“Ye Have Heard That It Was Said by Them of Old Time”

The classic work of Dr. David Daube, “The New Testament And Rabbinic Judaism” identified the phrase as a reference to the traditional Jewish midrash that had become more authoritative than the text of Scripture itself. Much like the “Baptist Faith and Message” or the Catechism of Catholicism, it formed a tradition that invariably made “the word of God of no effect.” Jesus had poured forth his criticism upon that tradition in no uncertain terms (e.g., see discourse on ‘Corbin’) and it should not be surprising that in the Sermon on the mount its contrapuntal use to his own “But I say unto you” forms a landmark hermeneutic of the initiation of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ clear reference to Scripture are predicated by “it is written” or “the word of God” and similar unambiguous terms making the phrase “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time” conspicuous by its obtuseness. But this phrase has been used copiously by biblical historical critics to show a putative dichotomy between the “Law” and “Christ” as if Christ were indicating that his teaching superseded the law it self.

Such claims are understandable coming from an ethos that assumed that Scripture, especially the Old Testament, was at core the production of myth and tradition (e.g., German biblical historical criticism) but has been perpetuated in the teaching of a number of self-identified “open theists.”

The chief problem with the “Law” vs “Christ’s teaching” is that the context of the contrapuntal back and forth is prefaced by:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19 KJV)

That is the exegetical key to understanding what follows. That and the solemn warning that “…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20 KJV).

Jesus was excoriating the “theology of Phariseeism” that had taken up the text of Scripture into its superseding midrash. One can easily think of popular “open theist” authors who use the Sermon on the Mount as a pretext for redaction of the Old Testament to conform to a “kinder and gentler” view of God, or the basis for denying the authority of the law in the age of grace.

As a corollary interest many have claimed that Jesus’s “fulfilling the law” was also a statement to the effect that its purpose has been accomplished and its need now removed. But that is based upon the assumption of a definition that has clear alternatives. In light of the Jesus’s disavowal of coming to destroy the law, the case to be made for “to make to stand” or “to establish by scrutiny and examination, by exegesis and by obedience to the sprit as much as the letter.” [1] is more consistent with his stated purpose.

All to say that the popular assumption that Jesus was directly quoting from Scripture in his “But I say unto you” does not satisfy a consistent contextual exegesis, and the alternative undermines a number of pretexts for denying a high view of Scripture or enables a valid ground to redact the Old Testament portrayals of God using violence to accomplish His purposes in the Old Testament.

1.) See Guillaume, ‘The Midrash in the Gospels’, Expository Times, 37, 1926, 392.

Romans 8:26 – Synchronous Suffering

Probably the most overlooked passage of Scripture that demonstrates a shared continuum of duration between us and God is the following.

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:26-28 NAS)

“…intercedes for us (as our infirmities are hurting us) with groanings too deep for words.” (pause)

Intercedes – συναντιλαμβάνεται verb indicative present middle. A compound verb depicting “to lay hold along with, to strive to obtain with others, help in obtaining 2) to take hold with another”. Being in the middle voice emphasizes the initiative of the one doing the action.

So the Spirit is depicted as living right alongside of us taking up the weight of our infirmities, as He encounters them, and does so with extreme passionate concern.

Then we are told that the Father who is always searching hearts (another statement of durative consciousness for God) is present tense *knowing* the mind of the Spirit (nonpersonal forces don’t have “minds”) and is hearing the Spirit because “…Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:10) and in THEIR consultation the Spirit formally intercedes synergistically with the will of God.

I don’t know how a more emphatic case could be made for the durative, intimate and deeply sympathetic experience of the Spirit of God within our experience.

Postulating that God is outside of time totally ignores this passage and exempts Him from our experience.

