1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Reading the Bible again and have some questions

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by Deidre, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    I didn't want to post this outside of the DIR, lest there be comments that lead to a debate. I'm not looking to debate, I'm looking to see what someone who is a true follower of the Bible believes. And why you believe it.

    Okay, so I'm reading a study Bible, English Standard Version, and so far I like it a lot. It explains things in long footnote form, that helps me to better understand the depiction of some of these Bible passages.I'm reading it all with an open mind.

    So, I'm fascinated right now by how in Genesis, in the very beginning it states ''the earth was without form and void.'' In the footnote, it specifically states it plainly that there really would be no way for Moses (who is ascribed to as it relates to Genesis) to know this. I'd have to agree, just taking it for face value.

    So, in the footnotes, the Bible scholars responsible for this study guide, go on to say that there were polytheist civilizations that competed with the Hebrew God. Can someone explain that part to me, in better detail, as you understand it?

    I look forward to a good discussion, and like I said, I'm reading this with an open mind.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  2. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    Please always remember that those writing commentary were not inspired by the Spirit, it is just what they think, so they might be wrong.

    I don't concern myself with what other civilizations thought since the God of Israel is the only true God. They were wrong so there is no need to study about them.

    Be concerned with the Biblical text itself.

    That's my two cents, Deidre.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    33,621
    Ratings:
    +14,291
    Religion:
    liber-scripta grim Christian
    It looks like I'm first up. When a person is born they are without form and void. This is very similar to the void in Genesis. Before a person converts they are without form and void, too. We call them 'Baby Christians'. Paul the apostle says they need the milk of the word, so that they may grow teeth. Then they can handle the meat of the word. Some churches have classes that are called 'Formation' classes to prepare people before they become baptised. They are being formed, which means they are being shaped.

    This analogy of formation and formlessness is one of many that are all related. To be formed means that you leave behind a formless life. You allow the Potter to form you, a shapeless clay into a vessel made for a specific purpose. The clay with infinite uses becomes one thing and breakable. You dedicate your time and your life.

    Something to notice is that the earth pre-exists the command for light to appear. Now you are the earth, formless and in darkness, secret and unknown. The light reveals you. Consider "(ESV Isaiah 29:15-16)
    Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, 'Who sees us? Who knows us?'You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me'; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?" ​
    There are many allusions in scripture to the light of Genesis. This light searches out the inner parts of a person which leads to yet another analogy that appears in sacrifices. In sacrifices the priest separates the fat from the meat. The fat which we consider the best tasting is burned. That fat represents pride and other parts of us which we give up. This is also related to formation. The priest's knife removing the fat is analogous to the light that searches the inner person, showing you what is acceptable and what is not. It is as the light of Genesis. Similarly a potter cannot use all parts of the clay but must choose the right parts to make a vessel. Jesus refers to the Logos as a double edged sword that divides even the mind from the breath. That is, it separates your words and your thoughts. It judges your thoughts, so you get rid of certain thoughts and build on others instead. So as closely guarded as your thoughts are and as deceptive, the word can reveal to you the nature of your own thoughts. There are lots of analogies like these.

    The overall theme is revelation, purification and personal perfection and becoming. That goes for Genesis as with everything else. The light reveals, and formation begins. This is the milk of the word, the word which is a knife separating out the good from the bad. There is an analogy of wheat that has to be separated from chaff, too.

    The ancient Psalmist sings "(ESV Psalms 139:23)
    Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!"​
    Its about this whole process and about not only the life he lives but his whole community, allowing itself to be searched, and this is the same as desiring to be formed out of formlessness into something. It is creation and formation. Also, when you have one person singing this its great, but when you have a lot of people together with this kind of dedication you have an immeasurable force for good.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    Okay, lol so I'm taking this all in. @Brickjectivity - that was so beautiful. I'm being open minded, as I said. And the commentary @DavidFirth is from mainly evangelical Christians. That said, I agree ...it can be their own opinion, but this Bible is carving out in detail, and rather objectively, how things are translated, what the prior translations were, and why they were. And how to precisely read Genesis without prejudice.

    So, another question - there is discussion about how there were other mythical ideas about floods and the first humans. But, as a Bible follower, is one to believe that this is how creation began, there were no other creations before Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, etc...?

    What I find fascinating, and I say this as someone who once believed in the Trinity, is that Genesis is a foreshadowing of the Trinity. Do you agree with that? Genesis 1:26 - 'Let us make man in our image.' The ''us'' has been speculated to mean that God could have been addressing his court (of angels) but angels didn't help in the creation of mankind. But, most likely, the commentators are saying ...the ''us'' signifies the first hint of the Trinity.

