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Ben Masada

And the Sun Stood Still

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Naturally, if you did a little study on monotheism and henotheism as viewed by the ancient Israelites you might eventually come to understand why a pure monotheism is not biblical.

Depending on what you mean by 'pure monotheism' and/or 'biblical', I think I'm with you on this one. You are definitely correct that early Israelites were henotheists and that is biblical in the sense that this fact is described there; I haven't made it through much of the OT but I distinctly remember references to the god Baal. However, and maybe this is just the way you've worded it or I may well be wrong, I don't think there's that much in the Bible that unequivocally states that these other beings that these Israelites worshiped were actually ever 'real' gods. I guess I'm just having trouble unpacking 'pure monotheism is not biblical'. I agree that 'the idea that the ancient Israelites were purely monotheistic is not biblical'. But I don't know that I agree that, 'the idea that there is and has always only been one god (possible definition of 'pure monotheism') is not biblical'. Maybe more succinctly, do you agree that 'monotheism (no 'pure') is biblical'?

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Depending on what you mean by 'pure monotheism' and/or 'biblical', I think I'm with you on this one. You are definitely correct that early Israelites were henotheists and that is biblical in the sense that this fact is described there; I haven't made it through much of the OT but I distinctly remember references to the god Baal. However, and maybe this is just the way you've worded it or I may well be wrong, I don't think there's that much in the Bible that unequivocally states that these other beings that these Israelites worshiped were actually ever 'real' gods. I guess I'm just having trouble unpacking 'pure monotheism is not biblical'. I agree that 'the idea that the ancient Israelites were purely monotheistic is not biblical'. But I don't know that I agree that, 'the idea that there is and has always only been one god (possible definition of 'pure monotheism') is not biblical'. Maybe more succinctly, do you agree that 'monotheism (no 'pure') is biblical'?

Monotheism is like trying to fit a sqare peg in to a circular hole.

That does not mean that it isn't right, but it is right only in an indirect way. There were many gods and these gods were real entities but none of them are THE GOD. In that category there is only one. The others are called the "bene elohim" the "sons of God" and they contrary to what is preached today a very real part of ancient Jewish life and of the life of the surrounding civilizations in the ancient near east.

Here is something I posted some time ago on this subject which I still find interesting and defines my point of view...

“Monotheism” as a term was coined in the 17th century not as an antonym to “polytheism,” but to “atheism.” A monotheist, then, was a person who believed there was a God, not someone who believed there was only one spiritual entity that could or should be named by the letters G-O-D. This understanding of the term has been lost in contemporary discourse, and so it would be pointless to call for its re-introduction. A more coherent approach is to describe what Israelites believed about their God rather than trying to encapsulate that belief in a single word. When scholars have addressed this tension, however, a shift to description over terminology has not been the strategy. Rather, scholars have tried to qualify the modern vocabulary. Terms like “inclusive monotheism” or “tolerant monolatry” have been coined in an attempt to accurately classify Israelite religion in both preand post-exilic stages. These terms have not found broad acceptance because they are oxymoronic to the modern ear.

Other scholars have argued for an “incipient monotheism” that could perhaps include the affirmation of other gods who were inferior. There is precedent for this idea in the scholarly exchanges over henotheism, monolatry, and Israelite religion. Historically, henotheism assumes all gods are species equals and the elevation of one god is due to socio-political factors—not theological nuancing. Quoting Max Müller’s seminal work on the subject, M. Yusa writes that henotheism was a technical term coined “to designate a peculiar form of polytheism . . . [where] each god is, ‘at the time a real divinity, supreme and absolute’ not limited by the powers of any other gods.” Müller called this idea “belief in single gods . . . a worship of one god after another.”

T. J. Meek referred to pre-exilic Israelite religion as both henotheistic and monolatrous, thereby equating the two, based on the prohibition of worshipping other gods. But did the canonical Israelite writer believe that Yahweh was superior on the basis of sociopolitical factors, or was Yahweh intrinsically “other” with respect to his nature and certain attributes? Did the writer view Yahweh as only a being who could not be limited by the powers of other deities, or was there something unique about Yahweh that both transcended and produced this total freedom?