Jehu Punished as Jezreel

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An exegetical alternative to Pete Enns “When The Bible Corrects Itself – More On Violence In the Bible”

It’s no secret that Pete Enns is a Biblical Expositor with a Redactive Limp.  That is, wherever one finds apparent “inconsistencies” in the Biblical record or a putative redaction of one part of Scripture by another, one can safely disabuse Christians of any claims of inspiration that preserves as “high view” of Scripture.  He is at least consistent in repeating his mantra:

To smooth over this debate between Hosea and our historian in the name of preserving a error-free Bible is to mishandle and therefore disrespect the sacred text. And, as Williams hints at the end, we miss something of the Gospel when we miss theological dynamics like the one we see here.”

Translation – No attempt to reconcile the apparent contradiction here is acceptable.  I say it is evidence against your view and I’m sticking to it.

So from time to time it is appropriate to kick Pete in the schins and challenge his ethos and scholarship by referencing just the tip of the iceberg of Scholars who don’t share his views and give a reasonable answer for what the text appears to say.  In this case the exegesis below shows that Enns has not included some very important but basic methods of hermeneutics in his rush to “disabuse” those pesky high view of Scripture Christians.  Sorry Pete, but you do deserve that.


And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. (Hos. 1:4 KJV)

Name and Explanation of Punishment (1:4–5)

1:4 He gave the boy the name Jezreel. As a personal name it apparently was quite uncommon; it appears only one other time as such in the Bible (1 Chr 4:3). A town in Judah had the name Jezreel; one of David’s wives, Ahinoam, came from there (1 Sam 25:43).

But for Hosea’s audience Jezreel signified the town and valley of the same name located between Galilee and Samaria (the town of Jezreel was in the valley and just northwest of Mount Gilboa). This area was the scene of many significant—and violent—events in Israel’s history. There Israelite forces mustered in preparation for a disastrous battle with the Philistines (1 Sam 29:1). It was part of the abortive kingdom of Ishbaal (or Ishbosheth) according to 2 Sam 2:8. Jezreel was where Naboth had his vineyard until he was framed and murdered by the agents of Jezebel (1 Kgs 21:1). It was here also that Jehu killed Joram, Jezebel, and the rest of Ahab’s household and supporters (2 Kgs 9:24–10:11). The valley of Jezreel, moreover, was the scene of battles fought by Deborah (Judg 4–5) and Gideon (Judg 6–7). In the mind of an Israelite, Jezreel may have signified bloodshed in the same way that Chernobyl signifies nuclear disaster to a modern person.

Another curious fact about this name, however, is that it means “May God sow” and thus associates God with the productivity of the land. In this it addresses the fertility cults that figure so heavily in the background of the Book of Hosea. For the prophet no doubt the name contrasts Yahweh, the true giver of life, with the false fertility god Baal. We thus have in this name associations of both death by violence and of a prayer to God, the giver of bountiful harvests.

God explains the name by saying that he will soon punish the house of Jehu and bring Israel to an end. As the NIV (and most versions) translate it, however, there is something troubling about the statement “because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel.” The problem is that elsewhere in the Bible the prophetic word commends Jehu for his zeal in finishing off the dynasty of Omri and in particular for the slaughter of the priests of Baal (2 Kgs 10:30). In fact, Jehu had obeyed a word from the Lord (2 Kgs 9:7).

Why now would the dynasty be punished for the same act? Modern readers, offended by the sheer volume of blood Jehu spilled, perhaps do not find this troubling, and some scholars even suggest that Hosea’s pronouncement represents a major step forward in the evolution of Israel’s understanding of God: the religious pogrom once commended by the prophets now stands condemned. But, as Andersen and Freedman remark, such analysis “seems detached from the realities of the ninth-eighth centuries b.c.e. in the Near East.” Hosea himself described the wrath of God in the goriest of terms (e.g., 13:7–8), and he certainly does not distance himself—even a little bit—from his predecessors Elijah, Elisha, and the other prophets.