    Okay. I've read the Bible before, many times actually, and I'm wondering if I read it out of obligation, or just read it without much thought to what I was reading. Then, I eventually became an atheist a few years ago, but I came back to Christianity nearly two years ago from an experience of what I thought was the Holy Spirit. I can't help but wonder if I'm being called to read this for a reason.

    But, I'm reading it with an open mind, and I see things clearly. There's no way the men of those times could have known that the earth was 'without form and dark.' Now we know so much due to science, but they didn't know all that, then.
     
  5. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    Of course I believe "In the beginning" means there was nothing before that but God.

    I hold to God was speaking with the other 2 "persons" in the trinity, not angels. You are correct, angels played no part in creation. We are not told exactly when angels were created so we just don't know.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    Right, okay. So there was no beginning in terms of humans, before this beginning. I know these questions might be dumb to you lol but, I'm just trying to objectively understand.

    I do believe that there could have been angels - that explains Lucifer. Lucifer who eventually became Satan, and God created Lucifer, as an angel. You know that story?
     
  7. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    Yes, the story is found in Isaiah 14.

    No question is too dumb. Paul lauded the Bereans for doubting him and searching the scriptures to see if he was a liar or not.
     
  8. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Messages:
    5,122
    Ratings:
    +1,233
    Religion:
    Christian
    I would say the English standard bible interpreters don't believe in God. They are more like humanists. Because Moses allegedly was one on one with God in the mountain at Sinai. The same way God told Moses what to write for the 10 commandments God could have told Moses what to write for Genesis. Unless you don't believe there was a God and it was just Moses alone who wrote the 10 commandments.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    33,621
    Ratings:
    +14,291
    Religion:
    liber-scripta grim Christian
    No I do not think so, because the Trinity is a philosophical development not one developed out of Scripture. This passage about making man in our image is not something to take too seriously until you know for sure exactly what it means. Don't make a guess. Allow it to remain unresolved and give you ideas that percolate through your subconscious. Let yourself be wrong sometimes. Its ancient, and you are connecting with minds from thousands of years ago. This story is a changed copy of other stories which you can read on papyri that are older than the Bible and on cuneiform tablets. It is an improved story that is about peace instead of war. It has been 'Judaized' if you will allow the usage.
     
  10. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    36,642
    Ratings:
    +17,832
    Religion:
    ecumenical & naturalistic Catholic
    I have to be very brief, so:

    The creation accounts appear to be a reworked Babylonian narrative so as to reflect Jewish values and mores. The Babylonian source predates the writing of Genesis by around 1000 years, and we know that at least some Jews had access to them as a tablet containing it was found in northern Israel in a dig-site that was used prior to the writing of Genesis.

    This is probably correct, especially since some of the names for God found in Torah are from the Sumerian civilization that preceded it and are names of various deities. It appears that we took these names but then attached them to the One God of Israel. No serious archaeologist today doubts that we were polytheistic prior to becoming monotheistic as there's no evidence for monotheism prior to 1000 b.c.e. in eretz Israel.
     
  11. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    I totally disagree with your opinions. Who has bewitched you such that you believe all this nonsense?
     
  12. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    No, but the text states ''Let us make man in our image.'' The ''us'' and ''our'' were said, this translation goes back to the Hebrew translation and it comes out as ''us'' and ''our,'' which the hint of Trinity, would mean that God is a triune god. It's foreshadowing, not developed from the Scripture, as I'm understanding it. I agree with what you're saying though, in that the texts are ancient, but the study guide that accompanies this Bible, seems to be relatively objective. This reads (commentary footnotes) like a text book, and that is what I wanted ...to read this objectively, yet open minded.
     
    #12 Deidre, Aug 19, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    Okay, now I decided to skip to Job, as it's always been a favorite book of mine, both when I was a practicing Christian and when I stopped following the faith.

    In Job, God is speaking to Satan, and it should be underscored that Satan needs to ask permission to basically 'test or tempt' Job, to see if Job will betray God. My question is a bit obscure but maybe you can help me, because the footnotes don't address this really. If Satan rules over hell, how is God speaking with him when discussing Job?

    Second, what do you all believe about dinosaurs - do you believe in the young earth theory, that they boarded the Ark as well? And what do you feel about the continental drift? It seems that the Bible has proof that the continents were all basically one ''super'' continent when God created the earth, but over time, the continents drifted to where we are today. This would explain the different ethnicities, etc.

    So, just curious as to your thoughts on that?
     
  14. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    Satan doesn't rule over hell, that's fantasy. Satan spends his time here on Earth tempting people, trying to destroy their lives. He has always done this. Note what Satan says when God asks him where he's been.

    The ark was real. Continental drift is continental drift. It didn't take millions of years like scientists say it did. Not sure if it was all one continent, the Bible doesn't say that.

    Most, if not all, the dinosaurs died during the flood. I don't know how old the Earth is but I don't believe in millions of years.

