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Reload this Page One on One: Desert Reign and Lon - Openness vs. Reformed hermeneutics
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April 7th, 2012, 12:20 PM

Hi DR.
I need to point out your inconsistencies here. You made a few 'hebrew inconsistency' comments then proceed to talk about Greek, mixing the 2 up. I've worked at making this post reader friendly and will continue the endeaver.
Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I disagree with your use of the word 'normative' because it assumes that your interpretation is the correct one. Normative means that it carries a prescription such as 'this should be done' and there is nothing prescriptive about an interpretation of the Bible. Your method of interpretation could be said to be prescriptive in that it dictates how the Bible should be interpreted, just as mine is, but the interpretations themselves are not.

Spoiler
I addressed this previously. There are some agreements however I wanted to point out. It is true there is a certain amount of prescription toward bible study as there is to any language and its study. I've no problem there. I simply note your disagreement with the term 'normative' as your redress didn't seem opposed to my definition in the sense that I gave it.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I answered this one in an earlier post.


Spoiler
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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
As I previously stated, there is nothing in Genesis 3 which requires that the serpent be deemed to be Satan. The passage works as a whole, without ambiguity (at least as far as the snake goes) and therefore that is the meaning of that passage. There is of course an ancient tradition that the serpent was read as Satan, however all that says is that people happily read it as that. If the passages in Revelation/John refer to this (which is not certain anyway), then it is referring to the tradition of interpretation, not to the text itself. Let me put that another way in case I wasn't clear: the text itself, being allegory, is open to various interpretations. So long as those interpretations are consistent with one another, then they can be said to be valid. (Such as 'The Embodiment of Pure Deception' or 'Beelzebub'.) Many people in the tradition of interpretation interpreted the snake as Satan. That was a valid interpretation. There doesn't have to be one single correct interpretation of an allegory. It would even be a little pointless if the writer gave an explicit explanation in the text - a bit like when you explain the point of a joke to someone who is culturally deprived, the joke is no longer funny. The fact that a snake was chosen for the allegory is hardly an accident, given that snakes typically lie coolly in wait for their prey and then pounce suddenly.

I agree on some points, and disagree on others. Story does indeed elicite differing responses as I said in my initial post and that there are times where that is appropriate. However, if we are given any particulars, we must be careful that our view doesn't range outside of what is acceptable. For instance, we may very well fall into a significant debate about whether this is a very historical presentation with allegorical points (like Satan called serpent), or allegory with truthful points. Because that precisely is the problem, we must necessarily agree to disagree and yet cannot have whatever we believe be inconsistent with the rest of scripture. I wouldn't necessarily correct in strong terms, a reader coming away thinking the serpent a 'dragon.' I would however correct a notion such as "God didn't know where Adam was at." Why?
Because, pedantic literature about God tells us plainly that God sees everywhere.
Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I'm not really sure where you get 'Lo yadda' from. The scripture is (reading left to right)

'Ki atah yadati ki-ireh elohim atah...'
I'm not really sure why you didn't get it.
Gen 22:12
כיידעתיכייראאלהיםאתהולא
Yes, I know, right to left. You are taxing my Hebrew skills now.
I can pronounce and with a bit of effort can decipher.
I have no idea what the exercise is supposed to accomplish.


Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
But your answer lies in not reading the Hebrews passage correctly. You have ignored "when he was tested" ( πειραζομενος which is a present participle and could perhaps be rendered better with 'when he was being tested').
Er, that's Greek. My whole point with lo or yada or attah was that the words have ancillary meaning to the context and that context does not demand "now I know." Regardless, let me get back to the big picture. We know God isn't 'learning anything.' The test was for Abraham to learn something.


Who's Study Method works:
We know implicitly that Abraham believed God could and would raise Isaac from Hebrews 11:17-19

What we don't know, according to you, is if Abraham would have carried out the action.
In fact, if we follow your logic to the conclusion, God still couldn't have known because Abraham never carried out the action.
That is where your hermenuetic for understanding this passage leaves us.
God knowing nothing, even after He supposedly says "Now I know."
Talk about your can of worms: Your hermenuetics of this passage leave you knowing absolutely nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
There isn't some Platonic thing called 'Abraham' that God could pinpoint and say 'this is Abraham'. That is a presupposition. God knows Abraham - as we all know anyone at all - by experiencing him.
As I just showed, by your own hermenuetic, you don't even know that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
There simply isn't any point in us existing if our existence is already encapsulated in some fixed ideal.
And that, my friend, is called presupposition driving your understanding of the text, rather than the text demanding your theology align with God. Your god is inadvertently being made to bow to you (at least as I hope you can see, how I assess it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
We are not the outworking of an ideal, we are real people. We matter.
God matters, the only way we can matter is if we become like Him.

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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
The scripture doesn't imply that God didn't know what Abraham was before he tested him as if God was somehow lacking something. All that was happening was that God was experiencing Abraham as he was. And that was the point when God had experienced him sufficiently to declare that he was righteous. Your reading of Hebrews has obviously been contaminated by your Platonic presuppositions but I can pretty much assure you that the book of Genesis was not and any correct intrepretation of it should not be either.
I have little enough knowledge about Plato. I knew enough from him from Augustine but that hardly came into play or matters. Leave the guess-work out of this particular conversation. I have no desire to discuss outside influences. We have plenty on our plates discussing the bible alone. I have told you why the text itself demands this view, whether you see it or not, or acknowledge it or not, let us have done with Plato. The Plato not in the Bible has nothing to do with Bible hermenuetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
The other thing you are doing here is ignoring the genre of the passage. This is obviously written as a sermon to Jews with lots of references to the Old Testament scriptures.
It is not a sermon. It contains sermons. It 50 chapters long! It is a book, which contains stories, sermons, poems, songs, and instructions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
And like many sermons which comment on scripture, it is not intended to be the authoritative interpretation of that passage as if it were an extension of the Old Testament itself.

The scripture was simply being used (in much the way that I guess Paul meant when he said all scripture was useful for teaching, etc.) And in the this sense, what the author of Hebrews is saying is something new, in its own right, not an authoritative interpretation of the original text. Your original hermeneutic stated that story/narrative was when something was assumed from a story (as contrasted with pedantic, meaning what God said about himself). However, it would perhaps be more basic to first insist that you read what is there in the story before worrying about making inferences from that story.
Story, as I said, is truth in action. It is the road where truth travels. Pedantic scriptures are those truths clearly given to us. We find them most readily in lecture form (pedantic) like the letters, or sermons. We can and do find them in poetry, the psalms, wisdom, but even in story. The problem is that it isn't as easy to pull from story. We don't necessarily all "go and do likewise." Truth from story must be proven. Just because Jesus used a whip in the temple doesn't mean we can go into the IRS with a scourge. In fact, I'd say bad idea. Scripture does tell us how we should behave against the notion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I don't think I need comment in detail on Psalm 139. You haven't said anything about it that requires my particular response. What I will say though is that nothing in it says that God knows what the person is in his Platonic core. In fact the passage is replete with the writer asking God to search him, which would be quite unnecessary if God already knew him.
He said/she said? Wouldn't it seem you are throwing me the dice then, that we'd have to make the determination from more pedantic passages?
Not that I agree, I think this Psalm carries counter-intuitive wording for your conclusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I agree with the idea that these promises are conditional. I do not agree that the reason for this is because Hebrews says so. The reason is because of the covenant context of the Israelites, the land and God, which is set out in no uncertain terms throughout the pentateuch.
Unfortunately, though I partly agree with you, there are many open theists that do not at all (the same with below, I won't redress it, it is the same as here). Now I agree the surrounding passages make this clear enough, but I also believe the Hebrew passages nails this particular closed, because it does exactly what I said it does. Pedantic passages steer our theology rightly through story.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I don't know if you are erecting a straw man here because I don't know who you think said that God was completely surprised to find bad grapes in his vineyard. What I would say though is that the following translation (NIV) looks ok to me:

I would add that although the passage does not say that God expected to find good grapes, no one in his right mind would suggest that a farmer would plant a vineyard and do everything possible to produce a good harvest just for the exercise. God is asking a rhetorical question to the people of Jerusalem and Judah by way of an analogy. The point is "Does God have a right to be upset?" Septuagint has "emeina tou poiesai..." I waited for it to produce..." in verse 2. I don't see how anyone would quarrel with that.

Time for bed.





Omniscient without man's say or qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
No possible limitation other than in man's wishful finite inanity Isaiah
40:25 Joshua 24:15
Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

Is Calvinism okay? Yep

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. *************************************

Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
   
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April 10th, 2012, 08:18 PM

I am using this post to complete the comments on the 20 passages discussed by Lon. I will then make one more post summarising my responses and discussing some of Lon's recent posts and then I will let Lon have the floor to finish up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lon View Post
11&12)
Col 1:15 who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation.
Interpretation: Jesus is a 1) created being 2) born first and is merely made in God's "image"
Gen. 41:51, 52 w/Jeremiah 31:9b
Normative interpretation: Ephraim was called 'first-born' In order to be so according to the idea above, he'd have to have been born first (he was born, actually second).
Php 2:5 For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Php 2:6 who, being in the form of God...
Normative interpretaton: Jesus is an exact image because He is the morph[e] (same exact taking on
another form) as God.
The term prwtotokos is used in ancient Greek in often a rather vague fashion; it ought in the first instance to be understood as such. The narrow 'born first' is unduly restrictive and partisan. Unless the immediate context demands a clear 'first born' then some other vaguer term should be used in translation such as worthy or perfect or heir. In the context 'prwtotokos of all creation' the concept of a prototype might come in handy. And just three verses later there is the phrase 'first born of the dead' which clearly cannot have the same meaning. Prwtotokos is also used by Polycarp in the letter to the Philippians (c.ad 110-140) in the phrase 'first born of Satan'.

In other words Jesus is the prototypical creation; he is what creation is all about. I think that is close to the original context. Another idea is 'epitome'.

