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Featured Remembering: Jacob Returns to Bethel: Genesis 35:1-15

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by sealchan, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Summary Genesis 35:1-15:
    God tells Jacob to go to Bethel and build an altar. Jacob tells his household to literally ditch their foreign gods under a tree at Shechem. When Jacob builds his second altar he calls the place El Bethel whereas before he called it Bethel...and it was called Luz. It is mentioned that Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died. She was buried by a tree outside of Bethel. Then some of the prior story of Jacob’s encounter with God at Bethel and elsewhere is told.

    Questions For Discussion:

    As different as Jacob is from his grandfather he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather in many ways. My questions are these:
    • How has Jacob’s experience with God paralleled that of his grandfather Abraham?
    • What is the significance of the tree when burying objects/gods or people?
    • Why is this section of scripture so repetitive in its narrative and in its mention of Bethel? Sloppy editing or intentional patterning?
    • Are verses 14 and 15 current events or a recall of the past?
     
  2. socharlie

    socharlie Active Member

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    this may partially answer your questions: http://torahcode.us/torah_codes/code_history/michelson_article.pdf

    or Google : 49 letter pattern in Torah
    also it may be any places where Jacob had vision of God he called "house of God", i.e, God dwells here. Outer shell - literal text- is written to suit built in codes and gematria counts.
    What codes and gematria brings take precedence over literal text.
     
  3. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I read the first portion of this article...very interesting. I'm convinced that the authors played with the text and inserted such things in order to enhance the sense of the text as sacred. It reminds me of Celtic illuminated gospels with details that seem to add whole new layers of spiritual meaning. To me such things are nerdy additions that are pleasing to the scriptural techies of ages past.

    As such this points indirectly to the fact that the authors looked at the whole text of the Torah as a work and wanted to add structure to it that reflected its wholeness. And this supports what I have seen within the context of the literary qualities of the story in Genesis. Stories with similar patterns repeat themselves like themes that are first teased out, then explored in glorious detail later. Genesis' narrative is, in that sense, very musical.

    Earlier in my research (which I call a long, slow walk through the Bible) I looked at the three instances of the sister-wife narrative that Abram, then Abraham then his estranged son Isaac figured in. On a superficial level this could look like a sloppy repeat of the same story three times, but when you examine the stories more closely they seem to suggest a subtle change in perspective each time. The three stories then become something of a single story in three dimensions.

    I suspect that Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel and Moses may have this inter-related pattern of experience with God. Now I can see a clear similarity in the overall framework of Abram/Abraham's story on the one hand and Jacob/Israel's story on the other. Using the similarity of their repeated experiences of God at Bethel we can find the connecting links. I will get into this in my next post here. Still waiting to see if anyone cares to tackle my questions.
     
  4. socharlie

    socharlie Active Member

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    this pattern actually permanently built in, embedded into text, which is different than people trying find patterns with computers, names or events
    in the text and claim it prophetic (which may or may not be just accidental) . I have a radio show piece which I heard back 20 something years ago, I consider it very important and very consistent with ancient mystic practices of mystery schools.
     
  5. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sealchan,
    The questions you pose are interesting.
    Let me begin by saying that the approach to scripture I have adopted is based on the words of Jesus, John 10:35, 'the scripture cannot be broken'. If we follow a thread we soon see that it forms part of a great tapestry. The beauty of this approach is that it stands above human ingenuity and private interpretation.
    You begin by asking,
    • How has Jacob’s experience with God paralleled that of his grandfather Abraham
    There are some interesting parallels. In Genesis Chapter 13, Abram 'went up out of Egypt' with Lot and Sarai, 'into the south'. Then from the south to Bethel and Hai (Ai - 'ruins'), to the altar that Abram had built (Genesis 12:7,8) when he first entered Canaan. It was here that Abram and Lot separated; Abram to dwell in the land of Canaan (south), whilst Lot moved eastwards to the cities of the plain (near Sodom, north of the Dead Sea). And this must be where the name Luz comes from, for it means 'separation'! In Genesis 35:6 it says, 'Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel...'