Another possibility is that Jehu was right to destroy the house of Omri but that the way he went about it was overly zealous and bloodthirsty. One might compare this to Isa 10:5–12, in which God condemns Assyria for the arrogant manner in which it went about fulfilling its God-given task of punishing the nations. But this too fails for two reasons. First, Hosea never accuses Jehu of having too much pride or of being overly zealous—he simply mentions the “bloodshed of Jezreel.” Second, again in 2 Kgs 10:30 God unconditionally approves of what Jehu did at Jezreel. This is something we never hear about the exploits of Assyria.

We must take another look at the phrase “because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel.” In all probability this misrepresents what the Hebrew means here. The word translated “punish” pāqad has a wide variety of meanings (“attend to,” “appoint,” “visit,” “muster,” etc.), and its specific meaning in any verse is dependent on context. In some cases, to be sure, it can be translated “punish,” as when “I will visit their iniquity upon them” means “I will punish them for their iniquity.” We should not conclude from this, however, that pāqad is the semantic equivalent to the English “punish.” In addition, this verse is unusual in that it is the only verse in the Bible with this particular construction, using pāqad with dāmîm (“bloodshed,” “massacre,” NIV) as its object. Nothing in the text requires that we understand this to mean “punish” in the sense that the house of Jehu would receive retribution for what he did to the house of Omri at Jezreel. Rather, it seems to mean “visit upon” in the sense that God would bring upon Jehu’s dynasty the same violent destruction that befell Omri’s dynasty. It should be translated, “And I will bring the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.”

This is not punishment for Jehu’s zeal in the slaughter at Jezreel; rather it is punishment for not learning the lesson of Jezreel. Jehu himself had been the agent of God’s fury and personally had seen how terribly it fell upon an apostate dynasty. But he and his household went on to repeat the apostasy of the Omrides and their predecessors (2 Kgs 10:31; 13:1). God visited the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu because, in the final analysis, his dynasty’s rule was little better than that of Jeroboam I or of Ahab and Jezebel. Jehu’s actions at Jezreel were, if anything, the main reason God did not eliminate his dynasty sooner (2 Kgs 10:30).

1:5 Mays and Wolff both argue that this verse is an independent but authentic saying of Hosea, but it is difficult to understand how such a small saying could have survived independently, or on what grounds we can say it is authentically Hoseanic if it once circulated separately from this book.59 Also the structure of the oracle requires that this verse not be omitted. The following diagram demonstrates the structure of the poem:

Call his name Jezreel (A)

For it is just a little while (B)

And I will bring the bloodshed of Jezreel (C) upon the house of Jehu (D)

And I will put an end (C) to the kingdom of the house of Israel (D)

And it will be in that day (B)

And I shall break (C) the bow of Israel (D)

In the valley of Jezreel. (A)

“Jezreel” forms an inclusion pattern at the beginning and end of the oracle (lines marked “A”), within which there is an incomplete parallel structure composed of temporal clauses (lines “B”) followed by statements of doom for Israel and the house of Jehu (“C” and “D”). Each of these statements of doom is composed of two parts, a verb phrase that describes God’s action (“C” = “bring the bloodshed of Jezreel,” “bring an end,” “and I shall break”) and a noun phrase identifying the objects of God’s judgment (“D” = “house of Jehu,” “kingdom of the house of Israel,” and “bow of Israel”). The parallel structure is incomplete because the first half has two “C–D” lines but the second has only one. But there appears to be a reason for this. In the first half “house of Jehu” describes the royal house, and “kingdom of the house of Israel” describes the nation as a whole. In the second half, however, the metaphor “bow of Israel” jointly describes both the military power of the nation as a whole and the king as its head. In short, king and nation will fall as one. The entire structure is lost, however, if v. 5 is omitted.

We cannot be sure precisely what event constituted the fulfillment of this prophecy. Wolff argues that it refers to the events of 733 b.c., when Tiglath-pileser III, in response to Judah’s pleas for help, subjugated the Israelite territory in the valley of Jezreel (2 Kgs 15:29). Others, however, argue that Jehu’s dynasty specifically ended when Shallum assassinated Zechariah, the last king of Jehu’s dynasty. If an ancient Greek translation of 2 Kgs 15:10 is correct, Shallum killed Zechariah at Ibleam, a town located in a southern part of the valley of Jezreel. This is appropriate. It implies that the dynasty ended, as it had begun, with the assassination of the ruling house in the valley of Jezreel. Not only was poetic justice done to Jehu’s line, but Hosea’s prophecy was completely fulfilled. Perhaps we should best understand the verse to mean that the environs of the valley of Jezreel relate to both the fall of the dynasty and to the destruction of the nation.

