Musings on Calvinism

May 29, 20

What follows is a record of my journey exploring and ruminating on this issue.

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How do we understand Romans 9? Is it about individual election to salvation / damnation as Calvinism teaches? Or perhaps election of Jews and Gentiles to different roles in bringing the salvation message?

It’s been said that we should let Scripture interpret Scripture. So why not let Paul in Romans interpret Paul in Romans:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. – Romans 11:11

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Why the Angel of the LORD is Jesus, and Why Both are God

July 1, 20

Further to the debate about the Angel of the LORD between Anthony Rogers and a Unitarian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41gbh9C9vkE), I summarize briefly the reasons why I identify the Angel of the LORD and Jesus as the member of the Holy Trinity known as The Son:

1) The Angel of the LORD is the LORD God (Exodus 3:2-6). Jesus is Lord and God (John 20:28). But the LORD God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, note that ‘one’ here is ‘echad’ which can mean ‘compound unity’).

2) Despite being the LORD, the Angel of the LORD can converse with The LORD as a distinct individual (Zechariah 1:12-13). Despite being God, Jesus converses with God the Father (John 11:41-42).

3) The Angel of the LORD can forgive sins (Zechariah 3:1-5). Jesus can forgive sins (Luke 5:20-25). But as the outraged leaders protested, only God is the one who forgives sins (Isaiah 43:1,25).

4) The Angel of the LORD is the one who brought the Israelites out of Egypt (Judges 2:1). Jesus is the one who saved the people out of Egypt (Jude 1:5). The LORD is the one who brings the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 6:6).

5) Related to the above: The LORD, the Angel of His presence, and His Holy Spirit are three identified as one (Isaiah 63:7-10). The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three identified by one name (Matthew 28:19). The LORD, the Angel of the LORD and the spirit also appear in a passage linked to crucifixion (Zechariah 12:8-10).

6) The Angel of the LORD’s name is Wonderful (Judges 13:18). Jesus as the promised Messiah is called Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6). No other person in the Bible has this name or description except God (e.g. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 78:12).

7) Whoever sees the LORD will die (Exodus 33:19-20). Yet despite being God, the Angel of the LORD could be seen by people without them dying – to their surprise (Genesis 32:24,30 ref: Hosea 12:3-5; Judges 6:21-23; Judges 13:21-23). No one has ever seen God, but Jesus makes Him known (John 1:18) as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).

8) The Angel of the LORD bears a sword (Numbers 22:22-23) and commands the armies of the LORD (Joshua 5:13-15). Jesus the Word of God bears a sword and leads the armies of heaven (Revelation 19:11-16).

9) The Angel of the LORD accepts worship (Joshua 5:14-15 ref: Exodus 3:5). Jesus accepts worship (Matthew 14:31-33). Worship is due only to God (Exodus 34:13; Matthew 4:10), which is why ordinary men (Acts 10:25-26; Acts 14:11-15) and angels (Revelation 19:9-10; Revelation 22:8-9) refuse worship.

10) The Angel of the covenant will be preceded by a lesser messenger (Malachi 3:1). Jesus was preceded by John the Baptist and the text explicitly references the Old Testament passage (Mark 1:2-4).

11) And finally: While the Father and the Holy Spirit can be seen acting in both the Old and New Testaments, the Angel of the LORD is only found in the Old Testament – and then is not found in the New Testament, but Jesus is.

PS. If you have an hour plus to spare, I go deeper into the whole issue here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8G2ffi4k6E&t=4009s

Predestination + Free Will According to Molina, William Lane Craig

May 29, 20

How God sovereignly determines the world we live in, yet we have free will to make decisions that meaningfully affect our lives (according to Molinism):

My Sayings

May 29, 20

Pessimists are the only people who are happy to be disappointed.

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‘Hitler’s London Fallacy’ (a variant of Genetic Fallacy)

“Do you think London is the capital of the UK?”

“Yes.”

“Thats what Hitler thought too. So you agree with the Nazis?!!”

This demonstrates how ridiculous it is to toss out every point made by a less than savoury, trustworthy source. Even a broken clock can be right twice a day.

Every claim has to be judged independently.

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“False teaching is whatever I do not believe.”

This is my motto.

At first glance it sounds very arrogant and closed minded. But think it over and you will realize that it is perfectly reasonable, commendable, and EVERYONE holds this view.

Free Will & Never Sinning in Heaven

May 29, 20

How can believers retain free will in heaven (or the new earth), and yet not choose to sin? Perhaps my real life experience will help to illustrate.

I once ate frozen cendol pulut from a certain shop. That same day, I was wracked with horrible food poisoning – the worst I’ve ever had. I was in great suffering for hours even after being admitted into triage.

Will I ever eat ANYTHING from that shop again? NO!!!

But do I still have free will? Of course. It’s just that I’ve learned a painful, horrible, unforgettable lesson about the sensibility of eating food from that restaurant.

The same applies to believers in heaven. We will have experienced our lessons about sin while in this mortal life – painfully, regretfully – and learned to freely avoid sin forevermore after.

Am I A Jew?