    Now we are able to make further connections, for if this is the place where Abram separated from Lot, it is also the place where God said, 'Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.' (Genesis 13: 14,15)

    So we know that Abram stood on a mountain (Genesis 12:8). From there he had a good view in all directions. This was to be the Promised Land.

    Further comparisons help us to paint a fuller picture. In Genesis 12:6 it says that Abram 'passed through the land unto the place of Sichem'. This 'Sichem' is the Shechem of Genesis 35:4. It was at Shechem that Jacob hid the strange gods and earrings under an oak. This may have been one of the oaks near which Abraham pitched his tent (the oaks of Mamre, Genesis 18:1) and where the Lord appeared (Gen. 18:3)

    Oak trees certainly have a significance. Different types of tree are said to give clues as to the landscape. Palm trees for valleys, sycamore for lowlands and reeds for streams etc. The oak tree is said to indicate mountainous countryside ('milla', a species of oak from which the gall-nut is collected, Talmud). We know that large trees were markers for burials, as in 1 Chron. 10:12). Saul and his sons were buried beneath one. So with Deborah in Genesis 35:8.

    Given its history with Abraham, it comes as no surprise that Bethel becomes a place of significance for Jacob. In Genesis 28:13,14 we have a beautiful parallel, because God tells Jacob 'thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south:' Is this not what the Lord had revealed to Abraham concerning the Promised Land? (Genesis 13:14,15)
     
    #5 Redemptionsong, Jan 31, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  6. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I've been posting posts like this for a long time and i have to say that this is perhaps the best direct response I have had. Usually I have had to answer my own questions, and I was looking to do a detailed response with the scriptural references and all, but you have beat me to it. Thank you!

    I will respond further in separate posts but this post is about your awesomeness! :D
     
  7. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    This recording is a bit long for me to listen to fully. Can you recommend a segment?

    I understand that the pattern was not something that one could find in any text if they looked hard enough and used a computer. It was unique and specific given the methodology described in the article you linked to. I am convinced of that. In fact, I took it as evidence that the authors were "nerdy" and wanted to add some "technical detailing" to their sacred scripture. I'm not sure that I see how this would impact the meaning of the text however outside of this sense of some who would appreciate such "technical detailing".
     
  8. socharlie

    socharlie Active Member

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    the way I understand this - text was woven around patterns and numerology, literal meaning was not important, numbers for ages or populations, e.t.c. had no real values. In that radio show (meru.org) Stan Tenen says that all Hebrew letters can be represented by shadows of your fingers, so, basically, you can read (dance) the text in Torah with your fingers (see his videos) and if you follow patterns in Torah you repeatedly enter in higher levels of consciousness (PARDES meditation), provided years of training.
     
  9. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't noticed that last parallel with the four directions. Certainly this scripture is meant to be understood as a profound connecting of Jacob back to Abraham and both to their relationship with the Lord.

    Also how you put the reference to Luz into context was something that I think I was anticipating, but you beat me to the punch. I find that in writing down things I often discover things. Either way the discovery is a blessing.

    I felt that this return to a specific geography was an interesting parallel between Abram/Abraham and Jacob/Israel. This one place in the midst of Canaan which was called Luz/Bethel was visited by Abram on his way through Canaan from Babylon to the Negev. Then he is "forced" by famine to live in Egypt for a time. Then he returns and comes again to Bethel/Luz where he separates from Lot. Then the Lord comes to Abram and declares the lands all around will be his and his descendants.

    Jacob has an analogous experience although some of the elements are in a different configuration. Jacob leaves his family to escape the wrath of Esau. This is what brings him to Bethel the first time. This is a variation on Abram's being led to the region by God but then being forced into "exile" by famine. Jacob goes to his exile in Paddam Aram but when he returns he too, like his grandfather, now has some much added wealth. Abram already had a wife, but nearly lost her in his exile, but Jacob acquires two. In a way Jacob experiences his own variation on the sister-wife narrative as his first wife is really his intended wife's sister. This seems to play into a theme of women as interchangable somehow which I suspect is a type of backhanded commentary on mother goddess religion. When Abram and Jacob return from exile they again visit Bethel, erect new altars, and receive again the promise from God of the land all around.