Garrett, D. A. (1997). Hosea, Joel (Vol. 19A, pp. 55–59). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.


Calvinism and Brueggemann: Queer Theological Bedfellows

The Calvinist rallying cry of “God is Sovereign,” while hauntingly similar to the  Islamic phrase, “Allahu Akbar”, claims that God’s Will defines what is morally right versus what is morally wrong.  That is, when backed into a corner about what they really mean by that phrase they give tacit acknowledgement that what God actualizes in volition (or will) is, by the very occurrence, good.   Where ever it goes it is good and man has no business questioning the motive behind God’s “Sovereignty.”

The utilitarian convenience in that statement is that the Calvinist thinks it is an invincible shield when being taken to task for the immediate implication that God must therefore be subject to no law.  God is Sovereign, and your rational mind is too small to grasp the eternal rectitude of a theology that when taken but a few logical steps from any one of their five tenants places one in an intellectual and theological Twilight Zone.

For the Calvinist, “the Sovereignty of God” is the final hermeneutic for all theological affirmations large or small. So how can Brueggemann be compared to Calvinism.  I will show the similarity that I see.

But first Brueggemann’s peculiar “hermeneutic” in reading the text of the Old Testament should be understood.  Brueggemann’s claim is that to properly engage the text, any text of the Old Testament one must leave behind all presuppositional notions or guiding paradigms about the whole text aside.  Prophetic unity of the whole of Scripture, or Covenantal dispensations and even Christology is not allowed in.  If we really want to know what the Jew’s understood the text to mean, we must void ourselves of an preconceived knowledge of God.  We are to take the earth bound perspective of a group of bedouins who somehow came to be the peculiar people of an ‘unknowable’ God.

To understand the particulars of any given narrative one must understand how a Jew of that period would have engaged the text allotted to their generation.  To hear him tell it, the Jews almost never knew how God was going to react and were on constant alert to bind Him to customary forms of agreement, e.g., ledgers of names to remind God to make good on His promises (Mal. 3:16).  And they had learned by painful experience that sometimes God “goes off” and destroys people, cities and nations when He gets “angry.” The best bet is to try to “saddle soap” Him during one of his “fits” and try to calm Him down so something wicked their way doesn’t come.

The queer commonality of Calvinism and Brueggemann is that they both posit Yahweh as that inscrutable other ‘Whose’ actions or reactions can never be predicted or understood, but only accommodated.  The irony is that there seems to be more moral definition in those God has created as far as their understanding of what basic justice and good entails than what can be predicated in God.  Indeed, man seems to have greater uniformity of moral impulse than either paradigms of the exclusive purview of God.  Queer bedfellows indeed.

~ The Knowledge of Good and Evil ~

The dissolution of our world found its point of entry in the eye.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened” (Gen. 3:4-7 KJV)

It should be clear that the method that was used to seduce our first parents was by controverting the command of God by bold blasphemous lying. The reason behind the command was misrepresented as oriented to God’s caprice without regard for Adam and Eve’s good of being.

There is nothing more tantalizing to the untrained mind than the prospect of ascertaining some new good to self. The proposition, or even the suggestion that there is one, naturally incites an emotional response, that, truth be told, is an involuntary response of the brain, and is therefore, in and of itself, innocent. It is in the knowledge of the relation of the gratification of that new desire against the dictates of known duty that our piety is tested. Once the desire is “coddled” or nursed along by exploring the possible avenues of gratification our senses and emotions have time to build. An attachment may be formed that presses for further focus on the object of desire. And desire gives birth to indulgence. And indulgence is sin and death.

