The Force in Scripture?

More
07 Dec 2018 10:17 #330256 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic The Force in Scripture?
Apols if this makes little sense - I’m on a bus to London!

As with any good myth, this story probably has elements which actually happened, some which have been exaggerated and some completely made-up to make the message of the story more effective.

For me, the historicity of the story is interesting but mostly irrelevant as to ‘truth’ claims. I’m not too bothered whether the second plague was of frogs, or newts, or crocodiles - that would be to miss the inner truth of the story. I also don’t see much supernatural going on here - plagues happen. It’s not like animals started talking, people started flying, or lice grew to the size of elephants! The artistic licence in the story is actually quite constrained.

Moses is an interesting character: a Hebrew born into Egyptian slavery, then left in the reeds of the Nile as a baby, by his mother to evade a ‘cull’ of Israelite children by Pharoah, he was found by an Egyptian princess and raised in the royal family. As far as I’m aware it never confirms this in the bible, but esoteric sources claim he was inducted into the Egyptian priestly caste, taught the law, astronomy, architecture, as well as the most advanced theology of the day.

If knowledge is power, and caste fundamental to such a society then God (or Fate) gave Moses everything he needed to liberate the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The only critical skill he seemed to lack was in oratory. Fortunately his brother, Aaron, was bestowed with this skill and able to give voice to Moses’ leadership.

The reason why this back-story is important is because it’s not like God plucked Moses out of a quarry and made him a god. He was as well educated as anyone and probably more so than Pharoah himself. This preparation took years of study, and taking full advantage of the privileges made available to him - it certainly wasn’t gifted in a flash.

So God gave Moses the opportunity to develop all the necessary skills, knowledge and wisdom to overcome Pharoah. This wasn’t a supernatural process in my view, but such power would make Moses a god to Pharoah i.e. a higher power.

Whether the word ‘god’ is being used metaphorically or literally here is up for debate. I like to think it is literal: through study, contemplation, experience and application of the divine we can enter communion with ‘God’ (The Force, the aspects of reality that I described in the first post). Thou art that.

The ability for humans to enter communion with God in this way, is offered to all. Psalm 82 v6: “I have said ‘Ye are Gods’, and all of you are Sons of the Most High”. Incidentally this is the scripture that Jesus quotes in the incident of John 10 v34.

Practically speaking, the knowledge and opportunity to develop the skills required are available to almost all of us now. How many of us are actually taking-up that opportunity and how many of us are failing to heed the call to adventure? Could you be trusted to wield that kind of power wisely?

Asking myself as much as anyone else!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson, OB1Shinobi, Arisaig

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
07 Dec 2018 16:46 #330264 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic The Force in Scripture?
Is it possible, from a scriptural and allegorical standpoint that the bible was never actually written to divide the personage of God into 3 distinct persons but rather speak of the "divine" in the context of 3 converging principles?

In other words... you have the mind, the body, and the spirit.

In a literal sense Jesus (the son) calls God (the Father) is father while the testimony says Mary was "overshadowed" by the holy spirit. This sounds confusion and was always a point of contention for me because the old testament is anything but confusing because every Israelite was commanded to repeat the "shema" 3 times a day (Deuteronomy 6:4)

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Or as it would read in Hebrew...

Hear O Yisrael, Yahweh our God is one master.
And thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart and with all thy sould and with all thy might.

So not only were they required to repeat this but "God is not the author of confusion" and they were required to keep the commandments, including the first, and not violate. Violation wasn't simply on the basis of worshipping other specific gods but really having any God other than Yahweh. Period. I'm trying to stress the fact that this name "Yahweh" was used to connect their understanding of "One God" to the actual name.

At the same there are a number of statements in the new testament that seem to make Jesus God (or at least divine) and then you can also find "the holy spirit" in both the OT and NT. I would argue that if you study the wording of the text carefully you'll see that the holy spirit often describes the "presence" of God. God is not a person but rather a "force" or "spirit". In Genesis 1 it says God created everything but when it gives a location it says the "spirit of God" moved across the face of the water. There's kind of a Clark Kent vs Superman effect because they're never in 2 different places. And if you just stop and force yourself to consider very basic questions like: Is the Father holy? Is the Father a spirit? (the answers to both are yes) Then fundamentally the Father is a holy spirit therefore saying "the holy spirit" cannot be a title that differentiates one spirit from the Father.