In the context eikwn (image - i.e. something seen) is clearly juxtaposed with aoratou (invisible) and any translation that tries to suggest that it merely refers to a being created in God's image is not doing justice to the Greek text.

In both these cases, no other scriptures are necessary to establish this, only a knowledge of the language used.

Quote:
13)
Genesis 1:1 In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth
Interpretation: Only the Father God was involved in creation.
Col 1:16 For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the
earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all
things were created through Him and for Him.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And
the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
Normative interpretation: All of God was involved.
I don't really understand this distinction. Unless you are aiming at Arians again. There is nothing in Genesis 1:1 that requires the interpretation 'Father only'. Such a thing would presuppose a trinity anyway or at least a trinitarian debate, and of course such a theology should not be read into this passage. Once you have gotten to the final verse in Revelation then perhaps there might be some justification in asserting a trinitarian theology, however Genesis 1:1 is slightly premature.

Again, no other texts are necessary to establish this.


Quote:
14,15)
Isaiah 43:24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,
Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
But you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
Interpretation: God can 1) grow tired of us and lose patience and
2)desires sacrificed fat.

Isaiah 1:11 "The multitude of your sacrifices--what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more
than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the
blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
Psalm 136:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.
Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of
the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Normative interpretation: God does not eat. 1)He doesn't need sacrifices, we do.
2) He does not grow tired it is a figure of speech, not literal.
The Isaiah passages at least do have a common context and possibly the other passages as well, namely the first temple kingdom. This is therefore a complex set of passages to interpret. On the one hand they occur in different places in Isaiah and so have at least superficially separate contexts, yet they could be viewed together.

However, your own analysis does not make sense. In 'Interpretation' you say:

Quote:
2)desires sacrificed fat.
but in 'normative' you say
Quote:
1)He doesn't need sacrifices,
So you are not comparing like with like. There is no contradiction with God desiring sacrifices and God not needing them.

As to 'God does not grow tired', you are clearly special pleading if you say that it is a figure of speech in one verse and not a figure of speech in another verse. The same Hebrew verb is used in both Isaiah 40:28 and 43:24. The only explanation for this is that you don't like what Isaiah 43:24 says.

And the resolution is only what I have said before, just a normal application of context: in ch. 43 it is the people's unrighteousness that is wearisome to God. In ch. 40 the context is God's constancy towards those (of his people) who suffer for him. Surely you would not want to say that God does not get weary of their sins would you? The fact that he gets weary of them is exactly why he judges them.


Quote:
************************************************** *******
16)
1Sa 15:35 And Samuel never again saw Saul until the day of his death, for Samuel mourned for Saul.
And Jehovah repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.
Interpretation: God changes His mind.
1 Samuel 15:29 the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He
should change His mind.”
Normative Interpretation: "relent" here cannot mean changes His mind, because we are told just 7 verses earlier, God doesn't and nowhere do we find the words "God changed His mind."
Answered previously.

Quote:
17)
Psa 2:1 Why do the nations rebel?
Why are the countries devising plots that will fail?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth form a united front;
the rulers collaborate
against the LORD and his anointed king.
Interpretation: this applies only to King David
Act 4:25 who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather,
'Why do the nations rage,
and the peoples plot foolish things?
Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood together,
and the rulers assembled together,
against the Lord and against his Christ.
Normative Interpretation: Though this prophecy had fulfillment immediately, it was yet messianic and was fullfilled in Christ.
Act 4:28 in order to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel determined before to be done.
God knew what kings and religious leaders would do to Christ before it came to pass.
The only reference in Acts 4 to David is to his authorship of the psalm, not to the times of King David himself. The psalm is of general application. Compare for example with the very next psalm which begins "A psalm of David, when he fled from Abimelech". No such heading is present in psalm 2. The overall tone of psalm 2 is clearly intended to make a general point, possibly for reading at the enthronement of kings. 'God's anointed' simply means any king (of Israel) whom God chooses.

One thing you may be missing is that psalm 2:1-2, etc, is in the present tense, i.e it is making a general point, as stated above. However, in Acts 4: it is cited from the LXX which gives these verses in the aorist so your translation "Why do the nations rage" is incorrect. The obvious solution from the original context is that psalm 2 is not prophecy but is establishing a general principle (type) that when God is at work, leaders of the nations will get upset and want to take action against him. The believers simply saw that what was happening was a fulfillment of this type.


Quote:
18)
Gen 18:21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of
it, which has come to Me. And if not, I will know.
Interpretation: God does not know current happenings on the earth and is not everywhere.
Psa 33:13 The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people.
Pro 15:11 Hell and destruction are before Jehovah; even more the hearts of the sons of men.
Col 1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
Normative Interpretation: God sees everywhere at once. Because all things are sustained by Him,
nothing can happen without His notice.
Both these views are wrong - and indeed simplistic. It is clear that God interacted with people via angels, such as in the case of Mary. He uses wind and fire as his messengers (Heb 1) or thunders from Mount Zaphon. In the Old Testament and in Genesis especially, there is hardly any difference between an angel and God himself. If the omnipresence view were taken to its ultimate conclusion, God would have no need of angels at all.

Knowledge itself is also a complex concept. You can know things according to a report of them but you can also experience them for yourself. And reports can differ and be subjective and experiences can change. It may be true that God sees everywhere at once but it is also true that he desires to experience these things as well and he acquires his knowledge by experience, not merely in an aloof manner. And anyone who believes in the incarnation cannot deny this without contradicting themselves very badly. The fact that God was able to go down to Sodom and see for himself what was happening proves, not that God did not know what was happening, but rather the exact opposite that he had the ability to know everything and that nothing in the realms of man was outside his jurisdiction.

Quote:
19)
Gen 2:19 The LORD God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird
of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called
each living creature, that was its name.
Interpretation: God didn't know what Adam would name the animals.
John 21 God knows all things.
Normative interpretation:"God watched what Adam called the animals" is a good tranlation.
Frankly, that's rubbish. "God watched what Adam called the animals" is an awful translation. It's completely incorrect and obviously biased. The fact that you should attempt to pass it off as a good translation is evidence that you are embarassed by what the text plainly states. Nothing in John 21 contradicts this. Before Adam had named all the animals, there was nothing for God to know. Once again, the text is showing that God wants to experience the world and indeed does experience it and is involved in it. Your Platonic presuppositions only make him more aloof than the scripture clearly suggests.

Quote:
20)
Quote:
Jer 49:22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and
at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
Interpretation: God flies.
Psa 33:13 The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people.
Normative interpretation: This is a symbolic passage simply trying to convey that God is ever
present and close to His people.
I don't know of anyone who has interpreted this passage as meaning that God flies. Psalm 33 is not required in order to understand that this is poetic language.





Total Misanthropy.
Uncertain salvation.
Luck of the draw.
Irresistible damnation.
Persecution of the saints.

Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
(The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Bright Raven:
"It makes no difference what is said."
Nimrod: We don't have the manuscripts of where the KJV got the text.
AcultureWarrior: It really doesn't matter what I think,
Jason: I don't care what kind of fact I got wrong.
B57: the Lord does not Love everyone, nor is it His purpose to save everyone

Last edited by Desert Reign; April 11th, 2012 at 03:16 AM..
   
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April 11th, 2012, 04:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I am using this post to complete the comments on the 20 passages discussed by Lon. I will then make one more post summarising my responses and discussing some of Lon's recent posts and then I will let Lon have the floor to finish up.
Here is my response to expediate that. As we are wrapping up, thanks for your time and efforts here. My closing post after this will be a reiteration of the initial post I gave and summary of the thread as well as addressing any concerns from your next post.
Thanks for your time in discussing important matters.

Hello TOL and DR,
As promised, I worked at ensuring this one is as short as possible (I think I do okay here by consolidating 3 posts into one). I'm pleased there is some agreement but important points of departure are pointed out:
Spoiler

This was discussed in my preceeding post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I disagree with your use of the word 'normative' because it assumes that your interpretation is the correct one. Normative means that it carries a prescription such as 'this should be done' and there is nothing prescriptive about an interpretation of the Bible. Your method of interpretation could be said to be prescriptive in that it dictates how the Bible should be interpreted, just as mine is, but the interpretations themselves are not.

I answered this one in an earlier post.


As I previously stated, there is nothing in Genesis 3 which requires that the serpent be deemed to be Satan. The passage works as a whole, without ambiguity (at least as far as the snake goes) and therefore that is the meaning of that passage. There is of course an ancient tradition that the serpent was read as Satan, however all that says is that people happily read it as that. If the passages in Revelation/John refer to this (which is not certain anyway), then it is referring to the tradition of interpretation, not to the text itself. Let me put that another way in case I wasn't clear: the text itself, being allegory, is open to various interpretations. So long as those interpretations are consistent with one another, then they can be said to be valid. (Such as 'The Embodiment of Pure Deception' or 'Beelzebub'.) Many people in the tradition of interpretation interpreted the snake as Satan. That was a valid interpretation. There doesn't have to be one single correct interpretation of an allegory. It would even be a little pointless if the writer gave an explicit explanation in the text - a bit like when you explain the point of a joke to someone who is culturally deprived, the joke is no longer funny. The fact that a snake was chosen for the allegory is hardly an accident, given that snakes typically lie coolly in wait for their prey and then pounce suddenly.


I'm not really sure where you get 'Lo yadda' from. The scripture is (reading left to right)

'Ki atah yadati ki-ireh elohim atah...'

But your answer lies in not reading the Hebrews passage correctly. You have ignored "when he was tested" ( πειραζομενος which is a present participle and could perhaps be rendered better with 'when he was being tested').

There isn't some Platonic thing called 'Abraham' that God could pinpoint and say 'this is Abraham'. That is a presupposition. God knows Abraham - as we all know anyone at all - by experiencing him. There simply isn't any point in us existing if our existence is already encapsulated in some fixed ideal. We are not the outworking of an ideal, we are real people. We matter. The scripture doesn't imply that God didn't know what Abraham was before he tested him as if God was somehow lacking something. All that was happening was that God was experiencing Abraham as he was. And that was the point when God had experienced him sufficiently to declare that he was righteous. Your reading of Hebrews has obviously been contaminated by your Platonic presuppositions but I can pretty much assure you that the book of Genesis was not and any correct intrepretation of it should not be either.