    Yes, the different ethnicities were caused when God caused the people to speak different languages at the Tower of Babel.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    You would like this Bible, David. Are you familiar with Cross Way publishers?
     
  16. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    No, I'm not. What Bible is that?
     
  17. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,084
    Ratings:
    +5,673
    It is the ESV but it's a study Bible and it's pretty amazing in terms of explaining. Cross Way is the publisher.
     
  18. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    6,811
    Ratings:
    +1,322
    Religion:
    Christian
    I'll have to check it out.
     
  19. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,039
    Ratings:
    +465
    Religion:
    Urantia Book
    No one knows who wrote any books of the bible but Jewish tradition gives Moses credit for certain books.

    The writers know ancient stories because they were passed down over the generations and because of revelation. Revelation is usually a detailed dream or vision. Moses burning bush was an exceptional case.

    The Jews came up with the idea of mono-theism, the idea of one Creator. Polytheism is the idea that there are many gods, a god for thunder, a god for the sea, a god for the wind and rain, a god for the sun.
     
  20. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,727
    Ratings:
    +487
    Religion:
    Christian
    Hi Deidre;

    It's long been observed that Moses could not have written all that is in the pentateuch (since he would have to have written about his own death as well). We actually don't know who wrote any of the scriptures but they are merely assigned authorship as a matter of tradition.

    However, to your point regarding the earth, being "without form" and "void" :
    I think the ancient Judeo-Christian concept that the earth was created from pre-existing chaotic matter, (and thus the material was "without form") is more rational and logical and intuitive than the later adoption of modern christian movements and their interpretations that theorize "In the beginning" means there was nothing before that but God." (David Firth, post #5),

    I think the abandonment of the earlier doctrine of creation from matter was harmful to later Christian movements that abandoned the early doctrine in favor of creation from “nothing” (i.e. the ex-nihilo creation theory). There are reasons I think this


    THE EARLY DOCTRINE THAT GOD ORGANIZED ALL THINGS FROM ETERNALLY EXISTING MATTER CHANGES EVERYTHING

    The implications of creation from eternally existing chaotic matter are profound in how they affects the context; the understanding and the debates that have raged among theists; philosophers and scientists since later Christians abandoned the belief in creation of material things from “matter”. These arguments have lasted for hundred and hundreds of years.


    The re-adoption of this earlier Christian doctrine has profound implication for religious philosophers. For example, The Organization of all Material things from eternally existing “matter” (which has it’s own innate eternal characteristics) rather than organizing them from “nothing” changes the locus of responsibility for evil. The principle revolutionizes both the debates AND their underlying assumptions and questions since the question of WHY GOD “CREATED” EVIL IS ONE OF THEIR GREAT DEBATES with Christianity. The LDS restoration of this ancient principle to it’s rightful place in theology changes the context to all such considerations. 1300 years of specific debates (it doesn’t answer all debates..) Regarding God and evil can be settled in a logical and simple and obvious manner by the restoration to this ancient principle.

    If the universe is created from eternal matter, then there are principles as eternal as God, and these principles possess their own innate characteristics. This is important, since, if God does not create the conditions from which arises evil, then he is not responsible for it. Obviously there are many other philosophical implications that are just as profound.



    The re-adoption of this Christian doctrine has profound implications for scientists. Creation from matter is a type of creation that they can agree with and which can rationalize (make rational) religious creation with their scientific knowledge. Creation from matter makes for better sense and for better science. The Scientific Laws of Thermodynamics which are universally applied in modern science, no longer need argue with a conflicting Religious theory of Creation from “Nothing”. Religious truth and Scientific truth will stop fighting and may again dance together by the restoration of the ancient principle of creation from chaotic material.



    The re-adoption of this principle has it’s most profound implications for religion. The implications seem to run deeper and are more profound than the implications for all other disciplines. The principle of Creation from eternally existing matter provides a framework for all subsequent religious considerations. If matter is eternal with it's own basic eternal characteristics, yet God uses that matter and organizes it into spirits which have some inherent characteristics, such as “intelligence” and the ability to “progress”, this forms a context for all other subsequent considerations.

    If one knows this, one can predict the subsequent ancient doctrines as to WHAT God is doing with this matter; what he is doing with the spirits of men; and WHY he is doing it; and HOW he going to accomplish these purposes. It provides logic and understanding of why Moral law is eternally important both outside and inside the atonement of Jesus Christ. The re-adoption of the model that God organized and created the Material universe and all other material things from eternally existing “matter” is a simple principle that acts as one of the important beacons that sets men on the path to understanding what God is doing with that matter and why.

    Diedre, good luck with your reading and as you create your own models as to what God is doing and why. I hope this journey is good for you.

    Clear
    τωακδρω
     
    #20 Clear, Sep 26, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    • Winner Winner x 2
Loading...