H. H. Rowley, reacting to the work of Meek, moved toward the idea of uniqueness, but did so using the word “henotheism.” What distinguished Mosaic religion in his mind from that of other “henotheists” was “not so much the teaching that Yahweh was to be the only God for Israel as the proclamation that Yahweh was unique.”

Rowley’s focus on uniqueness was on the righttrack, but his approach has the disadvantage of trying to convince the academic community to redefine a term whose meaning by now is entrenched. The proposal offered here is that scholars should stop trying to define Israel’s religion with singular, imprecise modern terms and instead stick to describing what Israel believed.

“Monotheism” as it is currently understood means that no other gods exist. This term is inadequate for describing Israelite religion, but suggesting it be done away with would no doubt cause considerable consternation among certain parts of the academic community, not to mention the interested laity.

“Henotheism” and “monolatry,” while perhaps better, are inadequate because they do not say enough about what the canonical writer believed. Israel was certainly “monolatrous,” but that term comments only on what Israel believed about the proper object of worship, not what it believed about Yahweh’s nature and attributes with respect to the other gods.

In the judgment of this writer, describing what Israel believed about Yahweh need not involve the kind of high philosophical speculation that most modern scholarship wants to deny the ancient Israelite. Several simple ideas have been communicated to the reader by the canonical authors that allow a description that demonstrates a firm, uncompromising belief in Yahweh’s “species uniqueness” among the other gods assumed to exist.

Israel did not believe the other gods were species-equal with Yahweh and essentially interchangeable. Israel did not believe that Yahweh should be viewed as the supreme god only because of his deeds on behalf of Israel. The canonical authors considered Yahweh to be in a class by himself. He was “species-unique.”

Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism?Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew BibleMichael S. Heiser, PhD

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Well, how about some beef in the buns? I have found out that taking each other's word for it will take us nowhere. Open the Bible and tell me what is literal and what for you is metaphorical? And before starting anything I hope you have understood the metaphor of "beef in the buns."

Ben

Ben I'll get back to you on this tomorrow, right now I'm beat and can't concentrate at all... and your posts need concentration.

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Here is something I posted some time ago on this subject which I still find interesting and defines my point of view...

“Monotheism” as a term was coined in the 17th century not as an antonym to “polytheism,” but to “atheism.” A monotheist, then, was a person who believed there was a God, not someone who believed there was only one spiritual entity that could or should be named by the letters G-O-D.

Interesting, thanks. I'm not sure how to read that last sentence, does, 'a monotheist was a person who believed there was a God', more thoroughly translate to 'a monotheist believes there is at least one god'?

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Interesting, thanks. I'm not sure how to read that last sentence, does, 'a monotheist was a person who believed there was a God', more thoroughly translate to 'a monotheist believes there is at least one god'?

More accurately, a monotheist believes that such a being called God exists (as in the concept of such a being existing) as in opposition to an atheist who believes no gods at all exist.

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More accurately, a monotheist believes that such a being called God exists (as in the concept of such a being existing) as in opposition to an atheist who believes no gods at all exist.

I looked up the etymology and I think I see what you are saying. A henotheist believes that several gods exist but has faith or worships one of them, a modern monotheist believes there is only one god; the former and thankfully obsolete usage of 'monotheism' would include both of those. Actually it appears that in its very first usage 'monotheism' is used to describe pantheism, which of course is also considered to be atheism like polytheism also (in Henry More's opinion).

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That's what embarrassed Einstein to reveal himself as a theist.

Once again, you have slandered a dead scientist who was culturally Jewish but non-observant.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Einstein was ever "embarrassed to reveal himself as a theist." His religious ideas were largely formed in adolecscence, and his principal influence was Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was called an atheist in his time, and a pantheist afterwards. Einstein's differences with Spinoza were sufficient to justify calling Einstein a deist, but if so, a very Spinozan deist, and proud of it.

There is nothing about Einstein's religious thought for him to be embarrassed about. There is a consistent record of Einstein being forthcoming about his devotion to Spinoza throughout his adult life. Einstein thought his ideas were typical of scientists, though he seemed to realize that his views weren't the usual pantheism that other people associated with Spinoza.