If God is a spirit, as the bible says, then what about Jesus?

I believe the Trinity was a bit of a failed attempt to understand the tri-unity of the mind, body, and spirit. I think what we were being led to was this idea that the Father represents the mind, the Son the body, and the spirit the energetic animating force which is both physical and not.

Early Christians didn't really know what to do with this question. My dad gave me a book to look at when I was young and questioning this. I had no idea there were 7 different views concerning this and they were in a battle for supremacy until Constantine gathered the bishops and they decided what was going to be "universal" (catholic) to Christianity.

In most of these 7 different views Jesus was divine. That was a given. They were trying to make that divinity work within the context of the old testament's one God. I think they got it wrong because their human instinct was to worship the divine and gods as external cosmic beings and intelligent agencies. They didn't quite have the same history of all the pagans, many of whom personified deities without actually believing they were real people. I believe, in essence, Jesus was a Jedi.

That is... Jesus accepted his own divinity in the sense that the Force was acting through him. And that gave him great power which led to myths and legends being written about him. But I think he understood God as a Force working within us. "Above all, in all, and through all". The bible says let this same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" so I think even the disciples understood that the Father was this MIND and Jesus was the body, the physical container for the indwelling of the holy spirit; which again... is the transcendent presence of God.

Jews of Jesus day could understand and accept this version but many many Jews died rather than accept the version offered by the Catholic church after they decided to make Jesus into a co-equal branch of the office (a concept that didn't quite exist) of God. And they rejected this version of Jesus because it was against the fundamental tenants of their religion.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson, Loudzoo, Arisaig

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
07 Dec 2018 16:50 #330265 by Kasumi
Replied by Kasumi on topic The Force in Scripture?
The Hebrew text says that YHVH said to Moses, "I have made you elohim to Pharoah." Two different words, one the unpronounceable name of God and the other the word used throughout the OT for both true gods and false. (It's also an interesting word in itself, in that it appears to be a feminine plural word, but I won't go too far down that rabbit hole.) Among other things, in Genesis, when God moves on the face of the waters, that's also elohim.

I'm not going to be overly involved in this discussion, not being Christian and therefore not having a vote in Christian theology, but I got curious about what language was used...

My source for the Hebrew: biblehub.com/text/exodus/7-1.htm
(My Hebrew is not up for this task on its own.)

+++
I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. ~Takuan
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson, Rex, Arisaig, ZealotX

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
07 Dec 2018 19:42 #330275 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic The Force in Scripture?

Kasumi wrote: The Hebrew text says that YHVH said to Moses, "I have made you elohim to Pharoah." Two different words, one the unpronounceable name of God and the other the word used throughout the OT for both true gods and false. (It's also an interesting word in itself, in that it appears to be a feminine plural word, but I won't go too far down that rabbit hole.) Among other things, in Genesis, when God moves on the face of the waters, that's also elohim.

I'm not going to be overly involved in this discussion, not being Christian and therefore not having a vote in Christian theology, but I got curious about what language was used...

My source for the Hebrew: biblehub.com/text/exodus/7-1.htm
(My Hebrew is not up for this task on its own.)


I'm not a Christian either but if you ask me that point is entirely valid. When I was a young Christian when I heard certain words like "worship" my brain filled in the rest and I assumed that such words were only applicable in the context of God with a capital G. I didn't know anything at that point about how they translated it and how el, al, il, and ol are essentially the same partially because ancient Hebrew didn't have vowels and so the Masorites introduced the vowel pointing system. It's easier to believe there's no difference between the English and the Hebrew Greek and bits of Aramaic sprinkled in. People want to simplify their faith, not make it more complicated.

