Irenaeus and Two Books Theology

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November 27, 2012 Tags: Christianity & Science - Then and Now

Today's entry was written by Mark H. Mann. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Irenaeus and Two Books Theology

Note: In this and his previous series, theologian Mark Mann argues that Christians should think of Scripture and Creation as two “books” to be read together for understanding the fullness of God’s self-revelation; that science is a God-given tool for discerning the handiwork of God in Creation and is fully compatible with God’s Word revealed in Scripture; and, therefore, that Christians have nothing to fear from science. Here, Mann explores the history of the Two Books Theology in the writings of Christian theologians from the 2nd to 18th centuries, from Justin Martyr to John Wesley. Please see the series introduction for a full explanation of his thesis, concerns, and methods.

Irenaeus of Lyons and the Two Books

We know very little of the lives of most Christian leaders of the 2nd century with any degree of certainty. Much is claimed about them in later traditions, but it can be difficult to discern what is actually true and what is merely legendary. Such is the case with Irenaeus of Lyon. Scholars believe that he was born in Smyrna in Asia Minor (now Turkey) between 130 and 150 CE. His family was apparently Christian, and from an early age he apparently sought preparation for Church ministry. Some traditions cite him as a student of Polycarp of Smyrna (who is supposed to have been a disciple of the apostle John), while others claim him a student of Justin Martyr (about whom I wrote in my previous blog) in Rome in the years leading to Justin’s execution by Roman authorities.

Irenaeus was apparently sent by the Roman church to Lugdunum in Gaul (now Lyons, France) to help minister to the growing number of Christians in that town. Records show that most Christians there were immigrants from Greek-speaking regions of the Roman Empire, and Irenaeus was a Greek speaker. Irenaeus became bishop of Lugdunum around 177 CE, following the martyrdom of his predecessor, and remained in that post until his death in or around the year 202. Although the cause of his death is unknown, there is some evidence that he, too, suffered a martyr’s death.

Irenaeus was a prolific writer but, as was the case with Justin, most of his writings have not survived. Fortunately, the writing considered most important by subsequent Church leaders and theologians has survived—his Against Heresies.1 In this lengthy treatise, Irenaeus writes polemically against a variety of different teachings that he deemed to be false (all of which the orthodox Church would also come to reject). Most of the treatise, though, takes aim at Gnostic teachings that had begun to gain a foothold in the Church, and Irenaeus' chief Gnostic target is Valentinianism.

I have treated the Gnostic heresy at length in another blog, so will not give it a full treatment here, but the Valentinian variety of Gnosticism is worth mentioning briefly. Valentinus was a Christian teacher who (like Marcion, whom I discussed in my discussion of Justin) rejected any identification between the God and Father of Jesus Christ and the creation of the material world. Like most Gnostics, Valentinus had a negative view of materiality and believed that Christ had come to free our spirits from their bondage in the physical world. Valentinus also claimed to possess secret knowledge (gnosis) for achieving such freedom that had been passed on to him but had originated with Jesus himself. During the middle of the 2nd century, Valentinus apparently had a school and disciples in Rome. There is also some indication that he might have been a candidate to become bishop of Rome around 150 A.D., but when his candidacy failed, he apparently left the Church (like Marcion) and founded his own movement. Some scholars suggest that the incursion of Valentinian teachings into churches in Gaul was the precipitating factor for Irenaeus' writing of Against Heresies.

Irenaeus' response to Gnosticism is significant for our discussion of the development of a "Two Books" theology in two respects. First, Irenaeus appears to have been a pivotal figure in the formation of the Christian Bible—the book of Scripture. As noted in my previous blog, while 2nd- century Christians were generally in agreement about the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures (notable excepts, like Marcion, notwithstanding), there was no consensus about which of the writings attributed to the apostles should have the same level of authority. Moreover, Gnostic Christians like Valentinus claimed to possess writings passed down from the apostles, as well.2 In response to the confusion resulting from the circulation of so many different and often conflicting writings attributed to the apostles, Irenaeus published a list of sixty-six books he believed to be authoritative in matters of Christian faith and practice. This list perfectly coincides with the books of our current Old and New Testament, and it is the first such list including all sixty-six that is known to have been published. It would still be a couple generations before Irenaeus' canon of Scripture would be formally accepted throughout the Christian church, but that it would become so is in large part because of the enduring influence of Irenaeus, himself.

Irenaeus is also a pivotal figure in the development of the Christian understanding of Creation. Against the Gnostics, who generally had a poor view of the material world because they considered it the realm of ignorance and/or evil, Irenaeus reveled in Creation’s goodness and beauty. While the Gnostics believed that Creation is the handiwork of some petty or ignorant lesser deity (often called "the demiurge") and that Jesus had come to reveal the true Father and rescue us from our bondage to ignorance and evil, Irenaeus affirmed that the entire universe had been created by none other than the Father of Jesus Christ. While Gnostics believed that Jesus only "appeared" to take on physical flesh, Irenaeus boldly declared that God, in Christ, became flesh and walked among us as a real human being. Indeed, claimed Irenaeus, in the human, material, fleshly Jesus, the very divinity of God is made perfectly visible to us.