A reliable collection of source material on Einstein's views about the question of God, and about some other religious questions can be found here:

http://uncertaintist.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/04-einstein-irreligion.pdf

This resource provides, in addition to apt quotes, discussion of the context in which the quoted matter was written.

Einstein did not approve of others personalizing God, or behaving as if God would do favors for his devotees. Unsurprisingly, Einstein didn't do those things himself, nor did he think it was in any way inevitable that a person who was mindful of God would do those things. He envisioned, with approval, a future religiion, based on ideas about God like his own.

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My impression is that Einstein was a friendly, polite man who did not like to disagree with people. He also had the habit (I think a bad one but very common in physics) of referring to the laws of nature as "God." (I.e., "God does not play dice" to which Bohr -- a known atheist -- gave the famous response that Einstein is no one to tell God what to play with).

Whether he was really a theist is hard to say. He liked Spinoza, but I know of nowhere that he explicitly endorses him. He only says that he is good or attractive. Besides, that kind of theism is not really theism, not even as far as the Deists would go -- a moral force, but without personality, in the universe, but not a creator.

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Well. Frank, I did give a link to collected source material, so I stand by my statement that Einstein "endorsed" Spinoza. If you are interested in my basis for saying it, then click the link.

Like any other user of natural language, not everything Einstein uttered with the word God in it was a theological statement. "God does not play dice with the universe" is clearly a witticism. He probably also made a few remarks featuring God during passionate episodes.

However, one of the nice things about the source I gave is that it includes the context of each remark. Often, Einstein made statements in answer to direct questions, or in commissioned essays, or while explaining himself to a specific reader or audience.

On these occasions, when he mentions God, he means God. Those are the kind of things, the only kinds of things, that appear in the source I cited. Based upon that and similar readings, I wrote what I did.

As to your theory about what counts as theism, knock yourself out. Zeus wasn't a creator, either. People who believed in him and his pals weren't theists by your reckoning. Other reckonings are possible. For example, one might classify a typical deist as a kind of theist.

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Oh I read the material; I just from other times and places think he liked Spinoza a lot but never really committed himself. You find this sometimes -- one place the "great man" says something and another place he doesn't quite sound so sure.

No I would strongly disagree that Einstein says "God" referring to anything even remotely resembling the God of his tradition. I kinda wonder from what you say if you understand Spinoza anyway.

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Frank

I kinda wonder from what you say if you understand Spinoza anyway.

Why? Was there something about my objection to Ben's calling Einstein "embarrassed" to "reveal himself as a theist" that shed some light on my understanding of Spinoza, in your view?

Bigger picture, what are you arguing, exactly? Your position seems to be that Einstein wasn't a theist, I think he was happily and publicly a certain special kind of theist. How, then, could we disagree about whether he was embarrassed to be "revealed as a theist?"

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Einstein was not a theist. Even your own site shows that. He was very tolerant of religious people, and had a sense of the mystery of the universe that is not common in physics, but that is as far as you can go without stretching the evidence and doing the man a disservice by misrepresenting him.

Its arguable whether even Spinoza was a theist. He clearly broke with Judaism early on, and doesn't fit the normal Englightenment mode of a deist thinking about a creator deity who creates it all and then goes away. Spinoza had a more mystical, moral, indeed, "Taoist" sort of deity that is without personality or purpose and is not even the creator. Whether these ideas of God -- a "thing" or "force" that permeates and makes the world moral and maybe sentient, but who does not act in history nor even have things like a personality, can be called theistic is a matter of definition.

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Posted (edited)

Like a lot of words, theist has been used differently at different times. Sometimes, it has been used to distinguish believers in a single revealed supreme creator ruler from deists, polytheists, and believers in other conceptions of the divine. At other times, it has been used to include deists, polytheists, along with SRSCR-believers, and many others, too, to distinguish all of them from those who believe in no divine being.

It is perfectly clear in which sense I have used the word theist throughout my participation in this thread. So, if you want to play word lawyer, then fine, you go right ahead and you play at that. Less fine is for you to talk trash about the relationship between what I posted and the source material that I cited. The cited material does in fact back up what I posted, and I described its contents accurately, if not to your taste.

