being applied retrospectively to a jumbled and primitive attempt to explain the creation of the heavens and earth by a god which, at the time of writing, had only just become the official monotheistic patron deity of the jewish people.

I believe that it is an interesting book, which offers us much today, but think that to read it metaphorically is a mistake. Single points in isolation can be pondered metaphorically, just as christian priests now do with both OT and NT, but when viewed in context the metaphor is often undermined. Im not saying that there is no metaphor present in the OT, only that exercises in subjective interpretations do not always bear fruit with every line and passage....so how and where do we differentiate?

I admit, Im unlikely to have poured over the text with the same vigour and dedication as yourself, so maybe you can show me more about what you mean. Are there layers of metaphor that fall within a meta-scheme? take the following for example....do we divide the text into various, but related metaphors? or are parts literal, and others deeply metaphoric?

I view the work as a product of the author, a man of his own time and place....with everything that that entails. I am not beyond the idea that there are levels of understanding to be reached, as with Greek mystery religions, within the story largely intended for the education of the masses (bums on seats and all that)....but struggle to see it as highly sophisticated and having a metaphoric unity. Instead I view it as a collection of different stories, elements and influences that are stapled together, sometimes badly, to form a reasonably coherent narrative.

If you are up for it, perhaps we could dissect the above, and examine it in various ways.....How would you read the first chapter metaphorically?

Fantastic work Grimlin you went through to copy all this. I do not refer to God Himself as the official Monotheistic patron of the Jewish People but Abraham who discovered that truth. God has been always One from eternity to eternity. We owe to Abraham to have discovered that truth and shared with his descendants throughout their generations.

I don't see the mistake in reading the Bible metaphorically. The opposite is rather true that, the literal interpretation would be detrimental to the credibility of Monotheism. IMHO, the key to differentiate between what must be interpreted literally and metaphorically is in the diference between history and poetry.

To answer your question of how I read the first chapter of Genesis metaphorically, why not give you my metaphorical way to look at the whole account of Criation?

THE DOUBLE ALLEGORY OF CREATION

There are three stages for the account of Creation in Genesis: Two allegories and the Reality which the allegories point to: Man as the theme of Creation.

The first allegory in the Genesis account of Creation is in the letter of the account, and here abide the masses of religious people for taking the account at its face value. I mean, Adam and Eve in the Garden being provided for by God with all their needs, being told what's allowed and forbidden in the Garden, being misled by the serpent into eating of a forbidden tree, and eventually being punished with different kinds of punishments respectively on all three of them, etc. Just literally as it is written.

The second allegory has still the same elements and God is still figured anthropomorphically, but the meaning of the actions and behaviour depicts a more logical version of what happened in the Garden. And here abide those who can think more logically, abbeit not in the archtype level of Reality. In this phase of the account of Creation in Genesis, after God created Adam and Eve, He granted them with free will and expected to be served and sought after by them, but the thing was not working. God would have to search for them and that was not the right method. They would have to become proficient and leave the Garden in order to seek for God in terms of growing in knowledge out in the greater world.

Then, among the many fruit trees in the Garden, God planted a most beautiful of all the trees with fruits much more alluring, and right in the middle of the Garden, so that it would easily call their attention. It was the tree of knowledge. But it was not working. Then, God told them that the fruit of that tree was forbidden under penalty of death, but just in the hope that the warning would make them curious and go for it. It was not working either.

Next, God doubled in Eve the emotion of curiosity so that she would go for it and entice Adam into eating of that tree. However, God had underestimated Eve's emotion of love. She had fallen in love with her man and she would never risk loosing him for no stupid fruit even if it looked the most appetitizing of all. Obviously, it didn't work.

The next step was to use the services of the serpent to persuade Eve that she had misunderstood the prohibition. That what would die in them was not themselves but their stupid innocence and naivete. Then, the serpent showed up on the very tree and somehow called for Eve's attention. As she approached, the dialogue started. To instigate the conversation, the serpent started with a question which surely would require an explanation. "Is it that you guys cannot eat from the trees in the Garden?" Bingo! Eve was locked in. The serpent got Eve to talk by explaining that only from the tree of knowledge, they were forbidden. "Why?" the serpent retortted. "Because we would die," she said. "Nonsense!" said the serpent. "You have misunderstood the whole thing. God meant to say that you two will become like gods, knowing good from evil."