For Eve the prospect must have been suggested originally while she was alone. The magnitude of what she was hazarding could not have failed to produce clear physiological changes. Blushing, increased heart rate, and furtive glances to make sure “nobody was looking.” With every reconsideration of “duty” the emotions would tend to be blown back somewhat and with it a renewed sense of loss to self. This cycle persisted within Eve, possibly until she eventually was tipped mentally by the notion that God didn’t really have her best interest at heart and in her desire she deceived herself into seeing more in that fruit than was actually there.

But what was it to desire to “know good and evil” as if it could be viewed as something to be desired for its own sake? Possibly the the following thought was in play, ‘There is something out there that I don’t know about that would empower me to a new level of self authentication and possible autonomy?’ Or something like that but nothing is known with certainty. Maybe it is enough that we can vicariously experience something of how the proposition might be be attractive to her.

But is there any insight in the words “good and evil” that might help us interprete this passage for all its suggestion of doubt and seeming collusion by God to keep a ‘good’ from Adam and Eve that was secretly enjoyed by Himself?

According to Strongs concordance:

Good: 02896 טוֹב towb {tobe}
Meaning: adj 1) good, pleasant, agreeable 1a) pleasant, agreeable (to the senses) 1b) pleasant (to the higher nature) 1c) good, excellent (of its kind) 1d) good, rich, valuable in estimation 1e) good, appropriate, becoming 1f) better (comparative) 1g) glad, happy, prosperous (of man’s sensuous nature) 1h) good understanding (of man’s intellectual nature) 1i) good, kind, benign 1j) good, right (ethical) n m 2) a good thing, benefit, welfare 2a) welfare, prosperity, happiness 2b) good things (collective) 2c) good, benefit 2d) moral good n f 3) welfare, benefit, good things 3a) welfare, prosperity, happiness 3b) good things (collective) 3c) bounty

Evil: 07451 רַע ra` {rah}
Meaning: adj 1) bad, evil 1a) bad, disagreeable, malignant 1b) bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery) 1c) evil, displeasing 1d) bad (of its kind – land, water, etc) 1e) bad (of value) 1f) worse than, worst (comparison) 1g) sad, unhappy 1h) evil (hurtful) 1i) bad, unkind (vicious in disposition) 1j) bad, evil, wicked (ethically) 1j1) in general, of persons, of thoughts 1j2) deeds, actions n m 2) evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity 2a) evil, distress, adversity 2b) evil, injury, wrong 2c) evil (ethical) n f 3) evil, misery, distress, injury 3a) evil, misery, distress 3b) evil, injury, wrong 3c) evil (ethical)

That is not an exhaustive definition by any means but an interpretive possibility does seem to fall out that does justice to a plain read of the narrative. The “good and evil” was simply not the mystery that was suggested. It was not something secret that God had that they had a legitimate claim to. Rather it was a masterful presentation that told the truth but in a way that hid the danger of its true realization. The simple reality was that by eating of the forbidden fruit their eyes were opened. They experienced the reality of the agony of guilt that disobedience brings. To know the difference between “good and evil” in that way was enlightenment, though of a kind that brought unthinkable and irreparable loss.

God most certainly had the knowlege of Good and Evil in at least the sense that He knew exactly what the final “good of being” was. But we also know that He knew or experienced the “bad, and disagreeable” in the rebellion of the first race of moral beings created in His image and likeness.

When viewed in this way, understanding of the putative mystery of “the knowlege of good and evil” that was presented falls to the ground and reminds us that we too, ‘went our own way’ seeking ‘good to self’ in what ever form we thought we should have, all things considered. We chose to make “our good” the supreme law of our lives over God and our fellow man. In reality the deception of Eve is repeated in every case of allowing ourselves to be lured away from the morally good, for the chance to experience the physically good.

Note: the artwork used in this post was created by “LUMINOKAYA”. I am making no representation that the author shares the same Biblical world view that I do, but it seems highly conducive to the purpose of this not-for-profit blog.