Let us reflect on this point for a moment. The Gnostic impulse is to see physicality as an embarrassment. Ultimately, human beings are spiritual beings intended for a purely spiritual existence, but somehow we have become trapped in prisons of flesh. But according to Irenaeus, it is exactly in finite, mortal flesh that God has chosen to be revealed. The material world is not somehow opposed to God or a realm from which God is absent. Quite the contrary, it is God's wondrous Creation, and every little piece of it bears witness to the wonder and majesty of the One true God who is its creator, redeemer, and sustainer.

Irenaeus would drive this point home again and again in his writing. Take, for instance, his view of human beings. He took quite literally that human beings had, by divine purpose, been created from the very dust of the earth intended for life on this earth. Again, he seemed to revel in human physicality. He took great joy, it seems, in speaking of humanity as creatures of dirt and dust, at pointing out our connection to the ground and earth. For Irenaeus, our fleshiness is nothing to be embarrassed about or to regret. It is how God intended from the beginning for things to be. This is why God chose from before Creation to become incarnate. The universe is, for Irenaeus, a kind of canvas upon which God has chosen to draw the very beauty of God's own glory, and God will not complete the masterpiece until Christ's final coming in victory and glory.

It is at this point that Western Christians find Irenaeus most difficult to comprehend. We tend to look at the world through Augustinian eyes. Augustine of Hippo (whom we will look at more closely in a later blog) understood Creation to be complete and perfect with the creation of humanity. For Augustine, the sin of Adam and Eve was the moral failure of two spiritually mature adults, their sin an act of utter rebellion, and the consequences devastating for the whole world and for all subsequent people. But Irenaeus (who lived two centuries before Augustine) instead believed that God created the universe incomplete and imperfect. For Irenaeus, Adam and Eve were like children, created by God to learn and to grow. And learning and growing includes making mistakes. And their sin was a real mistake, but not the devastating mistake that it was for Augustine and most subsequent Western Christians. For their mistake was anticipated by God, and was never intended by God to be the last word on humanity. Rather, the incarnation—God in the flesh—was the Word from the beginning, and it would be the final Word in creation as well.

Conclusion

As with Justin Martyr, Irenaeus does not explicitly affirm a Two Book theology. But, it is not difficult to see the foundations for one in this work. For one thing, he is a pivotal figure in the formation of the Book of Scripture—one of the first (and certainly the most influential) early Christian leaders to affirm the formal authority of the Christian Bible as we know it today. More to the point of this essay series (since most readers will likely already affirm the authority of the Book of Scripture), possibly no theologian in the history of the Church has more explicitly affirmed the extent to which Creation makes visible the wonder, goodness, and beauty of the Creator. It is difficult to imagine him mistrusting the study of God's Creation (science) in the way that so many Christians seem to mistrust it today. Indeed, it is far easier to imagine him as an advocate of all endeavors that help us better understand the wondrous universe that our God has created, for such studies can only help us see more vividly the beautiful artistry of our God, and worship the One through whom God will complete this great masterpiece.

Notes

1. The actual title is “On the Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called,” but is often referred to as “Against Heresies” because the oldest extant copy is found in the Latin text titled “Adversus Haeresus.”
2. These were generally unknown to scholars until the discovery of a Gnostic library in Nag Hammadi in 1945. One gnostic writing, the so-called "Gospel of Judas" is mentioned by Irenaeus, but was otherwise unknown to scholars until it was rediscovered in 1983.


Mark H. Mann is the director of the Wesleyan Center, Point Loma Press, and Honors Program at Point Loma Nazarene University. Mark received his bachelor's degree from Eastern Nazarene College and went on to earn both an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Religious and Theological Studies (2004) from Boston University. Mann previously served at Colgate University where he was both chaplain and professor. Mann has previous experience in editing, student development and staff ministry at the local church level.

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Seenoevo - #74767

November 27th 2012

“Indeed, it is far easier to imagine him as an advocate of all endeavors that help us better understand the wondrous universe that our God has created, for such studies can only help us see more vividly the beautiful artistry of our God, and worship the One through whom God will complete this great masterpiece.”

Does this not go without saying? How could anyone, from atheist to Apostle, have any problem with endeavoring to learn about our universe?

 

“It is difficult to imagine him mistrusting the study of God’s Creation (science) in the way that so many Christians seem to mistrust it today.”

Do they mistrust the study or do they mistrust what they consider unwarranted conclusions of the study?


