Adam, God, Creation, and Lonliness (Relationships)

because there is no discussion of sex at all in the creation story (not till after the fall), only companionship” (Christine)

True…however prior to the fall God created woman for Adam because Adam (unlike God) got lonely (or maybe exactly like God – thus God created humans for friendship). Either way you look at that scenario it goes like this:

(a) If God can get ‘lonely’ why did He create a being like Eve for Adam? This involves no sexual expression whatsoever just someone to relate to in a very platonic sense. So if God understood Adam’s lonliness maybe it makes sense he created Eve for partnership first and foremost, not for some sexual activity (as our society seems to want to think).

(b) Even if God couldn’t comprehend Adams lonliness (thus create animals first then Eve) – he made Eve for Adam – not just in a sexual sense but mainly in a ‘companion’ sense.

Both ways I observe that original relationship on the planet – it leaves room for gay people to share committed relationships…since part of the goal of humanity is help us combat our ‘lonliness’. God seen this in the garden…and priority for Adam’s life to be ‘good’ was partnership with someone.

I know I know, God created a woman for Adam…but then what exactly is Eve (meaning from Adam)? Isn’t the definition of woman not much different than that of another man? I mean, it’s all Adam (meaning man/humanity) nonetheless. What does it matter if someone finds partnership from a woman or a man – it’s all from ‘humanity’ (or Adam).

My aim is to take scriptures at their most obvious, and I am not bending or breaking a single thing from any passage in Genesis (most of this is based on Rabbinic interpretations).

As for Jesus, he mentions this passage once and I see his affirmation of 3 things (also found in rabbinic works): 2 becomes 1 in these ways – (a) sexual union (closest we can get to the original creation); (b) children (2 seperate dna’s in one person); (c) Companionship – to combat our lonliness.

From what i can tell, gays have all the rights in the world to companionship – which is thoroughly part of creation.

*Comment originally aired on Naked Pastor’s ‘Cartoon:Toast’

Christian Capitalists? Socialists? Nothings?

I believe that one cannot be a capitalist and a Christian at the same time” (Dread Pirate)

Scholars in the social sciences, including historians, economic sociologists, economists, anthropologists and philosophers have debated over how to define capitalism, however there is little controversy that private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit in a market, and prices and wages are elements of capitalism” (Capitalism – Wkikpedia)

There are also anti-capitalist movements and ideologies including Anti-capitalism and negative associations with the system such as tragedy of the commons, corporatism and wage slavery.” (Capitalism – Wikipedia)

I agree with Dread Pirate on this one, to a certain degree. I don’t think a Christian can use capital to the dis-service of others (like corporate violations of business ethics or wage slavery). Let me explain what I mean.

I don’t mind a Christian person making a living for themselves via their work – this is throughly biblical (ie: the curse on Adam meant we had to work the land). I believe we should all be able to own the things we want to own – from cars, to homes, to computers (after all, we earned them via our hard work). This sense of enjoying what you have earned is a ‘good thing’.

The early Christian community were a unique specimen – and if we could live like them I would be ‘all in’. They took all they owned and ‘pooled’ it together to support the whole community – from wives to widows. They were, for all intensive purposes, Socialists of their era.

I have no problem with either model, we have this one in the West in the 21st Century and they had that one in the 1st century in Jerusalem. Things change people, I like ideals but we won’t exactly be touching that 1st Century idea again…but we should be inspired by it and we can use a lot of it to focus our current system.

Here is where my problem begins, with ultra capitalism that we are now seeing in the West. The question is – how big should a business get? What is greed – 1, 2, or 3 billion in one family? What about the abuses within the profit gain? Capitalism, when we deal with huge corporations, is really a shady arena. We have companies that own dna for example. We have companies that use slave labor (or child labor) to make products cheaper for the West. The fact is, for most companies of scale to stay competitive (as they call it) they need to abuse humanity on some level or multiple levels. This is where I have the problem.

Christians cannot support these kinds of ideals – nor should they partner with these sorts of ideals. I think it better if we all become Socialists, at least we can say the bible has this example (ie: many people thought of Jesus as a hippie in the late 60’s). But this ultra Capitalism, this new breed of greed…we cannot support this and it’s abuses.

We live by the motto ‘do unto others as you would like done unto you’…and this is equality from the gospels. We need to ask ourselves when we hear of such abuses from large corporations in their search for more profit, would we want that to happen to our family?

Virgin Birth…Constructed Stories

I will address the virgin birth one more time concering it’s use in the gospels of Matt and Luke. The point of that story was to show Jesus was not born of a ‘man’ – but Mary was impreganted by God alone. The lineage backs this up, the actual story about Jesus’ birth says this outright, and the passage they use from Isaiah also seems to point to this. In the writer’s mind there is no mistake about what is being said here concerning ‘virgin’. Some passages.