In any case, my observation stands:

Your position seems to be that Einstein wasn't a theist, I think he was happily and publicly a certain special kind of theist. How, then, could we disagree about whether he was embarrassed to be "revealed as a theist?"

We obviously would describe the reasons differently, but the conclusion is inescapable. Einstein was not embarrassed to reveal himself as a theist, contrary to the OP's claim, the latest in his chain of slanders of the dead.

Edited by eight bits

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Posted (edited)

Well, how about some beef in the buns? I have found out that taking each other's word for it will take us nowhere. Open the Bible and tell me what is literal and what for you is metaphorical? And before starting anything I hope you have understood the metaphor of "beef in the buns."

Ben

Hi Ben,

I think I'll start with a little background and then get to your post specifically.

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a "figure of speech" that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Another term that can be used to describe a metaphor is an analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile.

In simpler terms, a metaphor compares two objects or things without using the words "like" or "as". A simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A.

So getting back to your post, what are some good examples of metaphores in the bible?

Genesis 3:14

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

This is a good example of a metaphor, it is actually one of the more discussed metaphores in scripture today. Initially upon reading it one might think that the serpent used to have legs and as a punishment, they were taken from it, thus forever forced to slither on its belly. In actual fact the reference is actually historically one of demonstrating total humiliation.

The humiliation the serpent will experience is described by two parts.

Both parts of the curse are pictured in the Ancient Near East of conquered enemies laid face down, prostrate before a conquering king as a footstool for his feet.

Evidence of this can be found in the Amarna Tablets 100:36 written in 1350 B.C.

The Tablet is entitled: "The city of Irqata to the king".

This tablet-(i.e. tablet letter) is a tablet from Irqata. To the king, our lord: Message from Irqata and its el[d]ers. We fall at the feet of the king, our lord, 7 times and 7 times. To our lord, the Sun: Message from Irqata. May the heart of the king, (our) lord, know that we guard Irqata for him.

When the [ki]ng, our lord, sent D[uMU]-Bi-ha-a, he said to s, "Message of the king: "Guard Irqata"! " The sons of the traitor to the king seek our harm; Irqata see[ks] loyalty to the king. As to [ silver ] having been given to Sbaru al[ong with] horses and cha[riots] , may you know the mind of Irqata. When a tablet from the king arrived (saying) to ra[id] the land that the 'A[piru] had taken [from] the king, they wa[ged] war with us against the enemy of our lord, the man whom you pla[ced] over us. Truly—we are guarding the l[and]. May the king, our lord, heed the words of his loyal servants.

May he grant a gift to his servant(s) so our enemies will see this and eat dirt.May the breath of the king not depart from us. We shall keep the city gate barred until the breath of the king reaches us. Severe is the war against us—terribly! terribly!

-EA 100, lines 1-44 (complete)

"You shall go on your belly"

The emphasis of this phrase is being conquered. This is a mark of deepest degradation from an exalted position. This outward curse symbolizes Satan's judgment. He was exalted (Isa. 14:9; Ezk. 28) as the most perfect, wise, and beautiful creature. One of the ways he has abused his lofty position is by orchestrating the fall of man. He will suffer defeat for his rebellion.

"You shall eat dust"

The emphasis of the first phrase is defeat. The emphasis found in this second phrase is disgrace.

Some commentators feel that the humiliation of the serpent is the fact that he will join the humble, creeping things of the created world. However, to say that the serpent will join the creeping things is not enough. God created creeping things, and in Genesis 1:25, He said they were "good." This physical act describes more than just joining a class of creatures which were good in God's sight. The idea of degradation is seen in this statement.

To eat dust speaks of humiliation in the scriptures. When one wants o describe the defeat of an enemy, he says, "He's crawling in the dust." Three examples of this would be Psalm 72:9; Isaiah 49:23; and Micah 7:17.

Another instance of metaphorical language is used in naming the being "a serpent" when no such thing is actually meant. In this case the term "serpent" is actually a "pun" in the Hebrew language. "Ha nachash" "The Sepent" has three distinct meanings:

1. A serpent or snake (literal meaning) and a noun

2. Someone who practices divination or is involved in the occult (figurative meaning) - Verb. It is highlighted quite clearly with the phrase "The serpent" - "The Diviner".

