Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
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07-01-2012, 08:11 PM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2012 08:54 PM by cufflink.)
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(07-01-2012 07:22 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(07-01-2012 06:54 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(07-01-2012 06:35 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Hi KC. Could you give us just ONE citation of a "reputable" theologian who says "god created evil" ?

Isaiah the prophet.

Which one ? There were at least three that I know of. Verse, and context please.

I think KC is right on this one, as is Rahn127 (post #2). The key verse is indeed Isaiah 45:7 (that's "Second Isaiah"), which Rahn has quoted. I've always read it as a crystal-clear denial of dualism, which the Hebrews may have come into contact with via Zoroastrianism. The Zoroastrian idea is that there are two gods, not one. One is a good guy (Ahura Mazda), who is the source of good; the other is a baddy (Ahriman), who brings evil. Neither one has complete power. It's a neat idea that easily solves the problem of theodicy: you don't have to ask "Why does a good god allow all these terrible things to happen?" When bad things happen to good people, it means that Ahriman temporarily has the upper hand.

In Isaiah you get a clear, definitive, uncompromising statement of monotheism. At an earlier point, the religion of the Hebrews is better characterized as monolatrous rather than monotheistic. That is, they acknowledged the existence of other gods, but their loyalty was exclusively to Yahweh. With that in mind, such ubiquitous phrases as "our God and God of our fathers" begin to make sense. Or consider the Shema, for Jews the single holiest verse in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4). When I was a kid, the translation in the prayer books was "Hear O Israel! the Lord our God, the Lord is one," which kind of sounds like a denial of the Trinity, centuries before Jesus. Smile A more accurate translation, however, is: "Hear O Israel, Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone."

In Isaiah you get real monotheism: It's not just that Yahweh is our god. There is no other god. And therefore you can't attribute good to Yahweh and bad to some other deity, as in Zoroastrianism: both good and evil come from Yahweh. That's what Isaiah 45:7 is about.

OK, that was a bit of a tangent. To get back to the main point: It's interesting to me that people seem to be interpreting that Ezekiel verse as Yahweh admitting he goofed. I guess that's possible, but i haven't been reading it that way. I've always thought of it as Yahweh saying something like, "Yeah, I gave you bad laws--on purpose. I can screw with you whenever I like, because I AM THE LORD."

I'm not sure which interpretation makes more sense.

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07-01-2012, 08:23 PM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2012 08:27 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(07-01-2012 06:54 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(07-01-2012 06:35 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Hi KC. Could you give us just ONE citation of a "reputable" theologian who says "god created evil" ?

Isaiah the prophet.

I assume you are talking about Isaiah 45. The Hebrew word "ra" or "rah" has been translated many ways in various places, "wicked," "bad," "hurt," "harm," "ill," "sorrow," "mischief," "displeased," "adversity," "affliction," "trouble," "calamity," "grievous," "misery," and "trouble." In fact the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, makes a good case in "Good and Evil" for the original meaning of the word to be more like "chaos", (vs order), in that culture. Anyway, there are specific statements in the Pauline letters which contradict this, so I just find it inconsistent. (BTW, it is generally accepted that there were at least three distinct authors of the Isaiah texts, and THAT is why I asked "which one").

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07-01-2012, 09:22 PM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
Bucky, the occurances of the word are very definitive as to what it means.

Not to mention how the word is defined and what the root word means.

I understand the claim that it means "chaos"; however, it's very, very unlikely given the context and the use of the Hebrew.

You also mention Paul, but Paul is one of the biggest advocates of predestination and total sovereignty of God. Which verses are you referring to?

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07-01-2012, 10:27 PM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
Doesn't Paul say Adam was the source of evil ? (Romans : 12 ...Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.) That's NOT what Isaiah says. Anyway, you said, "God created humans to sin". That means his purpose was to make defective creatures. That's just something no one else in religion has EVER said, (which is why I asked the "reputable" theologian question). It just struck me as a very odd thing to say. Paul was a "dualist", which the original community in Jerusalem, (which was ignorant of Greek philosophy), knew NOTHING about. Paul changed EVERYTHING, which is why he had so many fights with James and his camp. Christianity SHOULD be called "Paulianity".