    When Abram first enters the Bethel area and when Jacob last enters the Bethel area, they both first visit Shechem. It is actually at Shechem that Abram hears the promise from the Lord as opposed to at Bethel the first time. There is noted to be a tree at Shechem (more on this in a separate post).

    So even as these two individuals seem to move in parallel there are variations in there story. This is similar to how the three sister-wife stories relate to each other.

    Also Abraham and Israel/Jacob stand in stark contrast to Isaac who had no such experience. Neither did Isaac receive a name change. It appears that although he received the promise from God (as did Ishmael) he did not have the sort of exile experience and perhaps, implied personal growth-transformation experience that Jacob so clearly did. Abraham's story does not seem to involve such a transformation in character but for other reasons I won't go into here, Abraham has had an experience that can be related to the experience of those who dream about God even today. And I can personally testify as to the nature of such an experience from which I too have been compelled to accept a "second" name from God. I do not use this name publicly however.

    One curiousity I see in the sort of implied evolution of Bethel from Luz to Bethel and in Genesis 35 even El Bethel (God's House of God?!)...this seems to indicate that the authors were very keen on directing attention to the fact that Bethel was a place in which names changed. This could be seen as a reference to Abraham and Israel's own transformation. Also the fact that in Abram's first visit and Jacob's second visit they both first stop at Shechem, this seems to me to delineate a sort of local pilgrimage, a ritual journey within the land of Canaan, symbolic, perhaps, of an earlier state of association with the mother goddess (Shechem) to a transformation into an association with God the Father (Bethel). I have seen a number of indications in Genesis that its authors, in telling the story, were looking to supplant and/or devalue goddess symbology in favor of placing those associations into a context of irrelevancy. I will look more at this in the question regarding the significance of the tree.
     
  10. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sealchan,
    It's good to read your musings. There is such beauty in God's word!
    In Psalm 19 it says, 'The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.'

    Ultimately, the scriptures testify of Christ, just as Christ testifies to the truth of the scriptures. Didn't Jesus Christ say, 'Abraham rejoiced to see My day.', 'Moses wrote of Me.', and 'David called [Me] Lord' (John 8:56, 5:46; Matt. 22:45)?

    I shall be interested to read more as you uncover new treasures. At the moment I'm trying to piece together the bigger picture. I'm convinced that the week of prophecy indicated in the six days of creation, plus the sabbath of rest, are a useful framework. It's dawned on me that Hosea 5:15 to 6:3 is an amazing testimony to this day/thousand year configuration. It says, 'I [God] will go, and return to my place, till they [Ephraim and Judah] acknowledge their offence, and seek my face'. Then, in Hosea 6:2 Ephraim and Judah reply, saying, 'After two days will he [God] revive us: in the third day he [God] will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.'

    When do you think God returned to his place? Has two thousand years (two days) elapsed since that return?
     
  11. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I think that Israel had always struggled with what this prophet calls prostitution (NIV) in that Israel has always had a strong inclination to believe in other gods besides the Lord.

    I have heard of the day/thousand years equivalency but I am not sure it works in this situation. If you are looking at the Lord's return in 3000 years as referring to Jesus, then it would appear this prophecy missed the part about the Lord arriving first (in about 700 years after Hosea's time (a little over half a day)), then departing for 3000 years before coming back.

    This metaphor of the lion with his prey also doesn't match that of a shepherd with his sheep or the lamb of God. It is more like the Lord Himself rather than His Son. Of course the relationship between the two is a whole other topic... It is a close fit, and metaphors don't have to be completely perfect, but given the fact that Israel had been "in and out" with the Lord so often, it is more likely this referred to the near future IMO. But my knowledge in this area of scripture is relatively weak and there may be contexts that I am missing.
     
  12. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the tree species should reflect the landscape and as we know the high country where Israel would become focused is just the sort of place an oak might grow.

    In myth in general, trees represent a deep and fundamental principle. They seem to connect to the earth and reach for the heavens. They often show the process of life: birth, growth, death and rebirth, a fundamental principle of many mythic traditions. Birth-death-rebirth is, in particular, a motif that I understand is closely associated with mother goddess traditions. As such I suspect that the authors of Genesis and of the Jewish Testament in general, had a desire to supplant or diminish the significance of such associations as they formed an epic narrative which celebrated the exclusive and ultimate power of the Lord as a father figure.