Matthew’s Version

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born...” (Matt 1:16a)

before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 1:18b)

BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON...” (Matt 1:23)

Matthews version seems pretty clear. Mary gets a mention in the genealogy because she bore Jesus, was impreganted by the Holy Spirit (not via Joseph), and fulfilled the passage in Isaiah 7:14.

1+1+1=3…no?

 Luke’s Version

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus” (Luke 1:31)

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”” (Luke 1:34)

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35)

Now Luke does not do the whole ‘quoting’ scripture thing (by time of his composition it was obvious already – he needed defend nothing). However, he makes the exact same point about Mary: (a) Virgin to conceive son (b) impreganted by the Holy Spirit (or God) (c) he will be a literal version of the ‘son of God’.

Luke’s point is as obvious as Matthew’s for the use of the ‘virgin birth’ – not to ‘fulfill’ in as much as this is to determine what ‘son of God’ means.

And they basically provide me with more than an enough reason to not accept anything being said in those stories – since it is based on a literal interpretation of ‘alma’ from Isaiah 7:14 – which is in ‘error’. Luke also makes a leap after building on this ‘virgin’ idea about how it relates to ‘son of God’…casting more than enough doubt on the validity of that term.

It’s kind of like building an actual building on a flawed blueprint scheme that has an error in it’s construction plan (bad math or something in the measurements). Who builds their house on such things when they know the error will eventually flatten it?

Health Care Reform & Sodomy

Health Care Reform: The idea that within the richest country in the world/West (America) that all people could be provided with health care. Obama just had a bill passed that is setting in motion this idea – not quite there – but working towards such a concept.

Sodomy: “Among the early rabbinic commentators, the common reading of the sin of Sodom was its cruelty, arrogance, and disdain for the poor…Midrashic writers lavishly portrayed Sodom and the surrounding cities as arrogant and self-satisfied, destroyed for the sins of greed and indifference to the poor.” (Pg 65 ‘Wrestling With God & Men’ Rabbi Steven Greenberg)

I have been reading about this issue of health care from both points of views (Dems and Cons) in the news as of late – and I have an opinion on what I am hearing.

It is quite beyond me who anyone claiming to be following Christianity cannot side with the idea of ‘caring for the poor’. The idea some people would raise concern of taxes/economics concering this issue as their excuse to not want the idea is quite sickening. Is this not the richest country in the world? Does not every single person deserve health care as an essential piece of the right to life? Is not health care part of the pursuit of happiness? Is it not a right that should be shared?

What am I missing in this debate on health care?

I just finished reading some rabbinic opinions on Sodom, that rich city destroyed by fire for it’s greed and callousness towards the poor. It reminded me of the idea of health care in America. How can a Christian person use economics as the basis for their reason against helping the poor? Do they have it so good they cannot share some of what they have with others?

I am Canadian (First Nations at that – among the poorest communities in Canada), I am not an American. I pay some 30% of my monthly pay to taxes. Some of that goes to ‘socialized’ medicine (as some are calling it). The great thing about that is no matter who you are – you get help when you come to a hospital…even people living homeless get the help they deserve (all they have to do is want it). I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest…it’s called equality.

So what does Sodomy have to do with this? Sodomy is the sin of not helping the poor in your community – over-looking them for the sake of your own pocket/security. Isn’t this what the health debate is actually getting at the heart of?

We Don’t Need No…Repentance?

Of course we do, but how do we Christians define such a term? What is it’s use?

From the most common understanding I have within Christianity repentance functions as an act to not committ the action again (ie: stealing). It means to change our behavior concerning the said action in question (develop new actions to take the place of that one – like buying the stuff we want – ie: get a job and make some money to afford what you want).

I think that alone is quite good, but there is more to repentance than we are giving on. Jesus believed in repentance that had a more personal aspect to it (like Yom Kippur in some ways):

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt 5:23-24)

Process seems to be: (1) Go (2) Reconcile w/brother (3) Return & Meet w/God

Repentance is about the confession and the abstaining from the sin again, I agree 100% with this aspect of repentance. However it is more – it is making things right (reconciling) with the party that was hurt/ripped off. See next verses.

Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison” (Matt 5:25)

Process seems to be: (1) The Judge (2) The Officer (3) Prison (court of law scenario)

In Jesus’ days and according to his faith (Judaism) – they followed the law and the best route to avoid any penalty was to make sure to make things right with the injured party (ie: stole something from him so return that something or something of equal value as part of the ‘reconciliation’). If not, one could find themselves before the court and eventually facing prison for their breaking of the law and hurting their neighbor.

But the process of repentance seems to be about confession (apology) and reconciliation (making the wrong right) and then adopting the strategy of not doing it again (following God’s teachings – making your offering after the first part is done).