Now, imagine, Eve must have thought, her man like a god! Without much ado, Eve reached for the fruit, ate it and told Adam that it was okay. Adam thought for a second and came to the conclusion that even if it were not okay, he would rather die with her beloved who had just enjoyed half of a fruit. Then he ate the other half and went on eating more. The serpent was right. They did not die. And the first knowledge they acquired was of how much they did not know. I mean, that they were naked, completely destitute of knowledge.

It didn't take too long for God to appear in the Garden to collect the fruit of His enterprise. It had finally happened what He wanted without His having to do anything against man's free will. Then, He formally defined some punishments to everyone according to their nature anyway, and got them out of the Garden into the greater world out there, so that they would grow in knowledge by seeking for God, which would be the right method.

Now, the third phase or Reality, the account of Creation is supposed to point to. I mean, the Humanistic approach, which is the purpose of the double allegory. The riddle points to the three phases in the development of man: Childhood, adulthood, and old age. Here, only the enlightened with Philosophical training dwells. I mean, the Theist who is big enough not to let him or herself be intoxicated by blind faith. In this class we can find also Atheists and Agnostics but under the subclass of sarchasm for not being able to harmonize enlightenment with the conception of God free of anthropomorphism.

Childhood is understood by that phase in the Garden when God would have to provide man with everything. That's the phase when we are dependent on our parents or on others for all our needs. That's the phase of walking on our four legs.

Adulthood is applied to that time when man ate of the tree of knowledge and became conscious of himself. That's when we actually become an adult and responsible for our own actions. I mean, when we can stand on our own two legs, so to speak.

Regarding the phase of old age, the allegory of Creation does not go into details, but it's when we become dependent again on others, especailly our children to take care of us. I mean, the phase of walking on two legs and a cane.

Ben

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I was mostly being direct. The light really is the light of the Sun, though of course the word can be used to mean goodness. I am from a Christian culture, though it is not part of my world. To me the Old Testament is simply the creation myth and garbled history of just one tribal group in Middle East. It is an accident of history that this book has made an impact on human history that it should never have had. In my opinion, Judaism/Christianity have created an artificial barrier between us in the modern world and the ancient, pre Judaic/Christian world. It is difficult to properly understand what the ancients really thought because, no matter no hard we try, the mind glogging filters and propaganda of our cultures still exert an influence. Though to me one thing is very clear, the Judeo/Christian god is man made, he is less a god than Ra or Perun. Hmm, or Яр, and then it gets complicated......

And I can't agree with you more if we are to interpret the Scriptures literally. Tell me APT, can you describe to me how your great-great-great-great-great-great grand mother looked like? No, you can't. But you do believe you had one, don't you? Yes. Do you know anything about her? No, you don't. How do you believe she was there somewhere at that so long ago time? Because you are here. Was she a myth? No, otherwise, you would be a myth too. But God, the First Cause of things, you are ready to refer to It as a myth. IOW, It never existed. Bottom line, neither did your gggggggg mother existed nor do you. Do you know what name scientists and atheists have for those who believe something they are unable to say a word for an explanation about its existence? I don't have to mention it here. I am sure you have a good guessing.

Ben

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Fantastic work Grimlin you went through to copy all this. I do not refer to God Himself as the official Monotheistic patron of the Jewish People but Abraham who discovered that truth. God has been always One from eternity to eternity. We owe to Abraham to have discovered that truth and shared with his descendants throughout their generations.

I don't see the mistake in reading the Bible metaphorically. The opposite is rather true that, the literal interpretation would be detrimental to the credibility of Monotheism. IMHO, the key to differentiate between what must be interpreted literally and metaphorically is in the diference between history and poetry.

To answer your question of how I read the first chapter of Genesis metaphorically, why not give you my metaphorical way to look at the whole account of Criation?

THE DOUBLE ALLEGORY OF CREATION

There are three stages for the account of Creation in Genesis: Two allegories and the Reality which the allegories point to: Man as the theme of Creation.