3. Something that is bright and glimmering like polished brass or bronze in the sunlight. (figurative meaning) - adjective. When accompanied by the word "The", we get, the one who shines, or the shinning one. Which is connected to a divine being of some kind, as can be seen from other examples in the biblical text where the word is used in this very context.

Another interesting metaphor that is used many times throughout the bible is the use of the word "seed".

Zechariah 8:12

"The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.

This word is amazing in that it can mean any number of things:

Seed with an Agricultural Metaphor

Sometimes in the Bible seed is used the same way that we usually use the word seed, that what farmers and gardeners use to plant crops.

The dictionary defines seed as,

(1) "the grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing

(2) : the fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant; broadly : a propagative plant structure (as a spore or small dry fruit)."

Seeds with this definition are the reproductive structures of plants. In nature the most common form of plant reproduction is by seed. There are some verses in the Bible that makes reference to this definition of seed where it actually means an agricultural seed. Looking carefully at Zechariah 8:12 one can interpret the whole verse within the context of an agricultural metaphor, where seeds are literally seeds.

Genesis 1:11-12

And God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

These verses take place within the creation story of Genesis. God created everything that we have today in six days; these verses took place during the third day. God devoted the third day of creation to the separation of water and dry land, and to the development of plant life. It wasn't until the fifth and sixth days of creation that God created animal life. Since neither animals/man had been created, nor Judaism or Christianity for that matter, the only possible meaning for seed in this verse is to mean seed, is seed from plants.

Seed with a Spirtual Metaphor

Many verses in the Bible talk about seeds being used to grow "crops", but these "crops" can also be a metaphor for something else as well. One meaning of the word seed as used in the Bible is the start of spiritual growth. There are many verses and chapters with these metaphors in the Bible. In Matthew 13 Jesus is talking about a farmer that is scattering his seed in different places which if you don't think about it means throwing seed around, but it has a different meaning which is explained in this chapter shortly after the parable/metaphor. Mark 4 is very similar to Matthew 13.

Zechariah 8:12 is also great verse with a spiritual metaphor. I understand this verse to mean, "The seed will grow well (people will continue to grow), the vine will yield its fruit (people will blossom and grow spiritually), the ground will produce its crops (the people will multiply), and the heavens will drop their dew (the heavens will provide the nourishment that the people will need to keep growing and prosper). I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.

Seed as a Reproductive Metaphor

This is an interesting metaphorical approach to the term seed. In Genesis 3:15 the following is written:

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

So said can be a metaphor for descendents, the seed of mankind is humanity. In this instance the specific seed is seen as the man who will overcome the serpent, who will give him the final humiliation. This man will be a descendent of Eve. This understanding was held by many ancient Rabbis, and they through this scripture predicted the comming of the Messiah.

As Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people by the hand of The Messiah the Son of David, who shall wound Satan, the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked.

Our ancient Rabbis, as with one voice, have declared that by the seed of the woman, who was to bruise the head of the serpent is meant the Messiah. You know as well as I, their common saying, "that before the serpent had wounded our first parents, God had prepared a plaster for their healing; and as soon as sin had made its entrance into our world, the Messiah had made his appearance." Hence both the Targums, that of Onkelos, and that of Jonathan, say "that the voice which our first parents heard walking in the garden, was the Memra Jehovah, ie. the word of the Lord, or the Messiah, who is always meant by this expression;... In the Targum of Jonathan, and that of Jerusalem, it is said, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and they shall obtain healing, or a plaster for the heel, (the hurt received by the Serpent,) in the days of Messiah the King."

Joseph Samuel C.F. Frey, Joseph and Benjamin, (Jerusalem: Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 2002), p. 154-155

I could add a few more examples but I just saw how long this post was getting, I hope that answers your question.