In Christianity we do not look at the reconciliation part that thoroughly because Jesus paid that part (we owe nothing). We can basically rob someone of a hundred dollars and then end it with an apology…no payment back – and we expect them to forgive us (even if we never rectified the situation). We need to take repentance a step further…confess, then pay back, and then approach God in humility of our actions (making the promise not to do it again).

Repentance process seems to be: (1) Go to hurt party (2) apologize to hurt party (3) Pay back the hurt party (make it even) (4) Return to God and make your ‘offering’ (chance to change)…or face the consequences of the crime.

35

Turned 35 today – and I like this age…Here’s to more blogging and discussion in the future!

As my buddy Real always says ‘make this the best year of your life!’

I agree!

How Good is Good Enough?

 

Comment taken from Stand to Reason’s blog ‘Basically Good’

I won’t judge who was and was not a believer, but it doesn’t sit right with me to see people thinking that God makes exceptions for “good people.” (Ally)

How is being ‘good’ an exception exactly? People have to work hard at doing their best moral behavior and refine that from year to year through-out their life – that’s no simple exercise. It takes time, patience, study, experience, etc.

The problem is the bench-mark for what is ‘good’? This seems to be the huge concern for Christians when they approach this topic – ‘how good is good enough?’. But the Christian teachings have this generic built in quality to them themselves – which is supposed to make us ‘question’ exactly like that.

For example, Jesus’ greatest 2 commandments are ‘Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’…does anyone see anything ‘specific’ being asked there? If you said ‘no’ – you can read.

The fact is we decide what our thresholds and standards are in many regards – and refine the process as we grow/mature and interact with one another. How can we love our neighbor if we cannot love ourselves? What does it mean to love someone else – what actions do we take? What is too far? We are asked to address ourselves in those 2 commandments. Yet I never see a Christian asking ‘well, how much love is enough for my neighbor’?

Personal Relationship?

This term never appears in the bible – in fact – it’s not even a term in antiquity…yet it is used widely in Evangelical circles about one’s relations to God.

I’ll be the first to admit there are personal aspects to faith in God. It’s something that only we can truly know how it effects us and persuades us in our choices. Prayer is quite personal (IMO). Faith does have an aspect of it being something quite personal that another person cannot truly connect with. 

However, I do not think what is happening in our Christian walk is actually a personal relationship.  I am not saying we don’t relate to God in some abstract way – we do – but do we even understand it?  It’s not like God is speaking to us directly, shaking our hands when we leave prayer, or coming over for a slice of pie that we made. There is no real relationship going on in some ways. Yet in other ways, there is (sometimes this thinking on God reveals something deep to us). But these relationships are nothing quite like those we have with our family or children. Maybe it’s not meant to be?

I actually don’t think there is a good term to explain what happens between someone and God – it’s unique. I do know that labelling it ‘personal relationship’ makes it sound a lot more intimate than what is really going on. Most people pray, read their bible incessantly, attend church, and give to God’s house to maybe hear from God 1 to 2 times in their entire lives. It’s not as intimate as we would like to think. There’s still something great about it – just not as close as is made seem.

I think Abraham was called the ‘friend of God’…that’s more along the lines of how I would explain it.

The Christian IQ

I have been thinking about the conversations I have on-line with various Christian people and the conversations occuring in the majority of the world with Christian peoples. There seems to be a stark difference between the actual scholarship on-line and what is spouted from day to day in churches in the West. (Yes this is a mass generalization – but the generalization has some merit)

I am coming to think Christianity, in general, is kind of ‘stupid’ (theologically and rationally) The ideas for the character and nature of God they possess are not very in depth – the literalism that colors their perceptions is tantamount to coloring in a child’s book – and they can practically believe anything against the rationale of common and obvious human experience. It makes discussing theological issues, in general, tougher to do but also basic human experience is muddied in the process – making conversation practically impossible.

Let’s say a Christian believes there is only one way to God…in this case…Jesus. For them this is a non-disputive claim (although it does not appear in a single creed) and all other faiths are wrong (and some would say – leading people to hell). This creates a very excluded community that one needs to belong to – to be ‘saved’ (in the end). These cloistered communities begin to create their own reality because for them the actual reality of the world is ‘dangerous’ and can lead people to ‘hell’ or worse…using their brain.

I seen this mentality a lot growing up (as a teen) and I know it still exist fairly strongly in many Evangelical based circles. It’s really a basic denial of reality and an over-stretching of what their bible actually says (there is some extremism in it). The cloister becomes it’s own self-induced cult (hides away from the world) in a way that only supports their way and no others (the rules of do’s and don’ts) – and denies that basic realities of the world (many people follow God) for a claim they cannot prove one iota (God picked Jesus as the one) and have little to no practical experience with (they do not talk with God – they interpret scripture). Some might call that stupid to do.

