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Friday, April 13, 2012, 9:56 AM
(ho theos mou)
Jesus is referred to (by others, NEVER by himself) as "God"; as for "the God" (with the article, arthrous, in Greek ho theos), this rule applies:
In the Scriptures (NT and also LXX) the Greek expression ho theos, when used absolutely, without complements and/or qualifiers, is ONLY referred to God, the Father Almighty.
When it is referred to other than God the Father Almighty, it is invariably accompanied by a qualifier/complement. For instance, in John 20:28 (ο κυριος μου και ο θεος μου, ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou, "my Lord and my God") the qualifier/complement is the genitive μου, mou, "of me".
Let my provide two more examples which confirm the rule.
In Titus 2:13 (του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων χριστου ιησου, tou megalou theou kai sôtêros êmôn christou iêsou, "of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus") the qualifier/complement is the genitive ημων, êmôn, "our" (lit. "of ours").
In 2 Peter 1:1 (εν δικαιοσυνη του θεου ημων και σωτηρος ιησου χριστου, en dikaiosunê tou theou êmôn kai sôtêros iêsou christou, "through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ") the qualifier/complement is, again, the genitive ημων, êmôn, "our" (lit. "of ours").
But there is another example that is, IMO, conclusive ...
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this age [ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου, ho theos tou aiônos toutou] has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of [the] God [του θεου, tou theou]. (2 Cor 4:3-4)
... because it confirms, at the same time, that the qualified expression ο θεος (ho theos) is NOT necessarily referred to [the] God [του θεου, tou theou] —in fact it is referred, in this case, even to God's enemy, Satan!— BUT, when it is un-qualified, absolute, it certainly refers to [the] God [του θεου, tou theou]: THE One and Only God.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 6:40 AM
That the clause "[begotten] before all ages" was craftily added to the original Nicene Creed of 325 AD is evident from the comparison between Creed of 325 and Creed of 381.
Let's now get to the bottom of this "before all ages" thingy.
First, that the "before all ages" infamous clause did NOT exist in the original Nicene Creed of 325, is a fact. It was ONLY added at Constantinople in 381 (if not even later ...) because the Conciliar Fathers needed to add it, so as to sanction, with a collective sleigh of hand, an "official" understanding of the godhead that had completely changed over the 4th century.
Second, it may come as a surprise to many that the "before all ages" infamous clause first appeared where one would never expect to see it, in Arius' own letter to Constantine in 327 (Arius' Letter to the Emperor Constantine, 327 CE, from Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 2, 27. NPNF, ser. 2, vol. 2, 277, @ ecole.evansville.edu], a "creed" hastily compiled by Arius and his crony, deacon and supporter Euzoïus, apparently along the lines of the Nicene Creed of 325, which easily procured for them the return from exile and the return in the favor of Emperor Constantine, which should prove how irrelevant was the Nicene Creed for the purpose for which it was officially defined: the definitive quashing of the Arian heresy.
Third, several "creeds" were written in the period between 325 and 381 (as A Chronology of the Arian Controversy, @ faculty.cua.edu, attests). By the time of the Synod of Alexandria (362), when the wind changed for the Arian party, there were as many as eleven (11!!!) Arian "confessions" (see The Eleven Arian Confessions, @ arian-catholic.org: the Eleventh Arian Confession is of 361 AD), most of which included the "before all ages" clause.
Of course by the time of the Council of Constantinople (381 AD), the "before all ages" had sunk in: either by persuasion, or by exhaustion, or by political compromise.
Friday, December 2, 2011, 9:13 AM
Valentin de Boulogne, Saint Paul writing his Epistles, c. 1600
It is obvious, that Paul did NOT consider the obedience to the Mosaic Law, in all its details (first and foremost the circumcision, key symbol and distinction of the Jews vs the Gentiles), essential for salvation. This is crystal clear from plenty of passages from his letters. I believe these two will do:
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts. (1 Cor 7:19)
For circumcision has its value if you practice the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. (Rom 2:25)
Now, what "God’s commandments" is Paul referring to, and of what "law"? Obviously NOT the detailed 613 commandments (613 mitzvot) contained in the Torah, because the circumcision is, once again, one of them, nay the key symbol of the Mosaic Law (see Gen 17:10-14; Lev 12:3; see also Wikipedia > Brit milah).
So, what God's Commandments, of what Law? Essentially, just one: The Greatest Commandment (see Mark 12:28-31; cp. Deut 6:4-5, Lev 19:18), of the Law of Love. See here:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. (Rom 13:8)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)
Does this mean that Paul was against the respect of the Mosaic Law for the Jews, who had been brought up in its detailed obedience? Not at all! See the first verse that I quoted in its context:
18 Was anyone called after he had been circumcised? He should not try to undo his circumcision. Was anyone called who is uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts. 20 Let each one remain in that situation in life in which he was called. (1Cor 7:18-20)
Sunday, November 20, 2011, 3:53 PM
Giovanni Bellini, Transfiguration of Christ, c. 1487-1495, Naples
The Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-13; cp. Mar 9:2-13) is a vision, an eschatological vision, that Jesus gave the privilege of enjoying to the "inner circle" of his Apostles, Peter, James and John, so that their faith would not abandon them with the apparent total failure on the cross of Jesus Messianic mission, especially as Peter, just "six days earlier", had solemnly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah (Matt 16:16).
That it was a vision is confirmed by some considerations and details:
• Jesus had already pre-announced this vision, when, after Peter's solemn messianic proclamation and his own immediate reply (so disturbing to the Apostles - and to Peter in particular - with the prediction of the Cross - Matt 16:21) he had promised,
“I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt 16:28).
In spite of the rather shrouded words, this verse is an allusion to the Transfiguration.
• The figures of Moses and Elijah, together represent perfectly the "Law and Prophets" that Jesus announced he was to fulfill (see Matt 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16; 24:44; John 1:45);
• The vision disappears all of a sudden, as soon as Jesus "touches them" (Matt 17:7-8; cp. Mar 9:8);
• "As they were coming down from the mountain", Jesus explicitly calls it a a vision (Greek: orama - Matt 17:9), to be kept as a secret for this "inner circle" of his Apostles.
In conclusion, everything is in favour of a vision, and ONLY "metaphysical prejudice", that simple Jewish fishermen from Galilee of the time of Jesus, like Peter, James and John certainly did not share, is in favour of Moses and Elijah as "living disembodied souls".
Sunday, August 7, 2011, 4:43 PM
Science most certainly is NOT (should NOT be ...) a religion, BUT a "game", with an overarching rule, "methodological naturalism/materialism" of which Dickerson's "Rule No. 1", by far the best formulation
Science, fundamentally, is a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule:
Rule No.1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural.
Operational science takes no position about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural; only that this factor is not to be invoked in scientific explanations. Calling down special-purpose miracles as explanations constitutes a form of intellectual "cheating."
(Richard E. Dickerson, The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People, 1992, @ asa3.org)
Many people, though, confuse methodological naturalism/materialism with metaphysical naturalism/materialism.