Mark H. Mann - #74888

December 1st 2012

So, I would say that many evangelical Christians do not trust science. Of course, you are right that they believe that it is these ‘unwarranted conclusions’ that they really don’t trust, but what is the basis upon which they decide which conclusions are warranted and which are not. Is it science? No, in fact, it is their reading of scripture. So, is there ANY scientific basis for believing that the universe is six thousand years old? None whatsoever. And, it’s not even scripture, per se, because (as this series seeks to make clear) there are numerous different ways that Christians have interpreted scripture that do not require a young earth.  So, if these persons actually trusted science, one would expect them to start questioning whether their reading of scripture were correct, because the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence (geological, astronomical, etc.) points to a VERY old universe. Now, I am not suggesting that we put trust in science in the same way, say, that we put trust in God. All that I am really wanting to say is that science should be understood as a God-given tool for understanding the universe that Go has given us, and that if science seems to be saying that the universe is very old, or all creatures evolved, or whatever, that it might provide warrant for us to revisit our reading of scripture and consider whether the way that it has traditionally been interpreted (young earth, actual six-day creation) is in fact the best way to read scripture. As I hope this series will make clear, many of the most important Christian thinkers over the ages have affirmed just such an approach—to believe that scripture and creation should be read together, rather than one reading being entirely subject to the other.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #74770

November 27th 2012

Rather, the incarnation—God in the flesh—was the Word from the beginning, and it would be the final Word in creation as well.

Dr. Mann refers to the Logos/Word only near the end of this essay and it is not clear from the context what role it played in the thinking of Ireneas.

However it is very clear to me that the Logos is the strongest and best source of the Two Books Theory and the Trinity which is also the source of our thinking about the unity of God the Creator, God the Logos, and God the Telos as found in Augustine’s On the Trinity.

It is sad that too often that Jesus Christ the Logos is pushed to the side in our theology.    


Jw Farquhar - #74807

November 28th 2012

Roger,

You wrote: Dr Mann refers to the Logos/Word only near the end of this essay and it is not clear from the context what role it played in the thinking of Ireneas.

Here is a quote from Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies” that illustrates the thinking of Ireneaus in context with the Word.

The Gospels could not possibly be either more or less in number than they are. Since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is spread over all the earth, and the pillar and foundation of the Church is the gospel, and the Spirit of life, it fittingly has four pillars, everywhere breathing out incorruption and revivifying men. From this it is clear that the Word, the artificer of all things, being manifested to men gave us the gospel, fourfold in form but held together by one Spirit. As David said, when asking for his coming, ‘O sitter upon the cherubim, show yourself ‘. For the cherubim have four faces, and their faces are images of the activity of the Son of God. For the first living creature, it says, was like a lion, signifying his active and princely and royal character; the second was like an ox, showing his sacrificial and priestly order; the third had the face of a man, indicating very clearly his coming in human guise; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, making plain the giving of the Spirit who broods over the Church. Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these. (3.11.8)

How Christianity ended up with a mono-sexed Trinity never written in any Bible is beyond my understanding. Clearly the Word witnessed many times to a 4-way God, not the least of which was the 4-way cross He died on.


Mark H. Mann - #74887

November 30th 2012

Thanks for your comments, Roger, which are always insightful. And I couldn’t agree more, although I might put it a bit differently—the strongest and best case for the Two Books Theory is the Incarnation—so, it’s that the Logos become flesh. God’s Word is manifest in the material world in a physical way. This is why I claimed in my earlier series that those who reject this view are like Gnostics, rejecting the material world as a true medium for divine revelation. The orthodox doctrine of the incarnation (especially as articulated in the Chalcedonian Definition) makes it clear that God’s Word can be and is communicated through materiality (communicatio idiomatum)

I don’t spend much time on the logos doctrine here only because it does not play as large a role in Irenaeus’ theology as it does in that of Justin, Origen, Augustine, and others influenced by the Platonic tradition. Irenaeus’ was less interesting in philosophy, so has less to say about this.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #74817

November 29th 2012

Bro. Farquhar,

I do not see how you can give the Holy Spirit, while a Person, a gender, so how can the Trinity be mono-sexed?

I disagree with Irenaeus concerning a fourfold nature of God.

I agree with Augustine concerning the Trinity and the fact that the Logos/Jesus Christ reveals the relational character of YHWH.


Jon Garvey - #74820

November 29th 2012

Roger

I’d hate you to gain the impression that Irenaeus believed in a fourfold Jesus, or a fourfold God. The passage above both in itself, and in the context of Adv. Haer. makes it clear that the four Gospels are all that he has in mind.

On the nature of God, Irenaeus speaks quite often, but this is typical and from the same source, Bk IV, XX, 1:

For with him (God the Father) were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, he made all things, to whom also he speaks, saying, “Let us make man after our image and likeness;”

and in section 4 following:

There is therefore one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged all things; but this is the Creator who has granted this world to the human race, and who, as regards his greatness, is indeed unknown to all who have been made by him ... but as regards his love, he is always known through him by whose means he ordained all things.

A more Trinitarian statement prior to Nicea it would be hard to imagine. He does, it is true, talk about Jesus as a Tetrad ... Book 1, Ch 15, when he is discussing the confused gnostic numerology of Sige, Marcus and others: after three sections of recounting their calculations he adds his own thoughts:

Such ravings, we may now well say, go beyond Iu, Iu, Pheu, Pheu, and every kind of tragic exclamation or utterance of misery.