Let’s say a Christian believer is much more sophisticated in their beliefs but hold to the idea of original sin. They see in Adam a curse was pronounced upon all of humanity resulting in death for their sins that stopped with Jesus’ coming, death, and atonement. This version of ‘grace’ includes the idea of our sins being washed away and we are clean before God. Jesus has taken on our sins and we have been freed, or Jesus took on our sins and we are no longer under the reign of ‘sin’. Look’s on the up and up.

The problem even with these more sophisticated sounding beliefs is they cover as excuses, can be seen as a lie, and deny reality one more time.

There is no doubt we struggle with ‘sin’ (with keeping standards) – but is this genetic or due to our ability to choose? Adam’s curse was death for sin (wages of sin is death); Jesus died for you (took on your sins)…you should not die according to that equation (right – spiritual death…albeit Adam died for real because of his sins). Jesus’ atonement is a ‘cop-out’ for your responsibility of your behavior – or worse yet – a debt producing guilt to Jesus now that you cannot really live up to (don’t you think he is getting sick of paying in his blood for all the continous sins you do?). In the end, you become the person who thinks he was sh*t (born that way), deserves nothing less then death (which will happen regardless), lives to appease a blood debt he believes ‘saved him’, and is cleaned by that blood with a right standing with God that has nothing to do with the person themselves (the blood made them acceptable – in a sense – they are still sh*t). Yeah, I see some stupidity in there too.

Now Christians all I am asking is we come to terms with some of these concepts and examine their full lived out consequence more closely. Are we all stupid…no (I generalized in this piece). Are we capable of stupidy…yes. We need to check ourselves.

Prepare Ye’ the Way for the…Lord? Messiah?

Comment taken from Stand to Reason’s blog ‘This is Most Certainly True’

The fact that it scandalizes you that YHWH would be baptized by John is no evidence for anything at all” (WL)

Well baptized unto repentance is what should be scandalous. Remember, blind spot.

The reason its the only one I’ll accept is that the passage clearly says John is preparing the way for Jesus in the place where the OT passage says that the voice is crying to prepare the way for YHWH” (WL)

John is obviously the one in the wilderness preparing the way for the ‘Lord’ (that’s obvious). However, as we go further down that story-line – how come John does not call Jesus ‘Lord’ if he is making this autmoatic connection you think is there?

John, the great genius proclaimer you think he is, in chapter 11 about this person Jesus is (according to you – literally God in the Flesh)…doubting of him.

Matt 11:2-3 “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

For anyone who cares what Jesus says in Chapter of 11 in Matthew says – he proclaims to be the messiah (not God) in vs.5. In fact John’s questions are framed around this conccept – Christ = Messiah = Anointed One = Expected One (awaiting this arrival).

Notice that John doesn’t ask in Matthew 11 if Jesus is God? No question and no assumption about that idea…no clue in chapter 3 (according to you) he made this proclamation about Jesus being equal to God…John, for the greatest person to walk the world ever, has a short memory.

Also BTW, Jesus allusion to Malachi 3:1 there in Matthew 11:10 is another OT-NT link that establishes that Jesus=YHWH.” (WL)

Matthew 11:10 “This is the one about whom it is written,’BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’

Let’s say Jesus is recalling what he said in Matthew 3 about John (even if John seems to have forgetten him). I will grant this is likely the case according to the story.

How come they change the wording in Matt 11 exactly? It no longer says Lord, and it is no longer a direct quotation of Isaiah 40:3 (Matt 3 was a direct quotation).

John prepared the way for Jesus – even if John forgets who he is. No mistaking they did have the same message…’repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. So in this vein they are very similar and one picked up where the other left off (so to speak). Matthew 11 is asserting this is the case.

However, Matthew 3 (which uses the actual Isaish 40:3 verse) is stating nothing about Jesus divinity nor is Matthew 11.

Matthew 11, if it is a clarification of Matthew 3, seems to be assuming John was the pathway for Jesus to follow. Now that the pathway was out of the way Jesus had to take over the mission…and this time it was not just a prophet…but a messiah.

See the probelm you have with saying that passage says Jesus is God is the problem every passage in the synoptics runs into – Jesus never once says his mission is to be ‘God in the flesh’ and ‘his blood be an atonement for the people’.

Jesus makes no claim to being God…none…I find it very weird God would hide that one (if He is trying to win Israel over – His people). However, if it’s the messiah that arrives to usher in the kingdom of the Lord – well it God’s best representative and someone that can be said to ‘speak on behalf of the company’…not to prepare the way – to actually introduce the new kingdom on behalf of God (since he has a very prestige position in that kingdom).