The first allegory in the Genesis account of Creation is in the letter of the account, and here abide the masses of religious people for taking the account at its face value. I mean, Adam and Eve in the Garden being provided for by God with all their needs, being told what's allowed and forbidden in the Garden, being misled by the serpent into eating of a forbidden tree, and eventually being punished with different kinds of punishments respectively on all three of them, etc. Just literally as it is written.

The second allegory has still the same elements and God is still figured anthropomorphically, but the meaning of the actions and behaviour depicts a more logical version of what happened in the Garden. And here abide those who can think more logically, abbeit not in the archtype level of Reality. In this phase of the account of Creation in Genesis, after God created Adam and Eve, He granted them with free will and expected to be served and sought after by them, but the thing was not working. God would have to search for them and that was not the right method. They would have to become proficient and leave the Garden in order to seek for God in terms of growing in knowledge out in the greater world.

Then, among the many fruit trees in the Garden, God planted a most beautiful of all the trees with fruits much more alluring, and right in the middle of the Garden, so that it would easily call their attention. It was the tree of knowledge. But it was not working. Then, God told them that the fruit of that tree was forbidden under penalty of death, but just in the hope that the warning would make them curious and go for it. It was not working either.

Next, God doubled in Eve the emotion of curiosity so that she would go for it and entice Adam into eating of that tree. However, God had underestimated Eve's emotion of love. She had fallen in love with her man and she would never risk loosing him for no stupid fruit even if it looked the most appetitizing of all. Obviously, it didn't work.

The next step was to use the services of the serpent to persuade Eve that she had misunderstood the prohibition. That what would die in them was not themselves but their stupid innocence and naivete. Then, the serpent showed up on the very tree and somehow called for Eve's attention. As she approached, the dialogue started. To instigate the conversation, the serpent started with a question which surely would require an explanation. "Is it that you guys cannot eat from the trees in the Garden?" Bingo! Eve was locked in. The serpent got Eve to talk by explaining that only from the tree of knowledge, they were forbidden. "Why?" the serpent retortted. "Because we would die," she said. "Nonsense!" said the serpent. "You have misunderstood the whole thing. God meant to say that you two will become like gods, knowing good from evil."

Now, imagine, Eve must have thought, her man like a god! Without much ado, Eve reached for the fruit, ate it and told Adam that it was okay. Adam thought for a second and came to the conclusion that even if it were not okay, he would rather die with her beloved who had just enjoyed half of a fruit. Then he ate the other half and went on eating more. The serpent was right. They did not die. And the first knowledge they acquired was of how much they did not know. I mean, that they were naked, completely destitute of knowledge.

It didn't take too long for God to appear in the Garden to collect the fruit of His enterprise. It had finally happened what He wanted without His having to do anything against man's free will. Then, He formally defined some punishments to everyone according to their nature anyway, and got them out of the Garden into the greater world out there, so that they would grow in knowledge by seeking for God, which would be the right method.

Now, the third phase or Reality, the account of Creation is supposed to point to. I mean, the Humanistic approach, which is the purpose of the double allegory. The riddle points to the three phases in the development of man: Childhood, adulthood, and old age. Here, only the enlightened with Philosophical training dwells. I mean, the Theist who is big enough not to let him or herself be intoxicated by blind faith. In this class we can find also Atheists and Agnostics but under the subclass of sarchasm for not being able to harmonize enlightenment with the conception of God free of anthropomorphism.

Childhood is understood by that phase in the Garden when God would have to provide man with everything. That's the phase when we are dependent on our parents or on others for all our needs. That's the phase of walking on our four legs.

Adulthood is applied to that time when man ate of the tree of knowledge and became conscious of himself. That's when we actually become an adult and responsible for our own actions. I mean, when we can stand on our own two legs, so to speak.

Regarding the phase of old age, the allegory of Creation does not go into details, but it's when we become dependent again on others, especailly our children to take care of us. I mean, the phase of walking on two legs and a cane.

Ben

I have to confess Ben, I am a little disappointed by your reply; for a number of reasons.