But the reality is that they did not have "kodesh" or "set apart" (holy) words that were only usable within the context of religion. I remember when my Christian peers would argue that Jesus had to be God because he received worship and only God can be worshipped. However, what they didn't take into account was that the words used were not invented by priests. The bible says clearly that the kings were worshipped. So that tells me that it is a relative word. You can give your child "praise" for doing well in school without it being the same "praise" Christians give to God. Same with worship. The respect given to a king doesn't have to be the same as the respect given to God. Even the word used for God was also used for men because it is a word associated with power. So men in authority were gods. Men who were mighty in battle were gods. Except that... in English the word gods would not be appropriate. We would say "powerful" and "mighty" but the meaning in Hebrew is the same. In English people would get confused but in OLD English it was permissible which is why it was translated that way.

When Jesus, for example, said "ye are gods" this was an OT reference to "judges" which are very much powerful authority figures. But in English people often struggle with what to do with it. That's why I believe the Trinity was a hasty decision that they came to without a full picture of the TNK; the Hebrew Scriptures. Remember, that in those times there were very few copies. People didn't have bibles in their homes. And it was doubtful that the gentiles who were often not even allowed to come all the way into the synagogue would have been allowed to study the scriptures that weren't even in their language. What they could read would have been Greek copies and if Greek has differences with Hebrew like English does then it wouldn't have been hard for them to get confused.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Dec 2018 22:13 #330585 by Alethea Thompson


EXODUS 7:8-12

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron,‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’ ” So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.


For the purposes of getting through the main points, we’re going to skip some of the verses. However, I want to point out that throughout each of these next two plagues, God instructs Moses on exactly what to say. Moses is told to specifically outline what is coming next, so that everyone present is aware that all of it is by design.

Exodus 7:19-23

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.’ ” 20And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.


EXODUS 8:5-7

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’ ” So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.


What are some things you notice? Are there differences between the magicians and what Moses is doing?
What do you think is the deciding value of their abilities?
Attachments:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Dec 2018 22:52 #330589 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic The Force in Scripture?

Alethea Thompson wrote:



EXODUS 7:8-12

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron,‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’ ” So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.


For the purposes of getting through the main points, we’re going to skip some of the verses. However, I want to point out that throughout each of these next two plagues, God instructs Moses on exactly what to say. Moses is told to specifically outline what is coming next, so that everyone present is aware that all of it is by design.

Exodus 7:19-23

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.’ ” 20And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.


EXODUS 8:5-7

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’ ” So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.


What are some things you notice? Are there differences between the magicians and what Moses is doing?
What do you think is the deciding value of their abilities?


for the record, I don't really like Moses due to the genocide he commanded upon his own people. I just want to make that bias clear and beg your forgiveness for speaking on the subject.

With that being said, please forgive me for saying this, but since the bible was written after the events that are described we cannot really say what everyone knew in the moment. There's no dialogue in your two examples where Moses tells the people exactly what God told him to do beforehand and what the result would be.

He tells the reader what God told him to do, but not the Egyptians. He simply does it. And as you read his account of their reaction they weren't very impressed by his miracles. He (the writer) seems to accept that they (the Egyptians) are also doing miraculous things. The difference in quality of these miracles is what is in question and of course the side that wrote the biblical account wins in that department.

This is like me saying that I played Basketball with Michael Jordan before and I won 21 to 6. Some might believe me but the more critical one is of the story the less likely it is and the more you'd want to ask Michael Jordan if it ever happened and if it did, what the score was. I did play against a guy who claimed to be Michael's cousin and although this happened in Montreal Canada I still believed him because of the way he said it. That game, I did win. Can I prove it? No.

Point is, it's much easier to craft a narrative after the fact; especially one in which you are the hero and that people should respect and follow you based on this account. I do think something happened, but I don't think it was a magical faceoff. I think there was a volcanic eruption and none of them knew what that was or what the effects of such were. I think many if not most myths start with at least a grain of truth. If you study religions in that region you see this emphasis on mountain gods. This even translates to mount Olympus. Why is the father of the Olympian gods tied to a "lightning bolt?" I think it is because lighting was the thing most feared and it is a common product of volcanoes.

Why did the Israelites travel towards mt Sinai (which is not the same as the current one), following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night? What kind of mountain has these two features in common? A volcano.