Worth reading from source, is Irenaeus.


Jw Farquhar - #74821

November 29th 2012

Roger,

You Wrote: I do not see how you can give the Holy Spirit, while a Person, a gender,

I do not understand how a “Person” cannot have a gender. Is this an oxymoron?  I believe that in the Greek language the word spirit is male gendered, and that is how her religious gender was assigned.

You wrote: so how can the Trinity be mono-sexed?

I believe God separated the Holy Spirit of Light from the chaos of darkness and called her to Himself together He named DAY, who begat two offspring; a daughter EVEning as the mother of all living on earth, and a Son Morning, as the Bright Morning Star named Jesus, so that there became a Holy Trifecta—the image of God manifested as EVEning, Morning, and DAY who consistently orders scripture through three realms of material, spiritual and time, and whose fullness is realized as EVEning, Morning, Holy Spirit of Light, and Eternal Father—God of the 4-way cross; the same God who Jesus knew.

You wrote: I disagree with Irenaeus concerning a fourfold nature of God.

I agree with Irenaeus’ description of a fourfold nature of God, because both 4 faces of the cherubim and 4 gospels sequence perfectly on the cross of God, and these are from the literal Word of God written in the Bible. There are many, many more, Biblical witnesses of four from the Torah, Logos/Jesus, and the Apostle Paul.

You wrote: I agree with Augustine concerning the Trinity and the fact that the Logos/Jesus Christ reveals the relational character of YHWH.

I must admit that I am not familiar with Augustine theology, and so I await Dr. Mann’s next post. However, I do know that the word Trinity is not written in any Bible. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the word YHWH is FOUR characters.


beaglelady - #74904

December 1st 2012

 Holy Trifecta?  Which 3 of the 4 horses of the Apocalypse are you putting your money on? 


Jon Garvey - #74853

November 30th 2012

Jw Farquhar

The Greek word “spirit” is πνευμα, which is a neuter-gender word. The masculinity (not maleness) ascribed to him comes from Jesus’ own use of an emphatic male pronoun with πνευμα in John’s gospel (eg When the Spirit comes, HE [εκεινος] will teach you all things…”).

So although the Hebrew (and probably also the Aramaic equivalent) word ruach has feminine gender, being the word “breath” or “wind” which conveys the same thought, Jesus himself is the source of Christians calling the Spirit “he” rather than “she” or “it”.

I don’t really understand, either, your connecting “EVEning” with Eve, the mother of all living, as if Genesis were written in English. “Evening” is “ereb” in Hebrew. Eve is “eva”. Iu, Iu, Pheu, Pheu.


Jw Farquhar - #74872

November 30th 2012

Jon Garvey,

Your wrote: The Greek word “spirit” is πνευμα, which is a neuter-gender word. The masculinity (not maleness) ascribed to him comes from Jesus’ own use of an emphatic male pronoun with πνευμα in John’s gospel (eg When the Spirit comes, HE [εκεινος] will teach you all things…”).

You are correct about the Greek being neutral gender, and I stand corrected. It is the Latin word for spirit that has the masculine gender that I think influenced the male idea for the Holy Spirit.

If the Holy Spirit is not feminine then there are two things I cannot understand that perhaps you or someone else on this forum could explain: how the Eternal Father can have a Son without a Most High Holy Spirit of Light Mother, or how humans, both male and female, could be created from the image of God if God’s image was not of both genders. Here is one view of the 4-way cross of God with the Most High Holy Spirit of Light on top. I hope you can see a daughter, Son, Mother, Father family in heaven on the cross, just as the Apostle Paul wrote about a family in heaven having FOUR dimensions length, width, height, and breadth (Eph 3:15,19).

You wrote: I don’t really understand, either, your connecting “EVEning” with Eve, the mother of all living, as if Genesis were written in English. “Evening” is “ereb” in Hebrew. Eve is “eva”. Iu, Iu, Pheu, Pheu.

Evening and eve are written the same way in Hebrew pronounced Erev. This is twice documented in the “Meridian English to Hebrew and Hebrew to English Dictionary”, where eve is the time before an event like Christmas eve, or New Year’s eve, or the EVEning before darkness. Consider for the body-soul-spirit image of a human that there was EVEning for the body of man who leads to darkness, and there was Morning for the soul of man who leads to Light for the spirit of man and day (That Day). This link for EVEning might shed some light on this for you.


Eddie - #74882

November 30th 2012

Mr. Farquhar:

I don’t know the dictionary you’ve named.  Is it perhaps a modern Hebrew to English dictionary?

In any case, the statement you have made is incorrect.  The Biblical Hebrew word for “evening” is:

‘ereb 

[the apostrophe corresponds to a strong guttural sound unpronounceable for most modern English-speakers]

and the word for “Eve” is:

hawwah  (or havvah)

[the first “h” is aspirated, as in “Loch”]

There is not a single Hebrew letter in common between the two words, nor do they sound alike.  So there is no play on words in the Hebrew.  

I don’t know where you first heard of this “EVEning” business, but you should ignore your source and abandon it; repeating it will mark you as one without knowledge of Hebrew.