❦ Moral Law ❦

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“Moral law is law which moral beings are at all times under obligation to obey. It is binding upon every moral creature under all circumstances. To a moral law there can be no exception. If there can be an exception to a moral law, but a general rule that is to be interpreted as the case demands. If man is to be a law to himself, moral law must proceed from the moral nature, and as thus proceeding it will have, according to what has be said two branches – the law of righteousness, and the law of obligation.  The law of righteousness respects rights, and its precept is, No right may be violated. The law of obligation respects principles of action as higher and lower and good as varying in its quality, and as greater or less.

Its precept is, Choose for yourselves and for others the higher principle of action, and the nobler and greater good. These taken together are the moral law as derived from the moral nature. To this law there can be no exception, in this world or any other. Of this law the underlying idea is that of a good. Without that idea there can be no idea of rights, or of an obligation to do anything for ourselves or for others. As we shall see hereafter, this law in its two branches is coincident with the law of love. No one who loves another can violate his rights, or fail to do for him what obligation demands.

When moral law, in either form of it as presented above, is placed before an unperverted moral being capable of understanding it, obligation to obey it is intuitively and necessarily affirmed. If it were not, man would not have a moral nature. The obligation is at first recognized in a particular case, but immediately and necessarily, not by generalization or induction, assumes a general form. It is thus, by the resolution of the two branches of the law into the law of love, that the moral law is the law of obligation. Where there is obligation there is moral law, and where there is no obligation there is no moral law.

The affirmation of obligation implies both a command and a penalty, and thus becomes law. In this it differes from a rule. A rule tells us how to do a thing. A law tells us what to do and commands us to do it, but becomes law only as it is enforced by penalty, or by punishment. This affirmation of obligation carries with it the force of the word ‘ought’; but unless it is supposed to express the will of God with his authority lying back of it, it will be, as men now are, of small force in controlling the appetites and passions. Men fear but slightly the reaction upon themselves of violated law, which may be regarded as penalty in distinction from punishment.

The sphere of moral law is the control of the man himself in his preferences and choices. Disregarding outward manifestations it takes cognizance of that which can be known only to the individual himself and to God, of that which in the Scriptures is called “the heart.” That is its grand peculiarity. It asserts it prerogative just where moral forces have play and moral battles are wages.

This law, or affirmation of obligation, comes from within a man, as any law must by which a man is “a law unto himself.” It is given by the moral reason when the occasion comes, and is possible only on the condition that there be a being possessed of intellect, sensibility and will.  With this condition the idea and affirmation of obligation is given by the moral reason, just as the idea of beauty is given by the aesthetic reason on condition of intellect and sensibility, or as the idea of space is given by the pure reason.

But though the law is thus from within the man, it is yet not of him as having choice and will, but comes by necessity, and as from a somewhat apart from himself. And hence the comparison by Kant of the moral law to the starry heavens as equally wonderful, and as equally apart from himself. Only too, in the fact of a moral law thus given, could Kant have found what he regarded as the strongest proof of the being of a God who is a moral governor. It is an adequate, and the only adequate proof. From the law of cause and effect, as well as from the revealed fact that we are in the image of God, we may infer that a moral nature and so moral law, are involved in the personality of God as they are in our own.”

Hopkins, Mark (1887). The Law Of Love and Love As a Law. New York; Charles Scribner’s Sons. pgs 80-84.

The Frozen Man


The Frozen Man

The image of the hypothetical “William James McPhee,” who in the song by James Taylor, “Frozen Man,” went overboard with shipmates amidst the tangle of rigging and ice froze to death. Taylor’s story resurrects McPhee to a modern world of bionic limb and organ replacement. A shock to live again after 100 years of the silent dark. Or so it is assumed. Taylor said that the discovery by the National Geographic Society was the seminal material for the song. And it is little wonder that the visage of an open-eyed dead man who had his chin tied up nevertheless, seems to have had no one who cared enough to close his eyes.