What seems more likely is that they mythologized this volcanic event and attributed the effects of it to their God and this is compatible because their definition of the word God is literally "power". The sun was seen as a source of power so why wouldn't a volcano be? They both produce fire and light.

I think YHWH was basically a personification of energy/power that, like the stars, would guide them and lead them to victory against their enemies and help them survive. The rest is kinda what they interpreted based on their own superstitions and imagination which produced and inspired a lot of wisdom and knowledge that is fruitful for people of all religions.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 Dec 2018 13:04 - 11 Dec 2018 13:04 #330612 by Alethea Thompson
ZealotX, I had 2 requests:

1) And this is the most important- If you’re going to quote the study post, remove the picture so people can easily locate the posts that are directly the study material.

2) If you believe the Bible is nothing more than myth, then use the physics of the Bible so we can continue and prevent this from turning into a discussion of whether the stories are true. If you want THAT discussion, then there’s a whole forum here called “Abrahamic” you can start your own thread in.
Last edit: 11 Dec 2018 13:04 by Alethea Thompson.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Arisaig

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 Dec 2018 13:26 #330613 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic The Force in Scripture?
Thanks Alethea!

I struggle to take these stories too literally but am happy to consider what the authors were trying to say and trying to explain. To me the mythological 'truth' is much more important than the historical truth (which we will never know). This summarises a potential set of natural causes for the plagues:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science...-say-scientists.html

The Nile turning to blood sounds a lot like a red algal bloom. That would have killed the fish and caused the frogs to swarm out of the river. 3000 years ago the best explanation of this would be magic and/or God. Its interesting that God doesn’t perform the miracle himself – rather he tells Moses what to say to Aaron, and then it is Aaron that actually performs the magic. This mechanism is consistent with the time, where the over-arching paradigm to explain natural events was transitioning from magic to religion. These stories are really good examples of this cultural evolution.

A similar chain of causation occurs with the rods: It is Aaron who performs the magic. Pharoah’s wizards then perform the same magic – inferring that Moses, Aaron and the wizards were of the same school of magic. However, Aaron’s magic was stronger and it was his rod that ate the wizards’ rods. Symbolically this shows that:

Magic + God > Magic alone.

As time moves on, magic is culturally reduced to conjuring, and it is religion that is favoured to explain natural and ‘super-natural’ phenomena. Today, of course, we favour science. To me, these stories illustrate the immense power of natural forces operating in this environment at the time: rapid sea level rise, rapid climate change and how vulnerable civilisation was to these forces. Without wanting to stretch this line of argument too far, it also places humanity as a causal factor in these natural forces. Plenty of relevance to today I'd say!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 Dec 2018 14:25 #330618 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic The Force in Scripture?

Alethea Thompson wrote: ZealotX, I had 2 requests:

1) And this is the most important- If you’re going to quote the study post, remove the picture so people can easily locate the posts that are directly the study material.

2) If you believe the Bible is nothing more than myth, then use the physics of the Bible so we can continue and prevent this from turning into a discussion of whether the stories are true. If you want THAT discussion, then there’s a whole forum here called “Abrahamic” you can start your own thread in.


I think I understand point 1. We're talking about the fish symbol, right? I wasn't aware, but my apologies.

2) That's not actually what I believe. I believe the bible was a state sanctioned library of books that were for some writers "inspired" and for others different uses. My point about Moses is that he is a man and therefore should not be trusted just because he is being featured in the story as a tool of "God". It was his people (his supporters) who wrote that story. I'm not suggesting they made it up because I don't think the story makes him look good. Instead, I read it as political spin. And whether "God" was behind him remains to be seen. Instead, we're trained by our religion to assume that because "it is written".

Let's think about it this way. Star Wars Episode I and II go back in time and set up the story of Anakin Skywalker. He's regarded by some to be the chosen one and by others to be a potential threat. Master Yoda and master Windu were very wary if not skeptical. They did not accept this narrative that some others were feeding into because they believed they knew and understood the prophecy. In the end they were almost completely wiped out by Anakin turned Vader who committed his own genocide against the future generation of Jedi at the temple. At this point we KNOW he had crossed over to the dark side.