There are, as it turns out, quite a few possible (some probably intentional) plays on words in the early chapters of Genesis, but “Eve” / “evening” is not one of them.


Jw Farquhar - #74893

December 1st 2012

Eddie, 

You wrote: I don’t know the dictionary you’ve named.  Is it perhaps a modern Hebrew to English dictionary?

I have three Hebrew-English dictionaries in my possession, and they all confirm my conclusion.

For your convenience I list their availability on Amazon:

The Meridian Hebrew/English English/Hebrew Dictionary - ערב  – evening, eve

Hebrew-English Dictionary by Ben Yehuda- ערב – evening, eve

Hebrew-English English-Hebrew Dictionary and Phrasebook by Israel Palchan - ערב erev – evening 

I realize that Strong’s Concordance provides a pronunciation of ereb, but it is not the sound of the Hebrew word that is important. Rather it is this actual written Hebrew word ערב in the TANAKH that is evening, and/or eve. This is the Hebrew word that is written in my modern JPS TANAKH (1999), and this more accurate earlier 1917 edition of the TANAKH:

Also the Hebrew word for Eve (wife of Adam) is written differently in Hebrew, because Eve is a human version of EVEning. However, both lead to the darkness of sin unless man finds morning, who leads to the Light and DAY.

The answer to this is better seen with the authoritative numbers of God, where Daniel’s Secret vision identified EVEning and morning counted 77 on the 7th day of the Creation as the Face of God, who from the Logos is incarnate.

It is understandable why you reject this new grass that I bring, because, according to the timetable in Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar had to have four periods of seven pass over him before he could understand. I believe that countdown begins today and ends this month.


Eddie - #74895

December 1st 2012

Mr. Farquhar:

I don’t think we are communicating.

Neither Jon nor I contested the spelling or meaning of  ’ereb (“evening”).

[I’m using English transliteration because most readers here won’t know the Hebrew characters you are using.]

What we contested was your claim about the Hebrew form of the word “Eve.”  

I gave you, in transliteration, the correct Hebrew form of the word rendered “Eve.”  That form shows that there is not a single letter in common with the word for “evening” and that they do not look the same, just as they do not sound the same.  Nor are they etymologically related.  So your attempt to make an association between “Eve” and “evening” is wrong-headed.  The writer of Genesis is not making any etymological connection, pun, or other play on words between the two terms.

I do not recognize any of the dictionaries you name.  It is possible, as far as I can tell, that they are all dictionaries of Modern Hebrew.  It is evident that you have not studied Biblical Hebrew formally, because if you studied it in any university or seminary in the English-speaking world you would be citing either Holladay or Brown-Driver-Briggs for Biblical Hebrew words.  And your usage of Strong’s, in place of Hebrew reference works, suggests to me that you do not know Hebrew yourself.

I not only learned Hebrew, but have taught it in a seminary.  On the basis of this experience, I am trying to help you out by showing you that you have erred.  I am not trying to score any points, but merely trying to prevent you from walking around with a misunderstanding in your head for the rest of your life (as Mr. Sawtelle is walking around with a misunderstanding about pneuma and telos).  I cannot force you to acknowledge the facts that would be confirmed by any Jew or Christian who has studied Biblical Hebrew.  I can only point you to those facts.  If you will not accept my experience as your guide, you can consult the lexicons I mentioned, or any number of scholarly commentaries on Genesis which make reference to the Hebrew word for “Eve.”  You will find that I have spoken truly.  

Your last three paragraphs indicate that your interests are not scholarly, but mystical.  You have acquired—most likely from popular and academically incompetent authors—bizarre notions about prophecy, symbolism, and numerology.  There is of course prophecy in the Bible; there are of course symbols; and numbers are sometimes used symbolically.  But there are serious scholarly ways of taking all of these things into account in Biblical interpretation.   Your approach is not scholarly.  You see the Bible as harboring a “code” full of “secrets” for mystery-mongering hobbyists to play around with.  The mark of a serious Bible student is that he renounces all such vulgar, popular fancies, and gets down to the hard business of learning the Biblical languages, and the relevant historical and literary background, as well mastering the narratives themselves.

I do not know what your ideas betoken regarding your personal situation.  If they are just “clever ideas” that you entertain out of a sort of eclectic curiosity, then I suppose they will do you no harm, other than perpetuate intellectual delusions.  But if they indicate serious personal problems—deep anxieties, fears, emotional crises—I urge you, for your own sake, to seek counselling from a clergyman (priest, minister, rabbi, as appropriate) who can help you on both the theological and personal sides, and perhaps refer you to others who can help more on the personal side.  I say this not in the spirit of competition, but out of human concern for where your ideas might be leading you.

I wish you all the best.  And, if you consider yourself Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.


beaglelady - #74897

December 1st 2012

Perhaps JW Farquhar and Roger S. should read each other’s books.   That way their participation on this forum will not be in vain. 


Eddie - #74911

December 1st 2012

Not bad, beaglelady, not bad!