    My theory on this is that in Genesis we see mildly significant references to trees giving way to more developed but still ambiguous references to trees. It is as if trees are important but only in a very limited fashion. This, I suspect, is a technique that might be aimed at diminishing the previously understood importance of trees as a center of ritual significance and redirecting that spiritual association toward another matter. Similar in the way that later Christianity subsumed pagan holidays into its own tradition, it is, perhaps, better to reconfigure the old beliefs into a new story than to leave them alone or ignore them.

    In Genesis 13, after Lot departs and God restates his promise to Abram of the land that surrounded him near Bethel, Abram went to dwell beside the trees of Mamre where he also built an altar to the Lord. Here, it would seem, these trees are worthy of note and a place fit for God's chosen one to reside for a time and to build an altar.

    Now in Genesis 35 we have two significant mentions of trees. The first (Genesis 35:4) is Jacob's use of an oak at Shechem as the sight for the burial of all the old gods the members of his household might have. This to me signals an almost direct statement saying, "It is time to bury those old religious ideas (about trees) and move on". Next (Genesis 35:8) we have Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, dies and is buried under an oak outside of Bethel. If we take the literary craft of the authors of Genesis seriously, we must ask the question, "Why (dear author) are you telling us this?"

    There are other famous examples of such seemingly random facts being thrown out in the narrative, especially Genesis 5:21-24 which mention Enoch, his virtue and apparently alludes to his special way of leaving the earth. One has to wonder whether there is extra-Biblical tradition or literature or stories that the authors wanted to make reference to but did not want to include in their own work. This reference might on the one hand bring in a lot of food for thought for the original audience to this story. On the other hand, perhaps the reference to something without any obvious relevance might also be useful for invoking the audience's imagination and creating a sort of participation in the story that leads to further questions and conclusions others might question, etc...

    If I take my own theory as a guiding principle here, what might we make of the fact that the author wanted to note that a servant of Jacob/Israel's mother died and was buried under an oak? Let's consider that Deborah is meant to stand in for the mother goddess herself. Symbolically then we have a sort of reverential burying of the mother goddess as servant to the chosen family and a value to Rebekah who, as woman, represents something of that feminine value system that is being redirected into a new religious story. The tree becomes the marker, then, again of the end of the old ways.

    Also, it is specifically stated that the tree, after the burial of Deborah was called Allon Bakuth, the oak of weeping. Is this also a statement of the old ways (of the goddess) as being a way of misery and failure disguised, perhaps, as a mourning of the passing of a beloved household servant?

    Redemptionsong...do you see my theory as applicable to the burial of Saul in any way? Was his suicide also a way of indicating a negative evaluation of what Saul's life had come to and his burial under the tree as a reverential good-bye to that? I haven't studied this area of scripture too much yet but I am thinking that God wasn't really supportive of giving Israel a king and until David, the kings were not good at submitting to God after they let the power get to their heads. That is, anyway, what I see as David's triumph in the eyes of God that his predecessors failed to achieve.
     
    #12 sealchan, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  13. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    The day/thousand year equivalency was something I first came across in the Talmud. The exact words were,'The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation; two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era, but through our many iniquities all these have been lost.' (Sanhedrin 97a-97b)
    Of course, to a Christian the Messianic era was not lost! The dating according to Archbishop James Ussher, often seen in the KJV, places the birth of Jesus as 4004 Anno Mundi.
    This suggests the seventh day is in our time. But exactly when did God come to Earth? Many people glibly say it was the birth of Jesus. But Jesus lived his first 30 years under the law. So, God's coming to Earth must have been at the baptism and descending of the Holy Spirit. Which moves the calculation on about 33 years. This makes our own time a very significant one. We live roughly two thousand years from the beginning of the Messianic era. In other words, we sit on the edge of the Sabbath day, the day in which Israel and Judah are to be revived (Hosea 6:2) Look carefully at the words of Hosea 6:3. They talk of the latter and former rain. This rain is a blessing, and seems to point (from my word study) to the first and second comings of Christ.