So my point on why I have a bias against Moses is an honest perspective judging him by his actions, not by his prominence in the story or in Judeo Christian history. He's the hero of his story but he also commanded genocide against all those who weren't willing to go along with his authority; an authority that came from his own claim of interacting with God. The natural reaction is to believe him but again... he's like Anakin. When you commit genocide then, for ME, your journey to the dark side is complete.

This is important to the question of how much should Christians interact with it. And I quote:
"Whatever it is, another question comes to mind: How are we, as Christians, suppose to interact with it? Should we interact with it at all?"

I perfectly remember when I thought of this same Moses as a hero, knowing full well the whole story of how he threw down the commandments, forced the Israelites to drink the golden calf, and ordered many of them to be executed. At that time I was substituting my own judgment for the biblical narrative. It's the same thing as when a nation invades or conquers a new land, doing all kinds of unspeakable evils towards the indigenous population but somehow portraying themselves as the good guys; the cowboys vs the indians. My mind was conditioned from a young age to accept the narrative without questioning it. So I speak out knowing the dangers of that conditioning.

When we accept the narrative we can deceive ourselves into not using our own individual critical thinking, skepticism, or even empathy for the victims. Anakin went through this as he was being seduced by Sidious to turn against democracy. The Star Wars saga shows us the danger of seeing things in absolutes. Hard for me to fully describe but in the end this is how we end up in the clutches of Satan.

"But I do know that because I’ve explored this topic, I understand how easy it is to convince ourselves that we are doing God’s work- but are in fact falling further into Satan’s clutches."

Brilliant reasoning. I really is. I applaud this statement. Many people are asleep and cannot reach this level of understanding.

The Satan is assumed by the reader to be dark, ugly, and obviously evil by the cover of the book alone. This is part of the reason I chose the avatar I did. Because true evil wears a mask of goodness to seem more appealing. The fruit isn't spoiled. It looks good to eat. Satan was an angel of light, thought to be most powerful and beautiful... The Chosen One. There is no account of satan being cursed and deformed in any way. The visage of the "devil" is one only of metaphor.

Of course it doesn't sound like something God would do; making a being superior to all others knowing these very features would corrupt him. What it sounds like is satan's own narrative. "I'm the best. I'm the strongest. I'm the most handsome. I sing the best. I, I, I"

And when we play the game of "our God is stronger than your God" and we fight other people, take their land while claiming God gave it to us because they are sinful... (absolutely) while women are taken as spoils, children are killed, people are enslaved... which God is being followed if this is the result? Perhaps it is the Sith leading them in disguise. Israel foreign politics after they were slaves seems to have been bent on creating the same type of militaristic empire that later conquered and ruled over them.

So again... It's not that I don't believe any of it happened. It's more like, I want to look at what happened without the hero bias where Moses and gang are automatically the good guys because the story is about them. Let's not assume this. They want us to assume this so we can believe God told him to do those things; ALL those things. What if he didn't? What if he was under the influence of Satan? Would he know the difference? Do you trust him to know the difference? A man who didn't argue against the killing of the firstborn of Egypt? IMHO A Jedi would not be okay with that.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alethea Thompson

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 Dec 2018 20:37 - 11 Dec 2018 20:38 #330648 by Alethea Thompson
Ah, I understand.

In that case, you’re getting a bit ahead of the game then XD.

The study of the Plagues in the first week was never about heroism. Actually Week 2 is where you’re suppose to start questioning Moses’ actions as being what God intended. ;). And we’ll definitely get to that- because there are some definite “huh?” moments laced in there.

The 10 Plagues, for the purposes of this study, is only meant to address the metaphysics. That’s why the questions are only looking at the “magical” stuff written into the text. Moses (or Aaron for that matter) literally doesn’t matter yet- save one minor detail I’ll address just before we get to the Red Sea and begin analyzing Mose’s “magical” acts outside of Egypt.
Last edit: 11 Dec 2018 20:38 by Alethea Thompson.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.