PNG - #74940

December 3rd 2012

Welcome to the internut.


Jw Farquhar - #74900

December 1st 2012

Eddie,

Omigosh! I started out defending Ireneaus’ 4-way God, but now I need to defend God’s numbers in the Bible as well as my own suspect theology.

You wrote: [I’m using English transliteration because most readers here won’t know the Hebrew characters you are using.]

I suggest we forget transliteration. It interjects an unnecessary middle word complication. I don’t, nor does anyone else here (I think), care about what the TANAKH sounds like when it’s read. I want to understand what has been written down and what it means. What has been written is ערב which means evening, and also eve, such as the eve of an event, such as the eve of darkness of night.

You wrote: What we contested was your claim about the Hebrew form of the word “Eve.”

First, I admit I have no training in ancient Hebrew. So, then lets forget Eve. Instead, consider that Minnie Mouse is named the mother of all living on earth in Genesis 3:20. Then the 6th sentence of the Creation would have to be written:

And there was evening-MinnieMouse, and there was morning, the first day.

This would be necessary, because if Minnie Mouse was the mother of all living, then she needs to be there in the Creation. What makes this work is that the first sentence is:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Morning is the connection to heaven and evening-minnieMouse is the mother of all living on earth. The numbers that I posted prove this 7th day count for evening and morning many, many times. God-breathed numbers don’t lie because they cannot. Numerology? This is divine numerology that connects science to the Bible that BioLogos needs as a foundation.

I appreciate your providing me with some Ancient Hebrew facts. It would have been more helpful with a few links for me to check out.

You wrote: your interests are not scholarly, but mystical.  You have acquired—most likely from popular and academically incompetent authors—bizarre notions about prophecy, symbolism, and numerology”, and ideas betoken regarding your personal situation that may indicate serious personal problems—deep anxieties, fears, emotional crises.

Before I schedule a visit to a Psychologist let me introduce myself:

I am the founder of a non-traditional Christian movement committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of science and the Bible using my revelation of three foundational authorities in the Creation that structure all scripture;
1) The Holy Trifecta (EVEning, Morning, and DAY)—the image of God,
2) seven foundational tenets of divine reason—the likeness of God,
3) God-breathed numbers in the Creation that bind science to scripture.
My mission is to introduce the God of Creation who reveals the true foundational message of the Bible so Christianity can return to the original one mind as specified in Acts and as Daniel’s secret vision prophesied.

I believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word and Numbers of God, who separated the Holy Spirit of Light from the chaos of darkness and called her to Himself together He named DAY, who begat two offspring; a daughter EVEning as the mother of all living on earth, and a Son Morning, as the Bright Morning Star named Jesus, so that there became a Holy Trifecta—the image of God manifested as EVEning, Morning, and DAY who consistently orders scripture through three realms of material, spiritual and time, and whose fullness is realized as EVEning, Morning, Holy Spirit of Light, and Eternal Father—God of the 4-way cross; the same God who Jesus knew (and Irenaeus).

I believe that this Holy Trifecta is the image of God, and the only (man-Jesus-God) pathway for salvation, who manifested His likeness to humanity six times in His Creation to expose six tenets of ordered reason so that man could use this likeness of reason to return to Him in this same image of God that man’s (body-soul-spirit) was created from.

I believe that God structured the Creation’s counting of the days to generate numbers that repeat and repeat throughout the Bible to structure all scripture so that God’s foundational Word and Numbers interpret scripture—not man, and so that man would never have a problem seeing and validating both His glorious Creation of heaven and earth with scripture and science, and His only salvation path back to Him in the same image of God that man was created from.


Eddie - #74902

December 1st 2012

Well, Mr. Farquhar, as long as you are not planning to jump off a bridge or do something drastic to precipitate the end of the world—which you apparently think is coming at the end of the month, if I understand your previous obscure remarks about Daniel—I suppose I will have to cease worrying about your emotional state and your safety.  But I wanted you to know that I was concerned.

Points in reply:

1.  We can’t cut out transliterations, because the majority of people here can’t read Hebrew characters.  And since you aren’t competent in Hebrew, you can’t do the transliterating, so someone else has to;  I therefore provided my services.

2.  You can’t ignore how the Bible sounds when read aloud, if there are deliberate plays on the sound intended by the author(s)—which there are (though not on Eve/evening).  That’s another reason why you need to learn Hebrew before you can interpret the Bible responsibly.

3.  Your point about Eve remains incoherent.  She is the mother of all “living” (hay, with the first sound like ch in Loch)—not the mother of all creation, as your discussion above implies.  The word “living” is clearly, in the context of Genesis 3.20, meant to be applied to living human beings.  Eve is not going to be the mother of elephants and fleas.  You also seem unaware of the etymological relationship between hay (adjective, “living”) and hayyah (noun, “living being”) in Hebrew, and you have clearly missed the play on words which the text makes between hay[yah] (living being) and havvah (Eve), when Adam names her.  This play on words is significant, but has nothing whatever to do with the word for “evening” in Genesis 1.