I had hoped for a more insightful explaination, perhaps you did not have the time to give it much thought.

for example you started this thread alluding to the metaphor of light and darkness in the first few lines of the book, and drew my attention to the fact that this was intended as a metaphor, explaining that the creation of the sun and moon later explained how it cannot be taken literally, because how could there be light without the sun.......the simple response is that God here is anthropomorphic, and a big ego, he created the world, light and darkness, if he later decided to create a sun to make that mechanism permanent then he is more than capable.....being God.

Yet you chose to skip all of Genesis to the point of the creation of adam and eve, and focus on the message of the fall. Your explaination completely undermines the moral message of the story; and is entirely revisionist in character.

The allegories that you outline also are not entirely supported by the text; and you miss so much of what could be said. The metaphors that could have been discussed have been ignored. The historical value of the text and its contents are not touched upon at all.

The only point that you really seem to have been concerned with pushing is that Abraham had the right idea, and that God is one, after all, and that since his eyes were opened Jewish tradition has been monotheistic.

I cannot agree with this blinkered stance.

I can see how this discussion is going to go, and so will save myself the effort, as i cannot see it bearing any fruit.

You drive a fast car Ben, but you're doing dohnuts.....I'll leave you to enjoy the screech of wheels and the smell of tyre smoke.

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And I can't agree with you more if we are to interpret the Scriptures literally. Tell me APT, can you describe to me how your great-great-great-great-great-great grand mother looked like? No, you can't. But you do believe you had one, don't you? Yes. Do you know anything about her? No, you don't. How do you believe she was there somewhere at that so long ago time? Because you are here. Was she a myth? No, otherwise, you would be a myth too. But God, the First Cause of things, you are ready to refer to It as a myth. IOW, It never existed. Bottom line, neither did your gggggggg mother existed nor do you. Do you know what name scientists and atheists have for those who believe something they are unable to say a word for an explanation about its existence? I don't have to mention it here. I am sure you have a good guessing.

Ben

Well, my ggggggg maternal grandmother was born in Moscow at end of 17th century and her great grandson was one of early settlers of Omsk. However, I only refer to the Judeo/Christian god as a man made myth. The book of Genesis shows him to be simply yet another construct, IMO. Do you pick and choose what elements of your religion to believe? either you believe in your holy book, or you actually worship something other than described. Why not come clean and admit that your god is actually the Aten and you have borrowed much from AE. And not to miss anybody out, Christians, you worship Horus and Isis, good :yes:

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I have to confess Ben, I am a little disappointed by your reply; for a number of reasons.

I had hoped for a more insightful explaination, perhaps you did not have the time to give it much thought.

for example you started this thread alluding to the metaphor of light and darkness in the first few lines of the book, and drew my attention to the fact that this was intended as a metaphor, explaining that the creation of the sun and moon later explained how it cannot be taken literally, because how could there be light without the sun.......the simple response is that God here is anthropomorphic, and a big ego, he created the world, light and darkness, if he later decided to create a sun to make that mechanism permanent then he is more than capable.....being God.

Yet you chose to skip all of Genesis to the point of the creation of adam and eve, and focus on the message of the fall. Your explaination completely undermines the moral message of the story; and is entirely revisionist in character.

The allegories that you outline also are not entirely supported by the text; and you miss so much of what could be said. The metaphors that could have been discussed have been ignored. The historical value of the text and its contents are not touched upon at all.

The only point that you really seem to have been concerned with pushing is that Abraham had the right idea, and that God is one, after all, and that since his eyes were opened Jewish tradition has been monotheistic.

I cannot agree with this blinkered stance.

I can see how this discussion is going to go, and so will save myself the effort, as i cannot see it bearing any fruit.

You drive a fast car Ben, but you're doing dohnuts.....I'll leave you to enjoy the screech of wheels and the smell of tyre smoke.