The other thing you are doing here is ignoring the genre of the passage. This is obviously written as a sermon to Jews with lots of references to the Old Testament scriptures. And like many sermons which comment on scripture, it is not intended to be the authoritative interpretation of that passage as if it were an extension of the Old Testament itself. The scripture was simply being used (in much the way that I guess Paul meant when he said all scripture was useful for teaching, etc.) And in the this sense, what the author of Hebrews is saying is something new, in its own right, not an authoritative interpretation of the original text. Your original hermeneutic stated that story/narrative was when something was assumed from a story (as contrasted with pedantic, meaning what God said about himself). However, it would perhaps be more basic to first insist that you read what is there in the story before worrying about making inferences from that story.

I don't think I need comment in detail on Psalm 139. You haven't said anything about it that requires my particular response. What I will say though is that nothing in it says that God knows what the person is in his Platonic core. In fact the passage is replete with the writer asking God to search him, which would be quite unnecessary if God already knew him.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I agree with the idea that these promises are conditional. I do not agree that the reason for this is because Hebrews says so. The reason is because of the covenant context of the Israelites, the land and God, which is set out in no uncertain terms throughout the pentateuch.
Er, you have to agree that Hebrews says so. I'd admonish you here to cling to the whole counsel of God. If God says anything about any of His other words, it is not only wise, it is imperative to listen.
Why? This should be self-intuitive: If God decides He wants to tell you something further about a previous passage, then you need to know someting else or more about that previous passage or God wouldn't have needed to comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I don't know if you are erecting a straw man here because I don't know who you think said that God was completely surprised to find bad grapes in his vineyard. What I would say though is that the following translation (NIV) looks ok to me:

I would add that although the passage does not say that God expected to find good grapes, no one in his right mind would suggest that a farmer would plant a vineyard and do everything possible to produce a good harvest just for the exercise. God is asking a rhetorical question to the people of Jerusalem and Judah by way of an analogy. The point is "Does God have a right to be upset?" Septuagint has "emeina tou poiesai..." I waited for it to produce..." in verse 2. I don't see how anyone would quarrel with that.
Don't forget some of these were examples of poor hermenuetics I've come across on TOL in different discussions and I didn't want to only use open theist's
1) so that we might examine things we might hold in common as well as those where we differ to compare
2) so that it might give objectability for when we compare to stronger disagreed upon passages.

However, even if you don't hold to this particular, it is indeed an Open Theist stance upon this scripture, and not a strawman. I agree to everything but the planting of bad grapes. God indeed could have replanted the whole earth and scrapped the lot of us. Even though this is analogy, the idea conveys. In fact, because the need for Christ's work was known from the foundation of the word, God had to both know and plant poor seed. You must know this from God's whole Word to be able to gleen this from the text though. These two different scriptures must mesh together, not contradict one another.

I absolutely agree with you on every other point and it is consistent hermenuetics applied between us that allows it.

Much of this one too was previously addressed so I will truncate to what hasn't yet been redressed:
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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Your Hebrew translation is a bit loose; it seems to add frills that are not in the original. The Septuagint is a lot closer to the Hebrew and I shall quote it in English for you:

You say 'this word means...' but you do not say which word you are talking about, leaving me to guess that it is the word 'al-levi', meaning 'in my heart'. I have never seen it translated 'center of my being'. However, I would agree that it does often mean mind.
Nope, not loose. I indirectly quoted Thayer's, I believe but this isn't as huge a deal as you seem to be in more agreement here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I do not see anything whatsoever that is ambiguous about this passage and Hebrews 4:13 adds nothing to it. I also have no idea why anyone would want to suggest that God 'was clueless' and I can only assume that you are raising a straw man or at least exaggerating where nothing of the sort existed before. The object of this discussion was for you to show passages where one passage shed light on another one and changed its meaning or gave it meaning where no meaning existed before or resolved an inherent ambiguity. And to show why one should take precedence over another when an apparent contradiction was at issue.
"Never entered My mind" has been used by several other open theists to suggest God was clueless they'd do such a thing. I'm glad you correct them here. "Somehow" (sorry, I use quotes for 'emphasis' at times, I know that threw you earlier and I should have said something quickly in passing), whether you understand the Hebrews passage or another, you rightly correct those against the assumption that God was clueless here. Most of these examples were taken from Open Theism 2 and Open Theism 3. I'm not making up strawmen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
This is too vague for me to give any informative answer. 'any idea other than what is given clearly in scripture' is obviously assuming the conclusion and you need to provide some concrete positive example. There is no point in me discussing the context of a hypothetical passage that has been misinterpreted.
That is fine. Honestly, I didn't know why you wanted the specific number. If we agree, it only reinforces that there are common hermenuetical rules and that we both hold some or many of them in common. That is good but where we agree. The more you agree with me the better because, in some ways, it would mean you understand these rules more than some of your fellow open theists. Some professors I've had advocate a tabula rosa approach to scripture study. While I value this to a degree, I rather believe, as an educator, God works with both what we know and what we next need to know. I don't buy-in to the 'blank page' approach of professors I've had. It is a nice theory persay, but I believe it is an incomplete approach to scripture study. It works for 1) first-time students reading a particular bible passage, and for 2) those who have been taught and so have not formed their particular ideas from the specific passage but rather from a theological perspective.
The latter will have a harder go at it and must be guided in his new study endeavor, by God or one He is using to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
The Sadducees' question was a new question and it shed zero light on the meaning of Deut 25:5, which has no bearing on the resurrection at all. You have not shown that Deut 25:5 needs Matt 22:30 in order for us to understand it properly. What you have shown - which was already patently obvious anyway - is that the Sadducees' question needs Matt 22:30 in order to properly answer it. In fact, Jesus' own answer also sheds no light whatsoever on Deut 25:5 but deftly side-steps the issue.
No, I disagree. You are building your theology in a vacuum again. "No marriage in Heaven" ends both the afterlife and marriage questions. You find neither of these answers in Deuteronomy 25. Again, I believe it wrong to completely cut out all other scriptures from a single passage study. Rather, I believe those scriptures come to the study as preconceptions God already put there. I don't agree with any professor that thinks we should 'forget the rest of the bible' when coming to a passage. It is both/and, not a prohibition of one or the other. It is rather knowing the other's place and where it comes into our study.

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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I agree with you, but your assertion and my agreement don't contribute anything to a discussion on hermeneutics because you are not offering any specific scripture to interpret in this regard: the reason they are incorrect is because they have not studied the Old Testament properly, not because the New Testament says something that contradicts them. Whatever statement they would make 'based off of their O.T. study alone' as you say, should be judged by their own words, not by the New Testament. You could make this argument about anything at all. You could say that anything that anybody says that contradicts the New Testament must be wrong. But that is no help to us.
Again, I've had to use these scriptures to show that the Jews didn't all just believe the dead went to the worms and it was all over. I've had to discuss this with those who believe in annihilation here on TOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Hebrews is only quoting from the OT, not commenting on it or adding to it or clarifying it. Your claim that Hebrews leaves no doubt (as if somehow Psalm 45 left some doubt) is therefore quite misapplied. If you think Hebrews is insisting that 'ho theos' means 'God' then it is really Psalm 45 itself that is doing that. The text Hebrews quotes from is almost word for word the text of the Septuagint and is clearly intended to be a quotation. So your hermeneutic is backfiring on you because your idea that Hebrews takes precedence is identical with the idea that Psalm 45 itself takes precedence.
Agreed, but it is in the cross-reference where things are established between two or three witnesses so to speak. I do agree with you but again was trying to bring up 'actual' scripture discussions and debates here on TOL. Remember I've put a few on here I knew we'd approach similarly because it is the 'difference' on these in conjunction with others, that flesh out our true differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
But it is backfiring on you in a more significant way because Jesus himself says that 'god' does not always mean 'God'. And you are surely not going to argue that Hebrews trumps what Jesus says. I don't see how you are going to escape from this if your aim is to protect Jesus' divinity from the Arians (which I guess is at the back of your mind here). The only way you are going to do it consistently is to adopt my hermeneutic - an open hermeneutic - by taking Psalm 45 in its proper context, Hebrews in its proper context and Jesus' statement that some uses of 'god' do not mean 'God' in its proper context. Your idea that one of them somehow trumps the other is simply bound to produce nasties.
Er, no, because the Hebrews passage quotes the Psalm passage. They are tied together, as I told you, because God is commenting on God here.
Yes each has its own immediate context. No, you cannot divorce what God has tied together and so 'your' (whether it is open view or not) theology actually fails. The arians do not understand this either but there is no way to get around the fact that what God says is relevant to another passage is...er...relevant to another passage.
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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
In both these cases, no other scriptures are necessary to establish this, only a knowledge of the language used.
I believe you have to understand that first-born is an inheritance term, and that knowledge does not come from this passage.
Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post

The Isaiah passages at least do have a common context and possibly the other passages as well, namely the first temple kingdom. This is therefore a complex set of passages to interpret. On the one hand they occur in different places in Isaiah and so have at least superficially separate contexts, yet they could be viewed together.

However, your own analysis does not make sense. In 'Interpretation' you say:


but in 'normative' you say


So you are not comparing like with like. There is no contradiction with God desiring sacrifices and God not needing them.