    What you have been studying in Genesis is very relevant to all this because Jacob is a name that seems to be applied to his people in an unrepentant state. After circumcision or baptism, the name seems to change to Israel. Let me know what you think on this matter! At what point was the name Israel applied to Jacob?
     
    #13 Redemptionsong, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  14. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    Tell me, Sealchan, where do you see your theory leading? Are you saying that the revelation of God's Word in Genesis is to be likened to the development of the human psyche? Do we see a change from a literal and animist mind to a Christ-like mind?
    What do you make of Jothan's parable of the bramble in Judges 9:7-21?
     
  15. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I think we have a basic difference in our underlying assumptions as to how we are reading the Bible. I am not saying I am right and you are wrong, but rather my particular assumptions are different and at this point I might be convinced otherwise but I am waiting to see what the Word seems to tell me.

    I believe that your assumption is that even if each book in the Bible was written by different people at different times, since God is behind it all, then God's knowledge of the future makes even the earliest parts of the Jewish Testament relevant to the later Christian books of the New Testament.

    My assumption is that although all the books were inspired by God, that each one is critically limited in its perspective by the author of that book. For this reason I will tend to downplay how the Jewish Testament looks forward knowingly to the later New Testament. I believe that the people of God have progressed through time in their relationship to God and one could argue that perspectives in the New Testament accurately provide broader context for understanding perspectives in the Old.

    However, I do find great value in how the New Testament interprets and reinterprets the Old. So I may not agree with your assumptions but I can definitely find value in your conclusions and speculations.

    What is interesting about Jacob's name change is that the author doesn't seem to immediately adopt it. Here in Genesis 35 we see it restated that Jacob's name was changed but still it is Jacob's name and not Israel's name. The moment recounted in Genesis 35:9-10 refers back to Genesis 32:22-28 when Jacob "literally" "struggled with God" and with men. Having just escaped Laban's wrath by "proving" (thanks to Rachel's deception) that Laban had no cause against him and later having submitted himself humbly to his brother Esau possibly (this is ambiguous) avoiding an confrontation with Esau, truly Jacob has gone through a great trial. In the middle of these two potential conflicts Jacob receives this new name from God's messenger. It may be of interest to you to note that Jacob appears to have been beside a river at this time.

    Jacob's ability to survive these conflicts with men seem to have to do with his willingness to submit to a shared sense of justice. With Laban it had to do with whether he was a thief or not. Jacob, I feel, previously had a "what's in it for me attitude" but now he is thinking in terms of what other's perceive. Later he literally sends wave after wave of gifts to Esau from whom he had previously stolen the birthright. So Jacob is realizing that he is not the center of the world and that God is the one who has been saving him all along not his own cleverness.

    But in spite of this and differently than how the author of Genesis treated Abram's name change with an immediate adoption of that name in the text going forward. But for Jacob, God gives him a new name in Genesis but I don't see the author adopting it as a direct reference to Jacob. It is as if there is an ambiguity regarding these names. In one case the person is now known as the new name. In the other, that other name is known but not used directly.

    So this is how I see Jacob's name and when it was changed. Certainly for both Jacob and Abram, their name changes marked a significant moment in their relationship with God with Jacob's case showing this most clearly. It is interesting to note in Genesis 32 where Jacob asks the angel for his name but the question is not answered.

    In Hosea 6:3 I don't immediately read this in terms of a significant passage of time, but I am not coming at this with the same breadth of knowledge that you are. It seems to me to be a common poetic device in the Jewish Testament to say something twice about one thing, with the first statement more general and the second more specific. Here there is a lapse in time from winter to spring. Does this relate to other scripture?

    Let me drop this thought on you and see what you might make of it: In the beginning God separated the waters to those that are now above and those that are below. This created a space between those waters which Bible translators have called heaven or sky or the firmament of heaven. Everything else which takes place in the Bible on Earth happens in this space. God next separates the dry land from the waters below.

    Now we have Jacob caught in a moment between two separate forces, the one he just left behind, Laban's, and the one he is about to encounter, Esau's. Jacob is probably standing on dry ground beside a river. Now consider Hosea 6:3...are these rains related to two waters and the passage of time a separation? Is the space between (is there a space between?) where Judah and Ephraim reside? Are the rains sorrows and is the sun a blessing? Is the first rain a sorrow and the second a blessing?