You are quite a lover of metaphorical language yourself, as I can see. Listen Gremlin, the whole point about the Genesis account of Creation is about the origin of man. Every culture of the time had a version of its own about the origin of man. Then, we added one of our own. There is nothing literal about it. Since the whole text was written in a poetic prose, it must be interpreted metaphorically, or it will become nothing more than a legendary myth prone to vanish with time.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada

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You are quite a lover of metaphorical language yourself, as I can see. Listen Gremlin, the whole point about the Genesis account of Creation is about the origin of man. Every culture of the time had a version of its own about the origin of man. Then, we added one of our own. There is nothing literal about it. Since the whole text was written in a poetic prose, it must be interpreted metaphorically, or it will become nothing more than a legendary myth prone to vanish with time.

Ben

As you allude to in your first post, Genesis is about the creation of the universe and earth first, then the flora and fauna, then man. Earth is the centrepiece of God's creation in the universe, the story exists for a reason. People wanted (as they do now) to know 'how' and 'why' things came into being....this is the primary goal, to answer these fundimental questions. Metaphoric allegory pointing to the 3 ages of man for example can be read into it.....as it can into many story formats (just ask hollywood)...but this should not overtake the primary goal of the piece in importance, and therefore undermine the narrative where the main message lies. God's relationship with man, and the reason why suffering is part of our living experience, and why we die, are central themes to the Biblical text.

The people of the time that would later call themselves Jews learned writing from Mesopotamia, they learned it in school classes, and by copying out cuneiform texts repeatedly; we know this because some of the best preserved portions of stories like the Epic of Gilgamesh come from Israel amongst other places, and in different states of accomplishments (displaying the same sorts of errors modern students make).

The people of your culture first learned to write reading the poetry and mythical stories of Sumeria and Babylon....Even Abraham is supposed to have come from Ur.

It is not surprising that Genesis should reflect these same stories, and elements with a 'local' twist. The transference of religious ideas in this and similar ways, most often linked with trade, but also with imperial conquest, is visible across the whole region.

Genesis is however significantly different from these earlier stories....It was probably revised further after the return from Babylon, and exposure to the culture there, and the Zoroastrianism of Cyrus (a Messiah to the Jews)...And it is these differences in the tales that demonstrate the differences in the world views of these early Jews from the originators of the stories.

Reducing the text as you have done to these simplistic allegories (which actually conflict with the text), diminishes its overall value. Unfortunately you are not alone in this revisionist approach, every religion has generations of people who read these religious texts to find new meaning, new significance to them and their world experience. Take the Catholic Church's approach to the OT, trying to find harmony with scientific discoveries and writing that was ignrorant of such information......but only when existing dogma becomes sufficiently challenged to necessitate a change for the survival of the institution.

The final straw is the fitting of lightning rods to the vatican, churces, synagogues and mosques.......think about it.

If God is non-interventionist, what good is a religion, prayers etc......the Deists were right all along.

If God does intervene, then they are taking from him a classical avenue of reproach.....ensuring he cannot punish them with lightning strikes.....also undermining the possibility that he would ensure the safety of the institution from natural strikes (which were not intended as acts of vengence).

This simple act subverts the whole theology.

Instead of interpolating the riddle of the sphinx into the story, we should appreciate it for what it is.

Edited by The Gremlin
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As you allude to in your first post, Genesis is about the creation of the universe and earth first, then the flora and fauna, then man. Earth is the centrepiece of God's creation in the universe, the story exists for a reason.

I do not recall to have ever alluded that, in the creation of the universe, the earth came first. But I can relate to the earth being the centerpiece of God 's creation because of man, who is the theme of the Genesis account of creation.

The people of your culture first learned to write reading the poetry and mythical stories of Sumeria and Babylon....Even Abraham is supposed to have come from Ur. It is not surprising that Genesis should reflect these same stories, and elements with a 'local' twist. The transference of religious ideas in this and similar ways, most often linked with trade, but also with imperial conquest, is visible across the whole region.

I can relate to that too, as IMHO, Ezra and Nehemiah did most of the writings of the Tanach, especially Torah and historical books.

Genesis is however significantly different from these earlier stories....It was probably revised further after the return from Babylon, and exposure to the culture there, and the Zoroastrianism of Cyrus (a Messiah to the Jews)...And it is these differences in the tales that demonstrate the differences in the world views of these early Jews from the originators of the stories

Cyrus was not "a Messiah to the Jews." He was a kind of messianic leader, which also can be called an anointed for his role in the ending of the Jewish exile in Babylon and releasing of the Jews to return to the Land of Israel. (Isa. 45:1)

Reducing the text as you have done to these simplistic allegories (which actually conflict with the text), diminishes its overall value. Unfortunately you are not alone in this revisionist approach, every religion has generations of people who read these religious texts to find new meaning, new significance to them and their world experience.