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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08-01-2012, 02:37 AM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
Ya know for me arguing over the bible is like arguing about Star Trek characters and how they might have fit into the Star wars genre. - ya know, cause it's all fiction Smile

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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08-01-2012, 08:05 AM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(08-01-2012 02:37 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Ya know for me arguing over the bible is like arguing about Star Trek characters and how they might have fit into the Star wars genre. - ya know, cause it's all fiction Smile

It's not "fiction". It's literary genre is mythology. There is a large difference. Big Grin

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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08-01-2012, 08:41 AM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(08-01-2012 08:05 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(08-01-2012 02:37 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Ya know for me arguing over the bible is like arguing about Star Trek characters and how they might have fit into the Star wars genre. - ya know, cause it's all fiction Smile

It's not "fiction". It's literary genre is mythology. There is a large difference. Big Grin

Not functionally - they're both make believe.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-01-2012, 08:48 AM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(08-01-2012 08:41 AM)Chas Wrote:  Not functionally - they're both make believe.

One gets a Dewey Decimal number the other don't Tongue Love to know how librarians cope with curveballs like the holy books of scientology though - I guess the rather vocal church of scientology would force them to class 'em as literature.
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08-01-2012, 10:51 AM
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
(08-01-2012 02:37 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Ya know for me arguing over the bible is like arguing about Star Trek characters and how they might have fit into the Star wars genre. - ya know, cause it's all fiction Smile

It's nothing like that at all.

Arguing over Star Trek and Star Wars is fun.

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08-01-2012, 12:29 PM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2012 12:33 PM by kim.)
RE: Is this the strangest verse in the Bible?
Pardon me while I view this in a little less scholarly manner...

So... the Big Guy is a childish asshole with a magnifying glass, burning little ants in his ant farm... just to see what they will do... and then is dumbfounded that they don't worship him. Pitiably, he's essentially someone who had no parents to provide him with love, teach him empathy, and help him structure a sense of ethics. He's lonely so, he makes humans to provide him with the love he never had. Then proceeds to torture his little creations since he has no idea what they must be like ... and he thinks it's ok because well, he made them and they are his. If any of them were to question his behavior... I'm betting he would say, "I meant to do that; it's part of my plan for you."
***
At this point, I can feel sorry for God since he's a psychopath and has no ability to recognize his own behavior as evil; he has nothing to go on. However, he does have the makings of a pretty good sociopath, and sociopaths can advance enough to recognize evil and externally modify their behavior to become somewhat productive members of society. They have to stay extreme and active in a focused activity, otherwise they revert to the psychopath within. (Kind of the catch-22 in the debates: "should we fear these odd traits or not" and "is rehabilitation an option?".) They just have to channel their abilities into something somewhat methodical and that doesn't directly involve people much ... like being a marketing analyst.
***
And so, God decides to "change the face of GOD"… he produces/spawns/becomes Jesus. THE breath of fresh air; The ManGod we all knew a creator could be and should be. And since this psychopathic boy cried wolf so many times or for various political reasons, we kill him or worse; ignore him. We are supposed to learn from this… learn from our mistakes and be forgiven for this grave trespass of killing our Creator. We are given this story to see how our creator sacrificed himself for us… so we can love him and think he's all powerful and loving, rather than reject him as we did before when he was an asshole. We are to forgive our Creator for his past indiscretions; he owns up to having made us evil because he didn't know any better, but now he's sacrificed a part of himself so all can be forgiven, including our own evil which he originally saddled us with but he's decided has gotten out of hand.
***
Why does this asshole continually seek our love, loyalty, and our worship? We are here for him? To be his parents in absentia? We are supposed to be happy about finding ourselves caught up in some dysfunctional, codependent family? Fuck that.

Seriously? I'm expected to have faith in this? It's an interesting story and character study. I can think of lots of characters that I'd rather have faith in… but I still wouldn't live to worship them and certainly wouldn't structure my life around them or what they might want for me. No; not even Star Trek. [Image: 1.gif]

I don't think humans are born with or born needing a god construct. I think many are just in the process of escaping this current dysfunctional cycle… and hey, it's possible that Jesus might be a transition for people to heal and see a different way of being; of living without a god. I'm all for reconciling oneself and finding the god within but, that's about as empathetic as it gets for me; I have great compassion for people who are just trying to get through all the pain and guilt thrown at them by their religion of circumstance. One can go only so far … evolution is incremental and often one can't see the forest through the trees.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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