As to 'God does not grow tired', you are clearly special pleading if you say that it is a figure of speech in one verse and not a figure of speech in another verse. The same Hebrew verb is used in both Isaiah 40:28 and 43:24. The only explanation for this is that you don't like what Isaiah 43:24 says.And the resolution is only what I have said before, just a normal application of context: in ch. 43 it is the people's unrighteousness that is wearisome to God. In ch. 40 the context is God's constancy towards those (of his people) who suffer for him. Surely you would not want to say that God does not get weary of their sins would you? The fact that he gets weary of them is exactly why he judges them.
[/quote]
No, it is the overall understanding of where sacrifices were pointing. God was not, in fact, interested in sacrifices, they were a means to an end. That end was Christ's sacrificial work and man made right with God.
You are over-isolating passages, especially where other scriptures are given to explain those passages further. I'd like to call this the "Paying attention and remembering your Bible" hermenuetic.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Answered previously.
The only reference in Acts 4 to David is to his authorship of the psalm, not to the times of King David himself. The psalm is of general application. Compare for example with the very next psalm which begins "A psalm of David, when he fled from Abimelech". No such heading is present in psalm 2. The overall tone of psalm 2 is clearly intended to make a general point, possibly for reading at the enthronement of kings. 'God's anointed' simply means any king (of Israel) whom God chooses.

One thing you may be missing is that psalm 2:1-2, etc, is in the present tense, i.e it is making a general point, as stated above. However, in Acts 4: it is cited from the LXX which gives these verses in the aorist so your translation "Why do the nations rage" is incorrect. The obvious solution from the original context is that psalm 2 is not prophecy but is establishing a general principle (type) that when God is at work, leaders of the nations will get upset and want to take action against him. The believers simply saw that what was happening was a fulfillment of this type.
This is similar to a previous discussion.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Both these views are wrong - and indeed simplistic. It is clear that God interacted with people via angels, such as in the case of Mary. He uses wind and fire as his messengers (Heb 1) or thunders from Mount Zaphon. In the Old Testament and in Genesis especially, there is hardly any difference between an angel and God himself. If the omnipresence view were taken to its ultimate conclusion, God would have no need of angels at all.

Knowledge itself is also a complex concept. You can know things according to a report of them but you can also experience them for yourself. And reports can differ and be subjective and experiences can change. It may be true that God sees everywhere at once but it is also true that he desires to experience these things as well and he acquires his knowledge by experience, not merely in an aloof manner. And anyone who believes in the incarnation cannot deny this without contradicting themselves very badly.
You are judging this by your knowledge acquirement skills. The hairs on my head do not proceed from you (Colossians 1:17) so of course you have to count. God doesn't.



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Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Frankly, that's rubbish. "God watched what Adam called the animals" is an awful translation. It's completely incorrect and obviously biased. The fact that you should attempt to pass it off as a good translation is evidence that you are embarassed by what the text plainly states. Nothing in John 21 contradicts this. Before Adam had named all the animals, there was nothing for God to know. Once again, the text is showing that God wants to experience the world and indeed does experience it and is involved in it. Your Platonic presuppositions only make him more aloof than the scripture clearly suggests.
Uhmmm, no, that is what it says. Futhermore, because you are not tying all of scripture together as if it is all from God, then I can see why God would 'have to find out' and wouldn't know what Adam would call the animals, why God would have to count each of the numbers on our heads over and over again throughout every moment of hair-loss of everyday, and would have to ask Adam where he was because he was hiding from God: You have no other scriptures in your head to tell you 'No!"
That is, the difference between our hermenuetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I don't know of anyone who has interpreted this passage as meaning that God flies. Psalm 33 is not required in order to understand that this is poetic language.
Me neither, but you believe God has to count and recount the #of hairs on our head or take it figuratively that God knows when He actually doesn't. That is the difference between our hermenuetics.

Looking forward to closing comments and wrap-up.

In Him

-Lon





Omniscient without man's say or qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
No possible limitation other than in man's wishful finite inanity Isaiah
40:25 Joshua 24:15
Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

Is Calvinism okay? Yep

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. *************************************

Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
   
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April 16th, 2012, 04:35 PM

This will be my final post in the thread. I've agreed to let Lon finish, more or less in keeping with the original terms of the debate.

I'd like to thank Lon for his efforts and for agreeing to hold the debate and I hope we both can learn something from it. I certainly feel that I have understood his hermeneutic a lot better. I'd also like to thank Knight for making the debate possible and for his co-operation.

Just a small note on formatting. I’ve tended in many cases to emphasise words or phrases using underlines rather than italics as is normal because in this forum when passages are quoted, they sometimes appear 100% in italics, which obliterates any original italic formatting.

I’ve also split this post into readable chunks and converted to third person to be less contextual for the sake of future readers.

Issues of Ancient Hebrew
I did ask that if any argument hinged on a nuance of the original language of a scripture text, then the original text be cited in the debate. I have kept to that although in some places I used transliterated text rather than the exact Hebrew or Greek text. In post 7 Lon claimed that the Hebrew words "Lo Yadda" occurred in Genesis 22:12 and although that was not central to an argument for me, I had to correct him in a subsequent post (13) because those Hebrew words simply did not occur in that verse. Even after the correction, he was still insisting on these words being there:

Quote:
My whole point with lo or yada or attah was that the words have ancillary meaning to the context and that context does not demand "now I know."
It is obvious that Lon did not have a sufficient grasp of Hebrew to be able to make any valid point based on the Hebrew text. When I made another criticism of his English paraphrasing of the Hebrew text (where he did not cite the original text), he admitted:

Quote:
Nope, not loose. I indirectly quoted Thayer's, I believe but this isn't as huge a deal as you seem to be in more agreement here.
Unfortunately, I was not able to ascertain for myself what this reference material was because Thayer (if he is the one Lon was referring to) was a New Testament scholar, not an OT one. This Thayer wrote a Greek lexicon which was unfortunately rendered significantly out of date less than 10 years after he wrote it in the early 1900s because of a major new papyrus discovery. Lon does of course qualify his statement with "I believe" per the above but even though this might make allowance for getting it wrong, it only amounts to an admission that he didn’t really know where he got the material from at all and adds to my underlying unease at his handling of the original texts of scripture.
Lon seemed willing to quote Hebrew that didn’t exist and loose translations that he didn’t seem to remember the origin of in support of his exegesis of some passages.
For information, my reference material has only ever been the Hebrew Old Testament itself (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia) and the Septuagint translation into ancient Greek (Zondervan 1982 based on Bagster 1851) and for the New Testament I have used a variety of English translations and I use mostly the Greek Byzantine Textform (R&P 2005) for the original Greek text. Stuttgartensia is basically the Masoretic text which is the orthodox Jewish text used for over two thousand years virtually unaltered throughout the copying process.

I am saying this for just one reason. Lon has contended that some passages of scripture cannot be understood without reference to certain other passages of scripture, the latter being passages outside the proper context of the former. However, if the meaning of a passage is unclear, surely the first place to research is more deeply in the passage itself and one should not turn as a matter of rule to passages that are significantly distant to seek clarification until one is completely at a loss having exhausted all avenues connected with the passage itself.
In some cases - and Genesis 22:12 is one of them - Lon seems far too ready to seek clarification elsewhere and has failed to appreciate the meaning of the text where the text itself was already complete.
This is only a natural position to take because one would expect any well written text to be comprehensible per se. For example, in Genesis 22:12, Lon’s claim in relation to these albeit non-existent words that

Quote:
the words have ancillary meaning to the context and that context does not demand "now I know."
is completely incorrect because it is not an issue of context at all. The Hebrew words plainly say “Now, I know”. No process of interpretation or appeal to context is being made here. These Hebrew words are the most common, everyday words, not even obscure words. Actually, the words Lon stated were there, ‘lo yadda’, mean ‘He did not know’ and I have no idea where Lon got this from. Another ‘actually’: the Hebrew text, which I quoted from Stuttgartensia actually says ‘Now, I have known’ not ‘Now, I know’. This is usually translated in the present with ‘now’ because it would be ambiguous in English to say 'Now I have known'. But it obviously means ‘I have come to know’. The LXX corroborates this, translating with the aorist tense egnwn indicating a one-off action.
I could possibly understand and sympathise with Lon’s proposed hermeneutic in the case where the meanings of certain Hebrew words was unknown to anyone and that one might be tempted to look elsewhere for assistance, but in this case, any vagueness in the original text must surely be attributed either to Lon’s inability to understand the Hebrew or (more likely) his personal dissatisfaction with or bias against what that Hebrew plainly states as is evidenced here:
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God knowing nothing, even after He supposedly says "Now I know."
Notice how Lon interjects the word ‘supposedly’ as if there were any doubt at all as to the text of the Hebrew. As I said, there is something to be said for occasionally seeking clarification of a text elsewhere, but it will surely land you in a pickle if you are in the habit of failing to analyse it correctly in the first place, as Lon seems to be.
Whilst on the subject of Abraham, I would point out the following.
Lon wrote
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Regardless, let me get back to the big picture. We know God isn't 'learning anything.' The test was for Abraham to learn something.
These lovely sounding words (“ The test was for Abraham to learn something.”) unfortunately are utterly false and came after I had pointed out, citing the original Greek, that Lon had omitted an important aspect of Hebrews 11:17-19 from his appreciation of it, namely the part which states that the context of the passage was “when he (Abraham) was being tested.” The only part that Lon analysed was “and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead”. After I even pointed this out, Lon seemed to still carry on oblivious, stating as per the above that the point of the episode was for Abraham to learn something. This was in direct contradiction of the Greek text, which clearly and explicitly states that Abraham was being tested, not being taught a lesson (let alone the passage from Genesis itself, which begins in verse 1 with “Some time later God tested Abraham.”) The climax when God said “Now I know…” is in complete harmony with the idea of Abraham being tested.
Lon’s hermeneutic rests on the priority of what he calls ‘pedantic’ passages, which he describes as passages where God says something about himself. Hebrews 11:17-19 is about faith, not about God, other than indirectly, so this passage does not meet Lon’s own criteria for passages that take priority over others. But even if that were not an issue, Lon surely has to justify whatever meaning he evinces from it on the basis of its own proper context. This he has singularly failed to do, cherry-picking out of context the one aspect that suited his argument.