Edited by Jor-el

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Once again, you have slandered a dead scientist who was culturally Jewish but non-observant.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Einstein was ever "embarrassed to reveal himself as a theist." His religious ideas were largely formed in adolecscence, and his principal influence was Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was called an atheist in his time, and a pantheist afterwards. Einstein's differences with Spinoza were sufficient to justify calling Einstein a deist, but if so, a very Spinozan deist, and proud of it.

There is nothing about Einstein's religious thought for him to be embarrassed about. There is a consistent record of Einstein being forthcoming about his devotion to Spinoza throughout his adult life. Einstein thought his ideas were typical of scientists, though he seemed to realize that his views weren't the usual pantheism that other people associated with Spinoza.

A reliable collection of source material on Einstein's views about the question of God, and about some other religious questions can be found here:

http://uncertaintist...-irreligion.pdf

This resource provides, in addition to apt quotes, discussion of the context in which the quoted matter was written.

Einstein did not approve of others personalizing God, or behaving as if God would do favors for his devotees. Unsurprisingly, Einstein didn't do those things himself, nor did he think it was in any way inevitable that a person who was mindful of God would do those things. He envisioned, with approval, a future religiion, based on ideas about God like his own.

From the book "A Biology of Albert Einstein" and also from the a video in the "You Tube" I witnessed his giving answer to a question if he was an antheist by denying that

he was neither an atheist nor a theist of a personal god. He was implying that he could not believe in a personal god. Perhaps he was too influenced by Baruch de Spinoza who adopted the same views. It means that theists must be careful not to take God with human attributes. I mean on a personal basis. In fact, Jesus himself said that God is a Spirit. (John 4:24) IOW, that God is not to be brought down to the level of man.

Ben

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My impression is that Einstein was a friendly, polite man who did not like to disagree with people. He also had the habit (I think a bad one but very common in physics) of referring to the laws of nature as "God." (I.e., "God does not play dice" to which Bohr -- a known atheist -- gave the famous response that Einstein is no one to tell God what to play with).

Whether he was really a theist is hard to say. He liked Spinoza, but I know of nowhere that he explicitly endorses him. He only says that he is good or attractive. Besides, that kind of theism is not really theism, not even as far as the Deists would go -- a moral force, but without personality, in the universe, but not a creator.

IMHO, Einstein meant "by the laws of nature" as the tools in the hands of God to govern the universe. In fact he believed in the expansion of the universe in connection with God. As he was asked if he believed in God, he answered and said that all his life was trying to catch God at His work of creation. I see in this answer something

akin to the expansion of the universe.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

From the book "A Biology of Albert Einstein" and also from the a video in the "You Tube" I witnessed his giving answer to a question if he was an antheist by denying that

he was neither an atheist nor a theist of a personal god. He was implying that he could not believe in a personal god. Perhaps he was too influenced by Baruch de Spinoza who adopted the same views. It means that theists must be careful not to take God with human attributes. I mean on a personal basis. In fact, Jesus himself said that God is a Spirit. (John 4:24) IOW, that God is not to be brought down to the level of man.

Ben

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him

But Jesus also said that he was the exact reflection or representation of God, what do you think that means?

The Greek word "Charakter" means "express image" refering to a tool for stamping or engraving or making an impression on coins, stamps, etc

Edited by Jor-el
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Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him

But Jesus also said that he was the exact reflection or representation of God, what do you think that means?

The Greek word "Charakter" means "express image" refering to a tool for stamping or engraving or making an impression on coins, stamps, etc

Jorel, you must give a grain of salt to those gospel declarations about Jesus for two reasons: First they were written by Paul's former disciples 50+ years after Jesus had been gone and seemed to be desperately trying to enhance the divinity of Jesus in order to establish the Church. And the second reason is that of

Deuteronomy 4:15,16 where we have that God has no image for man to be designed after. The text says that it would be akin to degrade someone down to the level of an idolater. Besides Isaiah says in 46:5 that God cannot be likened or compared to anyone or anything whatsoever.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

Jorel, you must give a grain of salt to those gospel declarations about Jesus for two reasons: First they were written by Paul's former disciples 50+ years after Jesus had been gone and seemed to be desperately trying to enhance the divinity of Jesus in order to establish the Church. And the second reason is that of

Deuteronomy 4:15,16 where we have that God has no image for man to be designed after. The text says that it would be akin to degrade someone down to the level of an idolater. Besides Isaiah says in 46:5 that God cannot be likened or compared to anyone or anything whatsoever.