The use of metaphorical language to prevent anthropomorphism in God, I don't see as simplistic allegories destitute of commonsense. It is rather for God's

credibility as a Spiritual Being.

Take the Catholic Church's approach to the OT, trying to find harmony with scientific discoveries and writing that was ignrorant of such information......but only when existing dogma becomes sufficiently challenged to necessitate a change for the survival of the institution.

Aren't you aware that some Catholic Jesuits are among the best Cosmologists Science has produced? They are barred to be out in the pictures because of the stain of religion.

The final straw is the fitting of lightning rods to the vatican, churces, synagogues and mosques.think about it. If God is non-interventionist, what good is a religion, prayers etc......the Deists were right all along. If God does intervene, then they are taking from him a classical avenue of reproach.....ensuring he cannot punish them with lightning strikes.....also undermining the possibility that he would ensure the safety of the institution from natural strikes (which were not intended as acts of vengence).

I stand unmovable in my understanding that to dress God with human ornaments is anthropomorphism and rather dethrones God from His position as a divine Being. According to the Scriptures, God does not intervene in the affairs of man. Otherwise, it would be irrelevant to have granted man with free will.

This simple act subverts the whole theology.

I agree with you if you have in mind anthropomorphic theology. Hence, the death of the Olympian Pantheon of Greek gods.

Instead of interpolating the riddle of the sphinx into the story, we should appreciate it for what it is.

It was only taking as a simile.

Ben

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I do not recall to have ever alluded that, in the creation of the universe, the earth came first. But I can relate to the earth being the centerpiece of God 's creation because of man, who is the theme of the Genesis account of creation.

so the writers of Genesis were not correct after all,

there is no denying the central moral theme to the story.

I can relate to that too, as IMHO, Ezra and Nehemiah did most of the writings of the Tanach, especially Torah and historical books.

Cyrus was not "a Messiah to the Jews." He was a kind of messianic leader, which also can be called an anointed for his role in the ending of the Jewish exile in Babylon and releasing of the Jews to return to the Land of Israel. (Isa. 45:1)

.....in other words....he was a 'Messiah to the Jews'.......?

In Isaiah, he is called 'God's annointed one'.....remind me what messiah means....

The use of metaphorical language to prevent anthropomorphism in God, I don't see as simplistic allegories destitute of commonsense. It is rather for God's

credibility as a Spiritual Being.

Anthropomorphism happened, still does when folk think of God.....and runs through the Biblical text.....not every instance can be written off as figurative.

Aren't you aware that some Catholic Jesuits are among the best Cosmologists Science has produced? They are barred to be out in the pictures because of the stain of religion.

Yes I am....but ask Galileo how they recieve challenging information......but its ok now, they've changed their minds and shifted the paradigm to suit and encompass what they could not suppress.

I stand unmovable in my understanding that to dress God with human ornaments is anthropomorphism and rather dethrones God from His position as a divine Being. According to the Scriptures, God does not intervene in the affairs of man. Otherwise, it would be irrelevant to have granted man with free will.

I agree with the first statement......but cannot agree with the second....'According to the Scriptures' he does......including, giving them laws, punishing them in various ways.....leading them from captivity.....leading them to victory....leading them to the promised land.......and so on....

According to the scriptures he is quite involved.

Whether you believe all accounts to be figurative or not, plenty (a majority even) from your culture, and from all Abrahamic religions believe that he does intervene ...... Hence the use of prayer....and also the presence of a sacrificial altar in the Temple.

I agree with you if you have in mind anthropomorphic theology. Hence, the death of the Olympian Pantheon of Greek gods.

Which began within the Greek culture itself.

There always seem to be levels of understanding dont there.

It was only taking as a simile.

once seen entirely figuratively, many subjective interpretations are possible.....the unity of the piece should not be compromised however.....where they conflict with the narrative there are problems.