4.  You are continuing to press the Eve/evening likeness, which shows that you are thinking in English, not in Hebrew.  Jon already told you not to do this, but you persist.

5.  I did provide you with “links”—I told you that the proper Hebrew lexicons to use are by Holladay and by Brown, Driver and Briggs.  You can consult them in your public library or order them from Amazon, Eisenbraun’s (if it still exists), and many other places on the web.  And if you want another “link,” get hold of the International Critical Commentary on Daniel by Montgomery, from a used bookseller if necessary.  To pretend to speak authoritatively about the meaning of Daniel without first studying this classic commentary is to be academically irresponsible.    

6.  As for the rest, I don’t know what to say.  You’ve admitted you don’t read Hebrew (and it’s better than an even bet that you don’t know Greek, either), yet you offer a bold new religion based on your interpretation of the Bible!  That’s both intellectually and spiritually irresponsible, and unfair to any followers your religion garners, who will take you to be someone who knows something about the text when in fact you are, theologically speaking, a quack.  The Jews have a word for such presumptuousness:  chutzpah.

If your ego is so great that you conceive that God, the Creator of the Universe, would reveal The Truth, never before vouchsafed to Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, Calvin, Luther, etc. to someone who can’t be bothered to make the intellectual and administrative effort to get proper theological training, then there is nothing I can do to stop you from trying to gather and mislead any followers you may be able to scrape up.  But I would strongly suggest that, before you seek to become the Founder and Grand Master of a new Christianity, you first undergo a period of humble apprenticeship as a student of the original Christianity.

Best wishes, not for your new religion (which I hope crashes and burns at its very first public meeting, before it does irreparable damage to the souls of the lonely and confused), but for your health and long-term happiness.


Jw Farquhar - #74908

December 1st 2012

Eddie,

I appreciate your concern for my mental health, however I did not say that the world was going to end. What I did say was that understanding, such as what was given to Nebuchadnezzar, only came after 7 periods of time passed over him, and that this was written 4 times. In other words by design you are not allowed to understand what I bring forth until the time is right.

Points in Reply:

1 and 2.: You wrote: That’s another reason why you need to learn Hebrew before you can interpret the Bible responsibly.

The Bible is comprised of both text and numbers. My interpretation power comes from my understanding of the numbers that structure scripture, not how some Jew reads it out loud. You have not responded to the any of the numbers that I posted. Instead you attack my character. Clearly you are clutching at straws and have nothing to stand on against my witness to the foundational Creation. I guess you think that the numbers are fake, and are there for decoration only.

3. You wrote:  This play on words is significant, but has nothing whatever to do with the word for “evening” in Genesis 1.

I suggest that you read about Minnie the Mouse again, and when you do, try to understand how evening and morning are counted 77 on the 7th day, and how this number repeats throughout scripture. And when you do this, try to see how evening, morning, and day are counted 666 on the 6th day to represent all carbon based life on earth. It takes time for this to sink in. Understanding may come a year from now, or maybe never.

4. You wrote: You are continuing to press the Eve/evening likeness, which shows that you are thinking in English, not in Hebrew.

You are correct. It is very hard for me to imagine that the word match is just a coincidence.

5. You wrote: To pretend to speak authoritatively about the meaning of Daniel without first studying this classic commentary is to be academically irresponsible.    

I do not pretend to know what I know. I have studied Daniel thoroughly. The numbers in Daniel are very revealing, and they are based on the numbers from the foundational Creation. I have read classical commentary on Daniel and have decided that there was nothing more than weak human speculation. Understanding of Daniel is in its infancy. What I know I know. What you don’t know will leave you dead in the water.

6. You wrote: in fact you are, theologically speaking, a quack.  The Jews have a word for such presumptuousness:  chutzpah.

I am, in fact, the one who brings the signs (numbers) that Israel needs in order to become priests to the world as prophesized. I cannot understand why you continue to talk down to me. You haven’t read my work.

 You wrote: If your ego is so great that you conceive that God, the Creator of the Universe, would reveal The Truth, never before vouchsafed to Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, Calvin, Luther, etc. to someone who can’t be bothered to make the intellectual and administrative effort to get proper theological training, then there is nothing I can do to stop you from trying to gather and mislead any followers you may be able to scrape up.

The fact of the matter is he did reveal the Truth to me never before vouchsafed to previous church fathers. The Bible is to be understood in stages, and the stage for final understanding is timed for now, not before. Just read the Book of Daniel. Whether you believe it or not, God chooses who He chooses, and He chose me for this task. Maybe the reason is I am a passionate truth seeker. Maybe the reason is I have no interest in tradition. Maybe the reason is my teacher is the Most High Holy Spirit of Light who I know as the Mother in heaven and you don’t know. Why would I want to be trained in the theological doctrines of men, where these doctrines have led to a fractured church with no foundation? If you don’t understand that something is wrong, then you are like the ostrich in the story of Job, who sticks his head in a hole in the sand. All I have to do is read some of these feeble attempts on this site to explain evolution. If Darwin had realized that evolution was under the domain of EVEning, or had only used the Creation’s phrase “after their kind” instead of evolution there would have been no “Creation Controversy”.