Ben

I counter with Exodus 3:1-5

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

So can God be seen or not?

I rather think so, the text above is quite specific on two things, the angel of God was within the flames of the burning bush, it is clearly distinguished as such and then this angel speaks to moses and guess what, Moses says quite clearly he was looking at God.

So how is this differnt from Deuteronomy 4:15,16?

Because here we have God the father speaking to Moses at Horeb but with no physical appearance, so here we have God the Father and in Exodus 3 we have God the son, the physical manifestation of God, his word, his memra, also called the angel of God, but who is not an angel at all since, this angel recieves worship and speaks in the 1st person... he is God in physical form. We see him appear countless times in the Old Testament. In Genesis 3:8 we find him again...

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

I particularly love the Targums and their spin on the text...

Targum Onkelos

And they heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God walking in the garden in the evening of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from before the Lord God among the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where art thou?

And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I (was) naked, and I would hide.

The Targum of Palestine

Walking in the garden in the strength of the day......And the Word of the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Behold, the world which I have created is manifest before Me; and how thinkest thou that the place in the midst whereof thou art, is not revealed before Me? Where is the commandment which I taught thee?

And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and the commandment which Thou didst teach me, I have transgressed; therefore I hid myself from shame.

and again in Joshua 5...

13Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lorde have for his servant?”

15The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Please note the (e) in verse 14... the term there is Adonai, could you please tell me who else is called Adonai by the Jewish people?

http://www.jewishenc...cles/840-adonai

There are 50 or so instances where this angel appears and always it is God who speaks and once in Genesis 16:7-13 The Angel is clearly identified as God himself.

We could even mention Genesis 35:1-7 where Jacob wrestles with an angel, who Jacob clearly identifies as God himself.

Like I said there are literally dozens of these instances and this my friend is where Paul got his views from, this is where most Jews got their beliefs from as well, but that changed when christianity came into existence, it became heresy, an evil that needed stamping out if Judaism was to survive.

And who else but God can be likened unto God?

That being said, could you please comment on my other post, I did a ton of work on it, it took at least an hour and a half to write out.... greatly appreciated thanks.

Edited by Jor-el
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I counter with Exodus 3:1-5

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

So can God be seen or not?

I rather think so, the text above is quite specific on two things, the angel of God was within the flames of the burning bush, it is clearly distinguished as such and then this angel speaks to moses and guess what, Moses says quite clearly he was looking at God.

So how is this differnt from Deuteronomy 4:15,16?

Because here we have God the father speaking to Moses at Horeb but with no physical appearance, so here we have God the Father and in Exodus 3 we have God the son, the physical manifestation of God, his word, his memra, also called the angel of God, but who is not an angel at all since, this angel recieves worship and speaks in the 1st person... he is God in physical form. We see him appear countless times in the Old Testament. In Genesis 3:8 we find him again...

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

I particularly love the Targums and their spin on the text...

Targum Onkelos

And they heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God walking in the garden in the evening of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from before the Lord God among the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where art thou?

And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I (was) naked, and I would hide.

The Targum of Palestine

Walking in the garden in the strength of the day......And the Word of the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Behold, the world which I have created is manifest before Me; and how thinkest thou that the place in the midst whereof thou art, is not revealed before Me? Where is the commandment which I taught thee?

And he said, The voice of Thy Word heard I in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and the commandment which Thou didst teach me, I have transgressed; therefore I hid myself from shame.

and again in Joshua 5...

13Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lorde have for his servant?”

15The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Please note the (e) in verse 14... the term there is Adonai, could you please tell me who else is called Adonai by the Jewish people?

http://www.jewishenc...cles/840-adonai

There are 50 or so instances where this angel appears and always it is God who speaks and once in Genesis 16:7-13 The Angel is clearly identified as God himself.

We could even mention Genesis 35:1-7 where Jacob wrestles with an angel, who Jacob clearly identifies as God himself.