Edited by The Gremlin

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so the writers of Genesis were not correct after all, there is no denying the central moral theme to the story.

The central moral theme to the story is man. If this in your opinion renders the writers of Genesis incorrect, so, it does.

in other words....he was a 'Messiah to the Jews'.......? In Isaiah, he is called 'God's annointed one'.....remind me what messiah means.

No, he was not. He was a messianic leader. "God's anointed one" was not only the Messiah, although etimologically that's the meaning of the expression. The king too was an anointed, and so were the Hight Priests, the prophets and the judges. Since we are talking specifically about the Messiah, prophet

Habakkuk says, "The Lord comes forth to save His People; to save His anointed one." Therefore, Cyrus was an anointed one in terms of a messianic leader in his liberation of the Messiah to return to the Land of Israel and to rebuild the Temple. (Isa. 45:1)

Anthropomorphism happened, still does when folk think of God.....and runs through the Biblical text.....not every instance can be written off as figurative.

It can, depending on the education of the reader. If poetic and prophetic literature were given to be taken literally, it would be depriciative to learning.

Yes I am....but ask Galileo how they recieve challenging information......but its ok now, they've changed their minds and shifted the paradigm to suit and encompass what they could not suppress.

As you can see, knowledge is progressive.

I agree with the first statement......but cannot agree with the second....'According to the Scriptures' he does......including, giving them laws, punishing them in various ways.....leading them from captivity.....leading them to victory....leading them to the promised land.......and so on....According to the scriptures he is quite involved.

Not according to the Scriptures but rather according to the reader of the Scriptures.

Whether you believe all accounts to be figurative or not, plenty (a majority even) from your culture, and from all Abrahamic religions believe that he does intervene ...... Hence the use of prayer....and also the presence of a sacrificial altar in the Temple.

There is a problem with literal interpretation. One will have to be dealing with contradictions, which will only increase the number of religions and cults.

Which began within the Greek culture itself. There always seem to be levels of understanding dont there.

That's right. Hence the need of evolution of the mind.

once seen entirely figuratively, many subjective interpretations are possible.....the unity of the piece should not be compromised however.....where they conflict with the narrative there are problems.

Oh, BTW, there must be no conflict with the narrative. The historical is not subject to metaphorical interpretation. Otherwise, the essence of History would be contradicted.

Ben

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The central moral theme to the story is man. If this in your opinion renders the writers of Genesis incorrect, so, it does.

The central moral theme to the story is mans fall from grace.

The narrative attempts at the same time to explain the creation of the world, universe and everything in it, including man......in your first post you claim that there is a figurative subtext that time and education has shown to be correct....I argue that if this were the case, that the poetic writers would also reflect this in the narrative, meant for the uneducated, and not just for the initiated. The unity of the work is compromised otherwise.

No, he was not. He was a messianic leader. "God's anointed one" was not only the Messiah, although etimologically that's the meaning of the expression. The king too was an anointed, and so were the Hight Priests, the prophets and the judges. Since we are talking specifically about the Messiah, prophet

Habakkuk says, "The Lord comes forth to save His People; to save His anointed one." Therefore, Cyrus was an anointed one in terms of a messianic leader in his liberation of the Messiah to return to the Land of Israel and to rebuild the Temple. (Isa. 45:1)

my statement that he was a messiah to the jews is quite correct.....Called 'God's annointed one', and he is a deliverer/saviour of the Jewish people.....I am aware of the meaning of the term, and the historical story.

Heres an interesting snippet from the Jewish Encyclopedia....

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10729-messiah

In Isa. xlv. 1 Cyrus is called "God's anointed one," because God has called him and given him victory after victory for the distinct purpose of putting an end to the Babylonian kingdom and the worship of idols, of setting free exiled Israel, and thus introducing the new era of God's universal dominion.

It is likely that Jewish monotheism began here.

It can, depending on the education of the reader. If poetic and prophetic literature were given to be taken literally, it would be depriciative to learning.

Indeed, it can depend on the education of the reader, and those being read to. It is clear that the state patron god was claimed to intervene in state and individual matters, judged people and punished/rewarded them according to his will.