But that is what is so haunting about the image. The eye’s being partly open seem to suggest a latent form or consciousness as if “McPhee” can still peer into our world. It’s the eyes. Thy eyes are the window of the soul , or as Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye…”

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:22-24 KJV)

But it is clear that Jesus is using the subordinate effect of seeing or not based on the eye being opened or closed to represent the dispostion of the heart of a man. That is, the chosen purpose of life made by the will. If the dispostion of the heart, or the will, is evil the whole body is full of darkness. But if the eye is “healthy”, i.e. the will is voluntarily disposed to benevolence the whole body if full of light.

Looking on the death visage of “Mr. McPhee” also suggests that those eyes may have peered into the invisible world of the spirit during the last few seconds of moral life in this world. The world where the spirits of light and darkness are in contest to protect or harm the sons of men. But that world did not exist in Taylor’s story. Only darkness and the cessation of consciousness.

But that is not a revelation of the Bible. First of all we know this from Jesus’s own rebuke to the Sadducee’s who, we are told did not believe in the resurrection. An affirmation that presumes the cessation of consciousness at death.

“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (Mk. 12:26-27 KJV)

You’d think that would end the discussion, but some have postulated that in death what ever it is that characterized our consciousness in life, is in stasis in death in “sleep” until God brings “it” back into the exercise of incipiency of the will. But without a body they say, your conscious mind ceases and is stored by God until the resurrection. The problem with that notion is that it assumes that that can be called living that has no exercise of incipient willing. That is not what Jesus said about God being the God of the living.

They say, that death is the consequence of the first sin, as if death in scripture only referred to “dust returning to dust.” Further it seems to be implied that since consciousness is associated with the body, death ends conscious experience. But, that is not what Scripture say’s about death.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (Cor. 4:6)

“But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:13 NAS)

It should be obvious that those two passages alone constitute exceptions to the postive assertion that there is no incipient willing after death. The spirit of man in seperation from God by sin is “dead” spiritually. And spiritual death is to be alive in the body, capable of incipient action which is still separated from the Life of God. That’s why Jesus could refer to those who put off the call of God to tend to subordinate activity as “dead”, as in, “let the dead, bury their dead” but for the called “follow him. Matt 8:21,22.

The irony of the “Frozen Man” as representative of man in physical death, is that it is just as fitting an image of traditional undersranding of man who is under the thrall the deterministic causal force called a sin nature.

“All Things Are Possible Unto Thee”

πάντα δυνατά σοι (Mk. 14:36) The Intersection of the mind of Christ and traditional theology.

In English that phrase is translated as “…all things are possible unto thee…”

First point – the affirmation of what Jesus believed about the Father’s power. The power to unilaterally interact in the immediacy of our situation irrespective of its state. That does not mean that Jesus believed that unilateral interposition of His will means that God can be solicited to do either the morally or physically incoherent.

Second point – The phrase is equivalent to “omnipotent” with the same restrictions as above. It is simply equivalent. But where theology has been radicalized by either ancient Greek philosophy (at the level of those who make “confessional statements”) the phrase has been abused (or tortured) in being an absolute in the abstract, unmitigated by any of the other attributes of the Godhead or is qualified by an ontological connection to the created universe.

The take home point is – Consider that it was Jesus who said those words.

~ Donkey Shock ~

That moment when you realize that you’ve been grazing in theological pastures that have been “gmo’d” with ancient near eastern paradigms that have been cultivated for at least two hundred years. Your “ears” should have started tingling when you heard that “every thing you ever learned about God was wrong.”

From there you will hear that, “since the Bible was not written to you,” you therefore need the expertise of a “Priestly Class” who will show you what controlling interpretive filters you should adopt to understand the New Testament and the Old Testament.

Knowing that the world has been populated with the writings of those who believe that, comparatively speaking, all the major ancient world religions share a common locus of truths that had the same source, should help you to be a bit more discriminating in adopting paradigms that start with “even the way you have been taught to think is wrong.”

Just saying…