Returning to issues of Hebrew, although I did not comment greatly on the matter earlier because of the time involved, I now take the opportunity to say something about Lon’s idea that the Hebrew word nicham means ‘to sigh’. Lon made a big point of this because he wanted to show the weakness of the idea that this word could be translated or interpreted as ‘God changed his mind:’
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And again, no. This is what you'd 'like' it to say or the 'idea' it springs to your mind. It is not in fact, what the passage says. In fact, the passage simply says "God sighed." Every idea after that, is a translated one, and not one translators'd appreciate you wrestling over, for they were all traditional theists and knew what they meant even if you don't.
It is perhaps predictable to the average reader after such bravado to now learn that nicham is hardly ever translated to sigh. Perhaps the nearest is when used of a horse, it can mean to breathe pantingly (Amos 7:3) but that is really an exception. The majority of uses of the word are in the ‘be sorry for’, ‘relent’ or ‘repent’ category. I suggest that the idea of it meaning to sigh was obtained by Lon from this entry in Strongs
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comfort self, ease one's self, repent,
A primitive root; properly, to sigh, i.e. Breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself) -- comfort (self), ease (one's self), repent(-er,-ing, self).
And this being so, it does seem rather an example of cherry picking citations because that is how primitive roots are to be understood. The principal meaning of nicham is to relent or be sorry, not to sigh. The primitive root simply shows how the actual meanings in use for the various verb forms are derived and in any case the primitive root is always in the basic verb form (nacham) whereas the verb in question is nicham. (The niphal verb form as opposed to the kal verb form.)
The NASB uses the term ‘change one’s mind’ no less than 11 times in translation of this verb so Lon’s idea that ‘not one translator’d appreciate…’ the idea of it implying that God changes his mind is surely nothing more than bravado and clearly lacking true knowledge of the text itself and the language in use. And I am not even saying that the passage in 1 Samuel 15 should be translated with ‘God changed his mind about Saul…’ for I am perfectly happy with ‘God relented’ or ‘repented’. However, what is more than clear is that the implication that God changed his mind cannot be denied purely by reference to the Hebrew text and that Lon’s attempts to deny this show, not that he has a sound method of exegesis, but rather that he has a vested interest that he wants to protect.

Arbitrary Nature of Lon’s Hermeneutic
Lon’s hermeneutic states that passages where God himself speaks take precedence over an interpretation of narrative passages. In Genesis 22, Lon asserts that he disagrees with some interpretations of the passage which have God not knowing what Abraham would do in the future when he went to sacrifice Isaac. He argues that the Genesis 22 passage is story and adduces Hebrews 11:17-19 as evidence that God did not mean “Now I know that you fear God”.
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We know God isn't 'learning anything.'
Surely any reasonable reader of this debate cannot fail to notice that it was the Genesis passage where God was speaking about himself whilst the Hebrews passage was actually the writer of the letter talking about faith. So by his own hermeneutic, Lon should accept what God says about himself in the passage, namely that he knew, at a certain point, that Abraham feared God. And surely a reasonable reader of the debate would also take this as evidence that Lon’s hermeneutic is not what it seems. It purports to be fair and consistent whereas in reality it is arbitrary and unpredictable.
Lon states that
Quote:
Hebrews 11 makes it clear God knew Abraham's thoughts and intentions else it could not be written hundred of years later what Abraham was reasoning in his heart and mind.
He is referring to Heb 11:19
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and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead
However, it is abundantly clear that Lon himself is making an assumption about this verse. He is surmising that God knew what was in Abraham’s heart and told the writer of Hebrews. And yet he is insistent that any interpretation of a passage is trumped by what God says about himself. Clearly, Lon makes rules for others but does not keep them himself. And of course he ignores the more likely explanation, namely that the writer of Hebrews simply worked out that because Abraham had faith and believed the promise he must have deduced that God would raise Isaac from the dead.
In scripture issue no. 1, Lon used a similar ploy. And although I did not have much of a beef with his view of the scripture interpretation itself, he nevertheless managed to break his own rules again by using a prayer (Psalm 139:7) in the form of a rhetorical question asked by a believer to refute the interpretation of a passage (Gen 3:9) in which God himself directly spoke.
Again, in issue no. 4, Lon used Hebrews 11:33-37 to trump the direct words of God delivered by Moses.
The same story applies to scripture issue no. 6 where Lon uses Hebrews 4:13, a teaching passage, to trump a passage where God speaks directly through the prophet Jeremiah.
The same story applies to scripture issue no. 18 where Lon uses one of Paul’s letters to trump the direct quoted words of God.
And finally, the same is true of issue no. 20 where the words of a psalm are pitted against the words of God spoken through Jeremiah.
I don’t necessarily have a beef with some of these results but the method is telling. These are 6 instances out of 20 where Lon uses the direct opposite of his hermeneutic to justify an interpretation.
Perhaps amusingly, in issue no. 5, Lon uses the words of God in one passage to trump the words of God in another passage. And in issue no. 8 the words of Jesus are used to trump the words of God delivered through Moses. Issues nos. 14 and 15 follow the same lines as no. 5.
There are still more examples where he uses scripture that does not consist of the words of God to trump another passage. These are issues nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 17 and 19. Time does not permit me to expand on all of them.
I would repeat, I didn’t necessarily disagree with some of the results, but in every case, I was able to justify my interpretation on the basis of local context only, without reference to some other text.
Conclusions that can be drawn from all of this are that Lon’s hermeneutic is nothing to do with consistent thought processes and there could be no hope of ever obtaining reliable interpretations from any text by his method. His method, far from having any semblance of scholarliness to it, amounts to nothing other than proof texting, thinly disguised.

What can be salvaged from this wreckage of a hermeneutical rule? Supposing we were to relax Lon’s rule about the trumping scripture being what God says about himself. Lon himself gives us a clue (in scripture issue no. 4) when he relaxes his own rules when they are not convenient:
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Normative Interpretation: It is clearly given that this promise is conditional because Hebrews tells us pedantically (plainly) they gained what was promised.
So the rule could now be: if a scripture tells us ‘plainly’ of something then that scripture trumps another scripture that is not ‘plain’. Of course this is light years away from the clarity of Lon’s original test:
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Pedantic is anytime God says something about Himself.
And I am sure that most would agree that this is too subjective and vague to be of any practical use and would rather lend credence to than refute the suspicion that proof texting was the name of the game.
Could we make it a little more specific by saying that only those passages where words are either spoken by God or are assumed to be inspired by him directly should be taken as the priority passages? Again, we will fall foul of the testimony of Paul that all scripture is inspired by God.
A third possibility might be for Lon to re-present his list of scripture passages, adhering more precisely to his own rules. But then alas, he might have to retract some of the things he has said about such matters as God changing his mind or not knowing some future event. I would rejoice over this outcome the most, but certainly not because I would want Lon to espouse open theism; rather because I would want him to appreciate scripture for what it is and stop imposing arbitrary meanings on it that are not there.

General discussion of hermeneutics.
What is really needed in terms of hermeneutics is a method which can be relied on to lead us consistently to the truth and that truth is never anything other than what the original author intended his expected readers or audience to understand.

By adducing scriptures that were written (usually) after the subject scripture was written, it becomes impossible to ever in fact derive the true interpretation of a given passage because the original author of a given passage could never have had knowledge of what would be written afterwards and which might, even centuries later, be deemed to qualify his own writings.
I know of one possible exception to this principle and one possible argument against.
The one exception is that some of the prophets did not understand the full significance of their writings. (1 Peter 1:10-12) However, this does not mean that the words they used were unclear. They enquired, we are told, into what the Spirit was indicating in their words in the same way that we would of any prophetic text. In the same way we do in our endless debates on the meaning of Revelations. What this does not mean is that their words could only be understood completely by the addition of some other text. If that were so, then none of the original intended readers could have properly understood the text, which would be absurd.

We can imagine for example Isaiah trying to understand whom the passage “He was wounded for our transgressions” was referring to. (And how often have we wondered who the 666 of Revelations is?) But the passage itself is entirely clear in terms of the words it uses and does not need any other text to clarify it. What it does have is Acts 8:32 to tell us that Isaiah 53 is referring to Jesus. This is not in any way changing or clarifying the meaning of Isaiah 53 because Isaiah 53 didn’t mean Jesus! It meant that someone, as yet unnamed, would fulfil that role. After all, Isaiah elsewhere predicts the coming of Cyrus by name but he does not predict the coming of Jesus by name. This kind of activity, happens frequently but should not be taken to mean that somehow the original passage was unclear in its meaning.

The possible argument against a contextual hermeneutic is that it was in any case God who was doing the writing. In other words we are allowed to use every passage of scripture as a means to interpret every other passage because the same person wrote all of it. There are two reasons why we should ignore this principle when exegeting a passage. One is that if the entire Bible is to be taken as a single context into which all passages fall, then it adds nothing to our understanding. It is of no practical value in exegesis. The purpose of this principle is not to determine how we understand a passage but the level of authority we accord in response to whatever it says once we have exegeted it by contextual methods.
The other reason why we should ignore it is that we believe that the Bible is both the words of God and the words of men simultaneously. To argue that every passage qualifies every other passage is to ignore this principle. In other words, the principle “Words of God, words of men” is to be properly understood as signifying:
Because it is the words of God, we base our actions and our faith on what it says and because it is the words of men we understand what it says in the same way we would understand what men generally say or write.
I’ve already shown that Lon’s hermeneutic in practice does not follow his theory at all, however, his theory itself contradicts the sound principle described above by suggesting that we should understand what men write not by what they themselves write but by what others write later on. (Actually anywhere else but in practice the problem is with text written afterwards.) This entails that whatever we might read, excepting solely the final chapter of Revelations, could potentially be reinterpreted to mean something different to what it plainly states because of some other passage later on. As stated above, this position is manifestly absurd.
In this section, I’d finally point out that it is always Lon who gets to choose which text he wants to use as the text having priority over some other given passage. His hermeneutic in theory only allows for passages in which God speaks about himself. But even if we were to accord him a little flexibility by letting him widen the scope, he doesn’t really give any hint as to a method by which one might choose which passage to use. For example, in attempting to refute the idea that God changed his mind about Saul (1 Sam 15) he chose Hebrews 3:8, a passage that clearly has no connection whatsoever to 1 Samuel, other than the rather meaningless ‘they are both in the Bible’. This arbitrariness is surely a hallmark of proof texting and reminds us only of the old slogan ‘a text without a context is a pretext’. One thing that Lon hasn’t argued is that all scripture is self-consistent or inerrant. He may perhaps assert that he believes this but the very idea that one scripture takes precedence over another is hardly something one would promote alongside a doctrine of scripture self-consistency.