    I think we can both agree that the Bible is like a field with rich soil where thoughts, like plants, can root deep. Surely this is inspired literature, but can we be certain of our conclusions? Or is the very process of discussion and speculation meant to be the experience of God's blessing in and of itself?
     
  16. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to keep adding more, but you might appreciate this one.
    In Judges 9:6 it says that Abimelech was made king 'by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.' Another reading of this is 'by the oak of the pillar' or 'by the oak of the garrison which is in Shechem.'
    This is possibly the same tree as in Genesis 12:6 and 35:4.

    Again, in Joshua 24:26, a great stone is set up by Joshua under an oak, by the sanctuary of the LORD. Is this not the very spot where Abraham and Jacob had sacrificed and worshipped?

    But note the warning in Deuteronomy 16:21, 'Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.' Why would God issue this command if groves of trees were not associated with idol worship?
     
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  17. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I think that the Jewish Testament talks about the nature of what it is like for a people to evolve as they develop their relationship to God. In my early study of Matthew, I would say that one of the main teachings of Jesus is that it is in our own minds that we need to apply our understanding of morality and what God wants. There is a clear psychological development here from an outer to an inner focus which, I think, resolves some problems with thinking of our relationship with God as mostly a relationship with external reality. That aspect does exist but I think that it is in our inner world that we must now focus our spiritual efforts. I think that this, in turn, makes us collectively stronger in ourselves and in our relationship to God. This certainly is embodied in our culture and what I would call an overall progression of morality across the globe.

    I've heard the term Christ-like mind though I'm not sure I'm well-versed in what it means to people. I have come to the following understanding in my own experience that I think might represent what I see as Jesus' "true mind"...we all experience suffering in this world, but we can experience that suffering in two ways: if we avoid suffering and experience the suffering that finds us involuntarily, then we will feel like life is hell. If we choose our suffering willingly and voluntarily, then our suffering will make us feel like life itself is heaven. This is how I read the Beatitudes.

    Also I see Genesis as having been written in a way that if you look for patterns you will find them but they are all slightly broken...not enough to ruin the pattern but just enough to make you realize that it is not the particulars of what happens in each story that are as important as what seems to be the reality behind those broken patterns.

    In plain terms, I definitely read the Bible as literature and believe its author(s) wrote it that way. There is God, the mystery of God, behind the literal reading of the story. Historicity is not important when compared with the truths that are being told within the story.
     
  18. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I've just now read over this scripture...I'm going to give it some thought. It is very interesting...

    I appreciate this engaging discussion, but I might need to take a break! I promise to come back.

    Thanks!
     
    #18 sealchan, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  19. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

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    This is what is called a 'lag' in communication!
    Anyhow, thanks for answering so fully. I guess we are approaching things differently, but I'm sure there is an opportunity to enjoy, and learn from, the differences.
    I have arrived at my present 'assumptions' after a number of excursions down what can only be described as 'cul-de-sacs'. As I now see it, an omniscient and omnipotent God does not leave salvation to chance. But that still leaves room for a scripture in its time and for its time!

    You say, 'I think we can both agree that the Bible is like a field with rich soil where thoughts, like plants, can root deep. Surely this is inspired literature, but can we be certain of our conclusions? Or is the very process of discussion and speculation meant to be the experience of God's blessing in and of itself?'
    In response I would ask, Doesn't scripture [God] encourage us in study? Surely He does, and I have no doubt that the process of discussion and speculation in study can be a great blessing. My point of caution is over 'vain philosophy', which has the effect of sowing seeds of doubt rather than seeds of faith. The beauty of scripture to me is that it is wholesome and trustworthy. In it I find Truth - or as I understand it, the Holy Spirit of Christ.
    I cannot be certain of my own conclusions, which is why I look for God's answers rather than my own. This requires an approach to the study of scripture that takes away private interpretation and, instead, allows the Lord to lead one by the hand to the place of his choosing.
     
  20. Redemptionsong

    Redemptionsong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    3,225
    Ratings:
    +425
    Good talking to you. Thank you.
     
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