The fact that people made sacrifices at an alter in the Temple makes clear that this is the case, the fact that people prayed and still do shows that the majority of jewish people, even educated ones believe in an interventionist God.

As you can see, knowledge is progressive.

And institutions are slow to react, suppressing what challenges existing dogma until they are forced to concede.

Not according to the Scriptures but rather according to the reader of the Scriptures.

well no, it is written....so 'according to the Scriptures' is a correct statement. How one decides to read that narritive is subjective and open to interpretation.

Im no literalist, but it is clear that the majority of religious people are to some degree.

Otherwise there would be no sacrifices at the Temple, no prayers. JHVH's personality, and involvement with the Jewish people and their enemies is the gel that holds Jewish culture together.....It is what holds all religions together.....Theism.

There is a problem with literal interpretation. One will have to be dealing with contradictions, which will only increase the number of religions and cults.

Hence the many offshoots of all religions, schizms, sub-groups etc. Even within Judaism there are/were many.

The sacrifices in the Temple were a central part of the priestly religion, not alway totally inclusive to the lay person.....meaning they took it literally that God intervenes.

Rabbis pray, people pray....they believe that God intervenes.

That's right. Hence the need of evolution of the mind.

without evolution where would we be? :innocent:

Oh, BTW, there must be no conflict with the narrative. The historical is not subject to metaphorical interpretation. Otherwise, the essence of History would be contradicted.

oh but there is.....one has an anthropomorphic patron state god, the other you claim does not.

I think you are splitting the OT into historical and metaphoric Books?

While books like Isiah can be seen as 'visionary', with other books the line is not so easy to draw.

Some of the stories have content deemed 'historical', but should also be considered metaphorically......Take the story of Joshua for example......

now you might not believe that he literally existed, and did the things he did, but many do or did.

Some things in the story are taken literally by folk, but today people look back and see that perhaps there is something poetic going on....History written in poetic terms that reinforce social and cultural cohesion....with JHVH as the patron state god....a construct.

The two can coexist.

My argument in this thread was that the narritive of Genesis was also intended to have Historical significance.....which is not in line with what we now understand about the universe, the earth, and evolution.

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The central moral theme to the story is mans fall from grace

There was no fall in the Eden but rather a climbing into the realm of knowledge. One rather dies from lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

It is likely that Jewish monotheism began here.

Were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob polytheist? Of course not! So, Jewish monotheism did not start with Cyrus who was polytheist.

The fact that people made sacrifices at an alter in the Temple makes clear that this is the case, the fact that people prayed and still do shows that the majority of jewish people, even educated ones believe in an interventionist God.

That would be a contradiction in the Torah to be taken literally.

well no, it is written....so 'according to the Scriptures' is a correct statement. How one decides to read that narritive is subjective and open to interpretation. Im no literalist, but it is clear that the majority of religious people are to some degree.

Uncurbed religiosity only foments ignorance.

Hence the many offshoots of all religions, schizms, sub-groups etc. Even within Judaism there are/were many. The sacrifices in the Temple were a central part of the priestly religion, not alway totally inclusive to the lay person.....meaning they took it literally that God intervenes. Rabbis pray, people pray....they believe that God intervenes.

Animal sacrifices were allowed only in terms to point to the Scapegoat in the atonement of Israel for Judah. And petition prayers only to satisfy the uneducated.

I think you are splitting the OT into historical and metaphoric Books? While books like Isiah can be seen as 'visionary', with other books the line is not so easy to draw. Some of the stories have content deemed 'historical', but should also be considered metaphorically.Take the story of Joshua for example.

No, I am not. I just happen to detect when something can be literal and when it is metaphorical. Isaiah was a prophet, Prophecies, by definition, are given in similes and by way of dreams and visions. Therefore, expected to be interepred metaphorically.

My argument in this thread was that the narritive of Genesis was also intended to have Historical significance.....which is not in line with what we now understand about the universe, the earth, and evolution.

You have all the right in the world to your own opinion. IMHO, there is nothing literal in the Genesis account of creation. Not to imply that there is historical narrative in the rest of the book, but a lot of metaphorical language.

Ben

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