Again, Lon may even argue or believe that it is only interpretations that he is concerned with, not texts. He says:
Quote:
Pedantic is anytime God says something about Himself. Story/narrative is anytime you assume a point from a story.
(my underline)
However, it is impossible to avoid the fact that all understanding is an interpretation. And the proper context of a passage is always assumed within the passage. The only issue is whether the interpretation is the one the author intended. There is nothing wrong with ‘assuming a point from a story’ just so long as the assumption is a true one. The onus would still be on Lon (or whoever asserts it) to show that his interpretation of the text he thinks is ‘pedantic’ is also the true reading. So it remains that Lon’s notion of some types of text (in practice the ones Lon personally prefers) trump other types of text is difficult to reconcile with the generally held view that all scripture is self-consistent. What Lon should be doing is not deciding which text should take priority when there is a conflict but doing more work on what the texts really mean. And this brings me very much to my next point.

Old Testament Context
I note that only scripture issues 9, 11 and 12 are issues about New Testament texts. Most of the issues where Lon has a problem accepting some purported interpretation of it is in the Old Testament. This may be because Lon didn’t have time to look for more or it may be that open theists have focused on the Old Testament and Lon’s selection of texts is in response to that. Lon himself says:
Quote:
This wasn't the purpose. It does not surprise me that Open Theism, primarily concerned with God's relationship with man, would be built off of narrative passages that primarily illustrate God as relational.
Of course per se, this is of no help to the hermeneutic and one might as well say that Calvinists ignore texts that emphasise relational qualities of God because their theology is primarily dualist-idealistic per the influence of Plato. And as for open theists using mainly Old Testament texts, the primary text I myself think of in supporting a relational view of God is the book of Romans.
However, it seems rather that it is the Old Testament as a whole that Lon is uncomfortable with. My guess is that like his Platonic predecessors all the way back to Origen and before, he finds difficulty in the contemplation of an entire culture that has had no influence from Plato at all. Lon’s response to my original suggestions about the influence at the start of our debate was this:
Quote:
Sure. Western thinkers are...er...westernized and hellenized to an extent but I don't uncritically buy into one directly influencing the other where theology is concerned (it'd take more rabbit-trail than assertion here, despite your suspicions).
The so-called rabbit-trail has been well documented and there is no need for me to prove it or reiterate it here. The overwhelming fact is that the Old Testament is a strange body of literature to someone who has only ever known the influence of Platonic idealism. And this is surely especially true of those who espouse Calvinism and who have inculcated themselves with the depravity of man, the time eternity worldview, immutability and the three omni’s. It is no wonder then that Lon would make a comment like this on an Old Testament text:
Quote:
these are very difficult passages to find clear (pedantic) doctrine. "God relented," is a poor place to see if God is immutable or not; or even to see which parts of His character are immutable because 1) the passage wasn't written for that express purpose and 2) because we do have clear passages where God teaches us about His immutable character in clarity.
He seems quite unable to break out of his Platonic mentality (lack of self-criticality or reflection) and realise that the very desire to find ‘clear (pedantic) doctrine’ is a desire driven by that mentality. The result is an obvious bias against the Old Testament. It was this absence of (or lack of emphasis on) what Lon calls ‘clear pedantic doctrine’ in the Old Testament that prompted the early church fathers to look for ‘higher’ meanings in what was for them an otherwise perfectly uninteresting text. I don’t suppose that Lon is engaging in the kind of futile allegorising that Origen was guilty of but it seems to me that his lack of proper understanding of the Old Testament context is the root of why Lon seems to find it difficult to get clear doctrine from it. An openness to the mentality of the first and second temple Israelites might counterbalance the influence of Platonism on his thought and banish the idea that the Old Testament cannot speak for itself but needs Platonic understandings to complete it. What we have here is the age old motif of wanting to kill or suppress that which you don’t understand.

I do not argue (and I daresay I speak for most open theists) that God is limited in knowledge, power or understanding but I do respect the Old Testament thought patterns whereby the modes by which God’s omniscience is expressed are quite different from those Lon would feel comfortable with. I have briefly touched on details of this earlier and there is no need to expand further in this concluding post, however I merely want to state that I have been greatly enhanced as a person by the contemplation of Old Testament culture and faith and have known a sense of great liberation upon the realisation that Platonic thought processes, which have otherwise so dominated western Christian theology, were a form of slavery. The cross itself, the very centre of our faith, ought to be a pointer of this: it is not by might and not by power and we would add, it is not by omniscience that we gain victory and the great amount of talk of omniscience and omnipotence amongst those of the reformed persuasion is a disavowal of the meaning of the cross itself.
I would like to say more but alas time is moving on and I hereby conclude my comments to this debate and put my trust in the reader to accept sound reason, to read the Bible for what it is and not be swayed by inventions of those who would destroy the value of scripture and shield us from the truth by their own private inventions.





Total Misanthropy.
Uncertain salvation.
Luck of the draw.
Irresistible damnation.
Persecution of the saints.

Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
(The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Bright Raven:
"It makes no difference what is said."
Nimrod: We don't have the manuscripts of where the KJV got the text.
AcultureWarrior: It really doesn't matter what I think,
Jason: I don't care what kind of fact I got wrong.
B57: the Lord does not Love everyone, nor is it His purpose to save everyone

Last edited by Desert Reign; April 16th, 2012 at 05:50 PM..
   
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April 16th, 2012, 10:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
This will be my final post in the thread. I've agreed to let Lon finish, more or less in keeping with the original terms of the debate.

I'd like to thank Lon for his efforts and for agreeing to hold the debate and I hope we both can learn something from it. I certainly feel that I have understood his hermeneutic a lot better. I'd also like to thank Knight for making the debate possible and for his co-operation.
Thanks as well. Here is my final post.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Just a small note on formatting. I’ve tended in many cases to emphasise words or phrases using underlines rather than italics as is normal because in this forum when passages are quoted, they sometimes appear 100% in italics, which obliterates any original italic formatting.

I’ve also split this post into readable chunks and converted to third person to be less contextual for the sake of future readers.

A long portion concerning Hebrew scholastics between us...
Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Issues of Ancient Hebrew
I did ask that if any argument hinged on a nuance of the original language of a scripture text, then the original text be cited in the debate. I have kept to that although in some places I used transliterated text rather than the exact Hebrew or Greek text. In post 7 Lon claimed that the Hebrew words "Lo Yadda" occurred in Genesis 22:12 and although that was not central to an argument for me, I had to correct him in a subsequent post (13) because those Hebrew words simply did not occur in that verse. Even after the correction, he was still insisting on these words being there:

It is obvious that Lon did not have a sufficient grasp of Hebrew to be able to make any valid point based on the Hebrew text. When I made another criticism of his English paraphrasing of the Hebrew text (where he did not cite the original text), he admitted:

Unfortunately, I was not able to ascertain for myself what this reference material was because Thayer (if he is the one Lon was referring to) was a New Testament scholar, not an OT one. This Thayer wrote a Greek lexicon which was unfortunately rendered significantly out of date less than 10 years after he wrote it in the early 1900s because of a major new papyrus discovery. Lon does of course qualify his statement with "I believe" per the above but even though this might make allowance for getting it wrong, it only amounts to an admission that he didn’t really know where he got the material from at all and adds to my underlying unease at his handling of the original texts of scripture.
Lon seemed willing to quote Hebrew that didn’t exist and loose translations that he didn’t seem to remember the origin of in support of his exegesis of some passages.
For information, my reference material has only ever been the Hebrew Old Testament itself (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia) and the Septuagint translation into ancient Greek (Zondervan 1982 based on Bagster 1851) and for the New Testament I have used a variety of English translations and I use mostly the Greek Byzantine Textform (R&P 2005) for the original Greek text. Stuttgartensia is basically the Masoretic text which is the orthodox Jewish text used for over two thousand years virtually unaltered throughout the copying process.