Eddie - #74910

December 1st 2012

Mr. Farquhar:

I have not attacked your character.  I have evaluated your competence.  There is a difference.  You may have the noblest character in the world, when it comes to generosity or physical bravery or some other virtue.  You may be a loving father and you may give up seats on the bus to old ladies.  None of that makes someone competent as a Biblical theologian.  To be a Biblical theologian you need training.  And that’s something you don’t have, and, from what I can discern from your heel-digging response to instruction, something you’ve willfully chosen not to acquire.  

You’ve unfortunately joined the ranks of the delusional—the Millerites, the British Israelites, Hal Lindsey and so on—all of whom, just like you, felt an inner certainty that God had spoken to them and told them what the Bible meant.  All of them made predictions which were wrong.  And your predictions will be just as wrong as theirs.

I know now that nothing I can say will be of any use.  Nothing can break into the hermeneutical circle in which you have enclosed yourself in order to shield your interpretations from falsification.  So I’ll wish you a good  ‘ereb  and be on my way.


beaglelady - #74894

December 1st 2012

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

-Lewis Carroll


Seenoevo - #74903

December 1st 2012

“So, is there ANY scientific basis for believing that the universe is six thousand years old? None whatsoever.”

Given your apparently complete knowledge of the scientific literature, was that statement meant to be as dogmatic, as ‘without exception’, as it sounds?

Repeating a post of mine:

Before 2005, in the entire history of paleontology, geology and biology, what was the probably universal consensus on the range of time within which a dead organism either completely decomposes or fossilizes (in a non-freezing environment)? Was it not a matter of months, perhaps years?


beaglelady - #74906

December 1st 2012

Seenoevo,

We can measure the age of the earth with radiometric dating of rocks.  


Seenoevo - #74909

December 1st 2012

“We can measure the age of the earth with radiometric dating of rocks.”

But are the dates given by the rocks rock-solid?

Don’t some apparently Grand dating problems remain?

How can something go so quickly from 5 million years-old to 70 million years-old?

“There has been a resurgence of work on this problem over the past few years because we now have some new techniques that allow us to date rocks that we couldn’t date before…If it were simple, I think we would have solved the problem a long time ago. But the variety of conflicting information has caused scientists to argue about the age of the Grand Canyon for more than 150 years. I expect that our interpretation that the Grand Canyon formed some 70 million years ago is going to generate a fair amount of controversy, and I hope it will motivate more research to help solve this problem.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129143301.htm

 

“Similar data for western Grand Canyon provide evidence that it was excavated to within a few hundred meters of modern depths by ~70 million years ago (Ma), in contrast to the conventional model in which the entire canyon was carved since 5 to 6 Ma.”  http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/11/28/science.1229390.abstract

Might an even newer model, developed some years from now, take the date to 700 million years, or to 7 thousand years?

 

What would you think if the Weather Channel meteorologists had for several days been forecasting mild weather for your area for today and tomorrow, with gentle breezes of 5 miles per hour, but then you actually experience hurricane-strength winds of 70 mph?


beaglelady - #74916

December 2nd 2012

Why don’t you get some education on how scientists have determined the age of the universe/age of the earth?  Don’t you have a good library in your town?


Seenoevo - #74931

December 2nd 2012

“Why don’t you get some education on how scientists have determined the age of the universe/age of the earth?”

While I could always stand to learn more, should the above Grand Canyon scientists get some education too?

If I had the time and money to acquire their advanced education in the applicable sciences, would the benefits be worth the investment?

How trustworthy is their education when it, along with their expertise and experience, yield such dramatically disparate results after analyzing the same physical data?

How do you know when you’re truly “seeing the light”?

 

“Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found a puzzling arc of light …

The trouble is, the arc shouldn’t exist.”

 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-187


beaglelady - #74932

December 2nd 2012

While you’re at it, you could learn how science works. 


Seenoevo - #74934

December 2nd 2012

“So, is there ANY scientific basis for believing that the universe is six thousand years old? None whatsoever.”

How about for the age of homo sapiens?

Does this constitute anything, or nothing whatsoever? http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/11/28/harmful-protein-coding-mutations-in-people-arose-largely-in-the-past-5000-to-10000-years/

Or does it just mean that after a very long process of successful evolution, we’re now relatively rapidly devolving or disintegrating?

At this mutation rate, will we still be made in God’s image a million years from now?


beaglelady - #74936

December 3rd 2012

It means that you read what you want into everything, like to ask questions after surfing, and maybe even enjoy watching Spongebob Squarepants.


Jw Farquhar - #74956

December 4th 2012

Hi Seenoevo

You wrote:

“So, is there ANY scientific basis for believing that the universe is six thousand years old? None whatsoever.”

How about for the age of homo sapiens?

There is scientific evidence that about 5800 years ago there was a change in the brain of a homo sapiens DNA. The link is homosapiens-aspm-gene


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