May 29, 20

amiajew

Radical Hyperskeptical Criticism of the Bible Would Demolish All Literature It’s Applied To

May 29, 20

Excerpt from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiUiMXolNjpAhXOH7cAHZGXAiQQFjAAegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fissuesetc.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2018%2F04%2F22Responding-to-Bart-Ehrman%25E2%2580%2599s-New-Testament-Forgery-Theory22-Dr.-John-Warwick-Montgomery.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1z99bIksxKeo6ZZ8vhnM4v

WILKEN: Before we get to some of what Dr. Ehrman had to say recently on the program, we recently had your colleague, Craig Parton, on the program. And he said that this method, the historical-critical method, to which Dr. Ehrman and so many other of the skeptical scholars subscribe, has been tried in many different fields of literature and rejected in all except Biblical scholarship, where somehow it still hangs on. Is that true?

MONTGOMERY: Oh, yes, this certainly is true. In Ugaritic scholarship, for example, the use of divine names, the difference between the use of one divine name and the use of another, in order to establish authorship was rejected after attempts were made to determine the true authors of Ugaritic materials. Cyrus Gordon, the greatest authority in that field, said before he died that if they didn’t stop doing this, it would destroy all Ugaritic literature.

And when I was at Cornell as an undergraduate, I had a Classics professor by the name of Harry Kaplan, who was quite a wag, and Kaplan said for seventy-five years we tried to find by literary criticism and stylistic differences and interpolations and this kind of thing the true authors of The Iliad and The Odyssey. And after seventy-five years of this we came to the conclusion that either The Iliad and The Odyssey were written by Homer or they were written by someone of the same name who live about the same time.

In other words, an attempt to use this sort of technique got absolutely nowhere. And in the history of the English ballad, for example, attempts were made along this line, and even though in some cases the oral tradition is six and seven centuries in length, it’s been concluded that these methods will not work.

C. S. Lewis said that critics of his work had tried to discover through similar analysis the real origins of the Narnian material. He said even though they are writing in my own time and in my own language, they’ve never been right once. Now how is it possible, then, to pull this kind of thing off when one’s dealing with Biblical materials that are well over 2,000 years old and written in languages that are not the language of the critic?

And I have, finally, an illustration that you’re going to love. A few years ago in England two liberal scholars along Ehrman’s line, a gentleman by the name of McGregor and another by the name of Morton, produced a book in which they took Romans and Corinthians and Galatians as the basis, stylistic basis, and they fed the style into a computer, and then they compared the other letters that are attributed to Paul in the New Testament. They compared the styles of those letters against the basic style that they had put in. And they concluded that not a single one of those other letters was written by Paul. Okay?

Then, a few years later, at Harvard, their book – McGregor and Morton’s book – was analyzed. The style of the introduction and preface of the book were fed in as a basis. And then the style of the succeeding chapters were fed in, and the conclusion was that McGregor and Morton had not written the rest of the book. The rest of the book must have been written by other people.

Now, of course, this was done as a wag, but it shows that you can’t use vocabulary and style as any kind of solid basis for determining authorship. What you need are external evidences that will provide you with guidance. And that’s exactly what the early Church relied upon, and that’s why we have the New Testament as we have it today.

The Bible vs Harry Potter

May 29, 20

What is the fundamental difference between the literature of The Bible and that of Harry Potter?

After all, as the skeptic’s argument goes: Harry Potter contains truthful claims such as London being in England (geography), or Churchill leading Britain in WW2 (history). But does that mean that it’s true about wizards doing battle using magic?

So, the skeptic continues: Just because the Bible contains truthful claims about Jericho (archaeology/geography), or the Cyrus decree (history)… Does not mean that it’s true about God creating humanity, or Jesus dying and resurrecting.

So instead of trying to postulate a fundamental difference, The Bible and any other piece of literature should be tested on equal scales. It is my confidence that not only does The Bible outstrip any other book in terms of verifiable facts, it will eventually be proven true on EVERY verifiable fact.

We already see an amazing track record of skeptics having claimed that, e.g. the Sojourn, Opression, Exodus, Conquest, Israelite nation, Davidic dynasty, Hittites, Sargon II, etc did not exist – only for new discoveries to vindicate the Bible. (SKEPTICS ARE ARROGANT, BUT THE BIBLE ALWAYS WINS! – me)

And if we can trust The Bible on ‘earthly things’ (verifiable facts), then we should also have confidence in what it says about ‘heavenly things’ (unverifiable claims) – to paraphrase John 3:12.

NB: In fact a better comparison than Harry Potter would be The Quran – as it is a competing claimant to being a divinely inspired book containing both unverifiable claims about spiritual truths and testable claims about history, geography, archaeology, science etc.

How to Prounounce YHWH Based on Jewish Names

May 29, 20

His reasoning sounds convincing, especially how they pronounce human names with Yeho at the front part (eg Yehonatan, I can think of Yehoshafat, Yehoyachin too).

Luke’s Word Usage Linking Divine Council Worldview Passages

May 29, 20

Luke deliberately linking Pentecost, Babel and Deuteronomy 32:8 (and thereby confirming that the third item is a reference to the second).

Also another case of the Septuagint and DSS agreeing against the MT.

Screenshot taken from Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm.LukeDCWwords


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