I'm not really concerned here. I don't remember where I pulled the indirect quote. I was quoting from something but it isn't that important. How about I just give you this one. I'm 'okay' at Hebrew. If you want to claim better than that, I've no problem. It doesn't distract me nor do I feel it has much to do with this 1 on 1.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I am saying this for just one reason. Lon has contended that some passages of scripture cannot be understood without reference to certain other passages of scripture, the latter being passages outside the proper context of the former. However, if the meaning of a passage is unclear, surely the first place to research is more deeply in the passage itself and one should not turn as a matter of rule to passages that are significantly distant to seek clarification until one is completely at a loss having exhausted all avenues connected with the passage itself.
In some cases - and Genesis 22:12 is one of them - Lon seems far too ready to seek clarification elsewhere and has failed to appreciate the meaning of the text where the text itself was already complete.
This is only a natural position to take because one would expect any well written text to be comprehensible per se. For example, in Genesis 22:12, Lon’s claim in relation to these albeit non-existent words that is completely incorrect because it is not an issue of context at all. The Hebrew words plainly say “Now, I know”. No process of interpretation or appeal to context is being made here. These Hebrew words are the most common, everyday words, not even obscure words. Actually, the words Lon stated were there, ‘lo yadda’, mean ‘He did not know’ and I have no idea where Lon got this from. Another ‘actually’: the Hebrew text, which I quoted from Stuttgartensia actually says ‘Now, I have known’ not ‘Now, I know’. This is usually translated in the present with ‘now’ because it would be ambiguous in English to say 'Now I have known'. But it obviously means ‘I have come to know’. The LXX corroborates this, translating with the aorist tense egnwn indicating a one-off action.
I could possibly understand and sympathise with Lon’s proposed hermeneutic in the case where the meanings of certain Hebrew words was unknown to anyone and that one might be tempted to look elsewhere for assistance, but in this case, any vagueness in the original text must surely be attributed either to Lon’s inability to understand the Hebrew or (more likely) his personal dissatisfaction with or bias against what that Hebrew plainly states as is evidenced here:
Notice how Lon interjects the word ‘supposedly’ as if there were any doubt at all as to the text of the Hebrew. As I said, there is something to be said for occasionally seeking clarification of a text elsewhere, but it will surely land you in a pickle if you are in the habit of failing to analyse it correctly in the first place, as Lon seems to be.
Whilst on the subject of Abraham, I would point out the following.
Lon wrote
These lovely sounding words (“ The test was for Abraham to learn something.”) unfortunately are utterly false and came after I had pointed out, citing the original Greek, that Lon had omitted an important aspect of Hebrews 11:17-19 from his appreciation of it, namely the part which states that the context of the passage was “when he (Abraham) was being tested.” The only part that Lon analysed was “and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead”. After I even pointed this out, Lon seemed to still carry on oblivious, stating as per the above that the point of the episode was for Abraham to learn something. This was in direct contradiction of the Greek text, which clearly and explicitly states that Abraham was being tested, not being taught a lesson (let alone the passage from Genesis itself, which begins in verse 1 with “Some time later God tested Abraham.”) The climax when God said “Now I know…” is in complete harmony with the idea of Abraham being tested.
Lon’s hermeneutic rests on the priority of what he calls ‘pedantic’ passages, which he describes as passages where God says something about himself. Hebrews 11:17-19 is about faith, not about God, other than indirectly, so this passage does not meet Lon’s own criteria for passages that take priority over others. But even if that were not an issue, Lon surely has to justify whatever meaning he evinces from it on the basis of its own proper context. This he has singularly failed to do, cherry-picking out of context the one aspect that suited his argument.

This is a revamp of a debate I had with Muz over this particular passage which can be found here. I'll simply link to it and let the reader decide who is who and what is what. Regardless of the fact that I believe I'm wholly right, I've repeatedly said that if we are not able to grab the meaning clearly, then we must be careful on what truth we take from the text.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Returning to issues of Hebrew, although I did not comment greatly on the matter earlier because of the time involved, I now take the opportunity to say something about Lon’s idea that the Hebrew word nicham means ‘to sigh’. Lon made a big point of this because he wanted to show the weakness of the idea that this word could be translated or interpreted as ‘God changed his mind:’
It is perhaps predictable to the average reader after such bravado to now learn that nicham is hardly ever translated to sigh. Perhaps the nearest is when used of a horse, it can mean to breathe pantingly (Amos 7:3) but that is really an exception. The majority of uses of the word are in the ‘be sorry for’, ‘relent’ or ‘repent’ category. I suggest that the idea of it meaning to sigh was obtained by Lon from this entry in Strongs
And this being so, it does seem rather an example of cherry picking citations because that is how primitive roots are to be understood.
Yep, exactly. That's precisely why it is not cherry picking. Rather, context would allow translation of nacham (interesting that you choose nicham). Context would ask the question "why is God sighing here." That's why the word has broader contexts of meaning given in concordances, but it means literally "to sigh."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
The principal meaning of nicham is to relent or be sorry, not to sigh. The primitive root simply shows how the actual meanings in use for the various verb forms are derived and in any case the primitive root is always in the basic verb form (nacham) whereas the verb in question is nicham. (The niphal verb form as opposed to the kal verb form.)
The NASB uses the term ‘change one’s mind’ no less than 11 times in translation of this verb so Lon’s idea that ‘not one translator’d appreciate…’ the idea of it implying that God changes his mind is surely nothing more than bravado and clearly lacking true knowledge of the text itself and the language in use. And I am not even saying that the passage in 1 Samuel 15 should be translated with ‘God changed his mind about Saul…’ for I am perfectly happy with ‘God relented’ or ‘repented’. However, what is more than clear is that the implication that God changed his mind cannot be denied purely by reference to the Hebrew text and that Lon’s attempts to deny this show, not that he has a sound method of exegesis, but rather that he has a vested interest that he wants to protect.
Nope. It is 'translated' generally as relent or to be sorry. The Hebrew word means to sigh. We could probably enter another 1-on-1 discussing proper Hebrew translation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Arbitrary Nature of Lon’s Hermeneutic
Lon’s hermeneutic states that passages where God himself speaks take precedence over an interpretation of narrative passages. In Genesis 22, Lon asserts that he disagrees with some interpretations of the passage which have God not knowing what Abraham would do in the future when he went to sacrifice Isaac. He argues that the Genesis 22 passage is story and adduces Hebrews 11:17-19 as evidence that God did not mean “Now I know that you fear God”.
That would be arbitrary, but that isn't what I said.
I will restate the hermenuetic: When we read an idea from story, that idea must agree with clearer passages. It applies more broadly than story, but our discussion is specifically about what we read and understand for story and how to make sure we are getting the right idea. I started this thread saying that we know there are stories where ideas are vague such as with some of Edgar Allen Poe's writings. And that some stories are much clearer. The Bible is no different. We have some stories that are quite clear and some stories that are not (like the parables).
Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Surely any reasonable reader of this debate cannot fail to notice that it was the Genesis passage where God was speaking about himself whilst the Hebrews passage was actually the writer of the letter talking about faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
So by his own hermeneutic, Lon should accept what God says about himself in the passage, namely that he knew, at a certain point, that Abraham feared God.
As I said, if we apply your hermenuetic, then God never knew Abraham's resolve because God stopped the action from ever happening. The book of Hebrews tells us that God knew Abraham's heart because we are told that Abraham expected God to raise Isaac from the dead. Question: How did God know that? Your hermenuetic does not allow God to know the hearts and minds of His people without an investigation. Readers will make up their minds about our 2 approaches.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
And surely a reasonable reader of the debate would also take this as evidence that Lon’s hermeneutic is not what it seems. It purports to be fair and consistent whereas in reality it is arbitrary and unpredictable.
Lon states that
He is referring to Heb 11:19
However, it is abundantly clear that Lon himself is making an assumption about this verse. He is surmising that God knew what was in Abraham’s heart and told the writer of Hebrews. And yet he is insistent that any interpretation of a passage is trumped by what God says about himself. Clearly, Lon makes rules for others but does not keep them himself. And of course he ignores the more likely explanation, namely that the writer of Hebrews simply worked out that because Abraham had faith and believed the promise he must have deduced that God would raise Isaac from the dead.
In scripture issue no. 1, Lon used a similar ploy. And although I did not have much of a beef with his view of the scripture interpretation itself, he nevertheless managed to break his own rules again by using a prayer (Psalm 139:7) in the form of a rhetorical question asked by a believer to refute the interpretation of a passage (Gen 3:9) in which God himself directly spoke.
Again, in issue no. 4, Lon used Hebrews 11:33-37 to trump the direct words of God delivered by Moses.
The same story applies to scripture issue no. 6 where Lon uses Hebrews 4:13, a teaching passage, to trump a passage where God speaks directly through the prophet Jeremiah.
The same story applies to scripture issue no. 18 where Lon uses one of Paul’s letters to trump the direct quoted words of God.
And finally, the same is true of issue no. 20 where the words of a psalm are pitted against the words of God spoken through Jeremiah.
I don’t necessarily have a beef with some of these results but the method is telling. These are 6 instances out of 20 where Lon uses the direct opposite of his hermeneutic to justify an interpretation.
Perhaps amusingly, in issue no. 5, Lon uses the words of God in one passage to trump the words of God in another passage. And in issue no. 8 the words of Jesus are used to trump the words of God delivered through Moses. Issues nos. 14 and 15 follow the same lines as no. 5.
There are still more examples where he uses scripture that does not consist of the words of God to trump another passage. These are issues nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 17 and 19. Time does not permit me to expand on all of them.
I would repeat, I didn’t necessarily disagree with some of the results, but in every case, I was able to justify my interpretation on the basis of local context only, without reference to some other text.
Conclusions that can be drawn from all of this are that Lon’s hermeneutic is nothing to do with consistent thought processes and there could be no hope of ever obtaining reliable interpretations from any text by his method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
His method, far from having any semblance of scholarliness to it, amounts to nothing other than proof texting, thinly disguised.
Honestly? I see a bit of character assassination attempt behind this and the Hebrew comments. I don't really want to address it other than to give a reason for marking them inside spoilers.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
What can be salvaged from this wreckage of a hermeneutical rule? Supposing we were to relax Lon’s rule about the trumping scripture being what God says about himself. Lon himself gives us a clue (in scripture issue no. 4) when he relaxes his own rules when they are not convenient:
So the rule could now be: if a scripture tells us ‘plainly’ of something then that scripture trumps another scripture that is not ‘plain’. Of course this is light years away from the clarity of Lon’s original test:
And I am sure that most would agree that this is too subjective and vague to be of any practical use and would rather lend credence to than refute the suspicion that proof texting was the name of the game.
Could we make it a little more specific by saying that only those passages where words are either spoken by God or are assumed to be inspired by him directly should be taken as the priority passages? Again, we will fall foul of the testimony of Paul that all scripture is inspired by God.
A third possibility might be for Lon to re-present his list of scripture passages, adhering more precisely to his own rules. But then alas, he might have to retract some of the things he has said about such matters as God changing his mind or not knowing some future event. I would rejoice over this outcome the most, but certainly not because I would want Lon to espouse open theism; rather because I would want him to appreciate scripture for what it is and stop imposing arbitrary meanings on it that are not there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
General discussion of hermeneutics.
What is really needed in terms of hermeneutics is a method which can be relied on to lead us consistently to the truth and that truth is never anything other than what the original author intended his expected readers or audience to understand.
No contention.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
By adducing scriptures that were written (usually) after the subject scripture was written, it becomes impossible to ever in fact derive the true interpretation of a given passage because the original author of a given passage could never have had knowledge of what would be written afterwards and which might, even centuries later, be deemed to qualify his own writings.
I know of one possible exception to this principle and one possible argument against.
The one exception is that some of the prophets did not understand the full significance of their writings. (1 Peter 1:10-12) However, this does not mean that the words they used were unclear. They enquired, we are told, into what the Spirit was indicating in their words in the same way that we would of any prophetic text. In the same way we do in our endless debates on the meaning of Revelations. What this does not mean is that their words could only be understood completely by the addition of some other text. If that were so, then none of the original intended readers could have properly understood the text, which would be absurd.