Like I said there are literally dozens of these instances and this my friend is where Paul got his views from, this is where most Jews got their beliefs from as well, but that changed when christianity came into existence, it became heresy, an evil that needed stamping out if Judaism was to survive.

And who else but God can be likened unto God?

That being said, could you please comment on my other post, I did a ton of work on it, it took at least an hour and a half to write out.... greatly appreciated thanks.

No, God cannot be seen with the eyes of the flesh. The case of Moses and the burning bush was a vision. Moses had just returned from pasturing the flocks of Jethro his father-in-law and sat down at the proximity of Mount Sinai to rest his legs. Then as a result of his thoughts about his people back in Egypt suffering a hard slavery he must have slumbered and observed the bush burning which would not extinguish. Then, in that vision he came to the resolution to return to Egypt to try to free the Israelites. A vision usually happens between the RAM phase of a dream and the almost awakened state or just during a slumber. BTW, according to Numbers 12:6 "If there is a prophet among you in a dream I will make Myself known to him; in a vision I will talk to him." That's the only way the Lord can reveal Himself to man. Jesus himself said that God is a Spirit and a Spirit cannot be seen. And that the only to connect oneself to Him is in a spiritual manner. (John 4:24)

Ben

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No, God cannot be seen with the eyes of the flesh. The case of Moses and the burning bush was a vision. Moses had just returned from pasturing the flocks of Jethro his father-in-law and sat down at the proximity of Mount Sinai to rest his legs. Then as a result of his thoughts about his people back in Egypt suffering a hard slavery he must have slumbered and observed the bush burning which would not extinguish. Then, in that vision he came to the resolution to return to Egypt to try to free the Israelites. A vision usually happens between the RAM phase of a dream and the almost awakened state or just during a slumber. BTW, according to Numbers 12:6 "If there is a prophet among you in a dream I will make Myself known to him; in a vision I will talk to him." That's the only way the Lord can reveal Himself to man. Jesus himself said that God is a Spirit and a Spirit cannot be seen. And that the only to connect oneself to Him is in a spiritual manner. (John 4:24)

Ben

He must have slumbered?

So he must have been half asleep and imagined the whole and detailed thing?

Is there absolutely any and I really mean any indication in the text itself that we are talking of a vision or even a dream?

The answer is no... one has to start with that assumption, the text makes no such mention of such an occurrence in any way, form or shape.

You on the other hand, need it to be read in this light, otherwise you would have to admit to "Two powers in Heaven" theology.

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One can fairly readily trace the evolution of God in the Abrahamic faiths from a storm god who loses his temper and fights with other gods and is really vengeful and often brutal into the transcendent, infinite loving deity of the more liberal modern faiths. Unfortunatly the traces of that old god are still around giving people of closed mind and hateful tendencies something to pin their smallness on.

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One can fairly readily trace the evolution of God in the Abrahamic faiths from a storm god who loses his temper and fights with other gods and is really vengeful and often brutal into the transcendent, infinite loving deity of the more liberal modern faiths. Unfortunatly the traces of that old god are still around giving people of closed mind and hateful tendencies something to pin their smallness on.

Demonstrate please... you say "readily", so it should be easy...

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Oh come on now; just read the early OT compared to the late OT compared to the NT compared to Augustine and Aquinas.

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Oh come on now; just read the early OT compared to the late OT compared to the NT compared to Augustine and Aquinas.

The Old Testament throughout its entirety portrays the very same God without variation, what seems to get in the way is peoples interpretation of what this God seems to be in view of their own cultural foundation. Ignorance of the bible does tend to widen the rift even more. Polytheism, Henotheism, monotheism, they are actually all the very same thing.

The early OT when compared to the late OT does not differentiate, so what exactly do you mean by them being different?

As for the New Testament, I would agree with you only in the respect that Augustine was not a Jew and thus interpreted it in the light of his own gentile views. In effect he was responsible for the final seperation between christianity and Judaism.

When two camps come into opposition their views become extremist in regard to what they accept and view, neither kept the view as held by the bible and the Jews from the beginning of the bible to its end.

But the bible itself is quite clear from Genesis to Revelation as to who and what God is and his plan for humanity from the start to the finish.

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