We can imagine for example Isaiah trying to understand whom the passage “He was wounded for our transgressions” was referring to. (And how often have we wondered who the 666 of Revelations is?) But the passage itself is entirely clear in terms of the words it uses and does not need any other text to clarify it. What it does have is Acts 8:32 to tell us that Isaiah 53 is referring to Jesus. This is not in any way changing or clarifying the meaning of Isaiah 53 because Isaiah 53 didn’t mean Jesus! It meant that someone, as yet unnamed, would fulfil that role. After all, Isaiah elsewhere predicts the coming of Cyrus by name but he does not predict the coming of Jesus by name. This kind of activity, happens frequently but should not be taken to mean that somehow the original passage was unclear in its meaning.

The possible argument against a contextual hermeneutic is that it was in any case God who was doing the writing. In other words we are allowed to use every passage of scripture as a means to interpret every other passage because the same person wrote all of it. There are two reasons why we should ignore this principle when exegeting a passage. One is that if the entire Bible is to be taken as a single context into which all passages fall, then it adds nothing to our understanding. It is of no practical value in exegesis. The purpose of this principle is not to determine how we understand a passage but the level of authority we accord in response to whatever it says once we have exegeted it by contextual methods.
The other reason why we should ignore it is that we believe that the Bible is both the words of God and the words of men simultaneously. To argue that every passage qualifies every other passage is to ignore this principle. In other words, the principle “Words of God, words of men” is to be properly understood as signifying:
Because it is the words of God, we base our actions and our faith on what it says and because it is the words of men we understand what it says in the same way we would understand what men generally say or write.
I’ve already shown that Lon’s hermeneutic in practice does not follow his theory at all, however, his theory itself contradicts the sound principle described above by suggesting that we should understand what men write not by what they themselves write but by what others write later on. (Actually anywhere else but in practice the problem is with text written afterwards.) This entails that whatever we might read, excepting solely the final chapter of Revelations, could potentially be reinterpreted to mean something different to what it plainly states because of some other passage later on. As stated above, this position is manifestly absurd.
In this section, I’d finally point out that it is always Lon who gets to choose which text he wants to use as the text having priority over some other given passage. His hermeneutic in theory only allows for passages in which God speaks about himself. But even if we were to accord him a little flexibility by letting him widen the scope, he doesn’t really give any hint as to a method by which one might choose which passage to use. For example, in attempting to refute the idea that God changed his mind about Saul (1 Sam 15) he chose Hebrews 3:8, a passage that clearly has no connection whatsoever to 1 Samuel, other than the rather meaningless ‘they are both in the Bible’. This arbitrariness is surely a hallmark of proof texting and reminds us only of the old slogan ‘a text without a context is a pretext’. One thing that Lon hasn’t argued is that all scripture is self-consistent or inerrant. He may perhaps assert that he believes this but the very idea that one scripture takes precedence over another is hardly something one would promote alongside a doctrine of scripture self-consistency.

Again, Lon may even argue or believe that it is only interpretations that he is concerned with, not texts. He says:
(my underline)
However, it is impossible to avoid the fact that all understanding is an interpretation. And the proper context of a passage is always assumed within the passage. The only issue is whether the interpretation is the one the author intended. There is nothing wrong with ‘assuming a point from a story’ just so long as the assumption is a true one. The onus would still be on Lon (or whoever asserts it) to show that his interpretation of the text he thinks is ‘pedantic’ is also the true reading. So it remains that Lon’s notion of some types of text (in practice the ones Lon personally prefers) trump other types of text is difficult to reconcile with the generally held view that all scripture is self-consistent. What Lon should be doing is not deciding which text should take priority when there is a conflict but doing more work on what the texts really mean. And this brings me very much to my next point.

Hermenuetics goes beyond this veneer treatment. Our disagreement over translation is but another point. Hermenuetics is much broader than this discussion as a subject. As I said, we are discussing one small portion of the larger discipline. We are discussing how we interpret story.

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
Old Testament Context
I note that only scripture issues 9, 11 and 12 are issues about New Testament texts. Most of the issues where Lon has a problem accepting some purported interpretation of it is in the Old Testament. This may be because Lon didn’t have time to look for more or it may be that open theists have focused on the Old Testament and Lon’s selection of texts is in response to that. Lon himself says:
Of course per se, this is of no help to the hermeneutic and one might as well say that Calvinists ignore texts that emphasise relational qualities of God because their theology is primarily dualist-idealistic per the influence of Plato. And as for open theists using mainly Old Testament texts, the primary text I myself think of in supporting a relational view of God is the book of Romans.
However, it seems rather that it is the Old Testament as a whole that Lon is uncomfortable with. My guess is that like his Platonic predecessors all the way back to Origen and before, he finds difficulty in the contemplation of an entire culture that has had no influence from Plato at all. Lon’s response to my original suggestions about the influence at the start of our debate was this:
The so-called rabbit-trail has been well documented and there is no need for me to prove it or reiterate it here. The overwhelming fact is that the Old Testament is a strange body of literature to someone who has only ever known the influence of Platonic idealism. And this is surely especially true of those who espouse Calvinism and who have inculcated themselves with the depravity of man, the time eternity worldview, immutability and the three omni’s. It is no wonder then that Lon would make a comment like this on an Old Testament text:
He seems quite unable to break out of his Platonic mentality (lack of self-criticality or reflection) and realise that the very desire to find ‘clear (pedantic) doctrine’ is a desire driven by that mentality. The result is an obvious bias against the Old Testament. It was this absence of (or lack of emphasis on) what Lon calls ‘clear pedantic doctrine’ in the Old Testament that prompted the early church fathers to look for ‘higher’ meanings in what was for them an otherwise perfectly uninteresting text. I don’t suppose that Lon is engaging in the kind of futile allegorising that Origen was guilty of but it seems to me that his lack of proper understanding of the Old Testament context is the root of why Lon seems to find it difficult to get clear doctrine from it. An openness to the mentality of the first and second temple Israelites might counterbalance the influence of Platonism on his thought and banish the idea that the Old Testament cannot speak for itself but needs Platonic understandings to complete it. What we have here is the age old motif of wanting to kill or suppress that which you don’t understand.

This is outside of the scope of our particular debate.
I don't believe either of us can broadstroke the whole of Traditional or Open View Bible Study methods at this time. It is much too broad for us to be able to accomplish that in a 1-on-1.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I do not argue (and I daresay I speak for most open theists) that God is limited in knowledge, power or understanding but I do respect the Old Testament thought patterns whereby the modes by which God’s omniscience is expressed are quite different from those Lon would feel comfortable with. I have briefly touched on details of this earlier and there is no need to expand further in this concluding post, however I merely want to state that I have been greatly enhanced as a person by the contemplation of Old Testament culture and faith and have known a sense of great liberation upon the realisation that Platonic thought processes, which have otherwise so dominated western Christian theology, were a form of slavery. The cross itself, the very centre of our faith, ought to be a pointer of this: it is not by might and not by power and we would add, it is not by omniscience that we gain victory and the great amount of talk of omniscience and omnipotence amongst those of the reformed persuasion is a disavowal of the meaning of the cross itself.
You are correct. I pulled many scriptures from Open Theism Two and Three for this discussion. These Open View threads are mostly concerned with Old Testament passages concerning the nature of God, but these ideas against traditional theism are derived ideas from these texts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
I would like to say more but alas time is moving on and I hereby conclude my comments to this debate and put my trust in the reader to accept sound reason, to read the Bible for what it is and not be swayed by inventions of those who would destroy the value of scripture and shield us from the truth by their own private inventions.
The main difference between our hermenuetics is the difference between deductive and inductive Bible study, between what is pedantically clear and what is an idea inside one's head derived from his reading.
I will close with example from our two hermenuetics again that illustrate our stark difference:

Genesis 22:12
And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, nor do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me.

Desert Reign believes that God didn't know what Abraham would do until this verse.
God 'needing to find out what Abraham was going to do' is a deduced idea not given in the text.

I believe God knew what was in Abraham's heart way before this and, in fact, couldn't have known Abraham's heart, according to Desert Reign and other open theists' hermenuetics because Abraham never carried out the action, leaving God with a 'reasonable guess.'

According to that open bible interpretation, it cannot be "...Now I know..." but "Now I suppose..." or "think about you." God is left never knowing for certain because He cannot read the heart and intention of a man and must wait to find out what Abraham believed like any other human being witnessing the event.
Even afterward, it is but an educated guess and reasonable assurance because the action was never carried out.

Contrasted is a pedantic hermenuetic:
Quote:
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knows our thoughts
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.
1 Chronicles 28:9 …for the LORD examines all minds and understands every motive of one's thoughts.
God, who knows the heart and mind of all men, would have known Abraham's. I have previously discussed the hermenuetic for this passage here for about 20 pages which readily illustrates the differences between how those like Desert Reign and I approach scripture and I believe it sufficient.

Thanks for the time taken to all reading through this one on one and to Desert Reign for debating me.
Discussing, reading and interpreting God's Word is an important topic and worth our time and efforts.

I pray that this debate has been a blessing.

In Him,

Lon





Omniscient without man's say or qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
No possible limitation other than in man's wishful finite inanity Isaiah
40:25 Joshua 24:15
Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

Is Calvinism okay? Yep

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. *************************************

Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
   
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