Thursday, April 3, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 4-3-08

What sort of God is this? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge. And second he said, "Adam, where are you?" Does not God have foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? Afterwards he said, "Let us cast him out of this place, lest he might eat of the tree of life and live forever." Surely he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger. And what kind of God is this? For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, "I am the jealous God. I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three and four generations." And he said, "I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said." But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!

The Testimony of Truth (47.15-48.15)

Comment: This is from a Gnostic sermon. For me, it shows just how much Gnostic exegesis is bible literalism.

14 comments:

Memra said...

I've read it in the Talmud Bavli somewhere that God put things in the Bible for skeptics and heretics to complain about.

Just to give them something to do.

Maybe God just has a sense of humor.

JMS Providence said...

I have found that these "mysteries" definitely reveal something about our character.

Richard said...

I don't believe this is God's sense of humor and it isn't something for heretics and skeptics to complain about. What does this reveal about my character except that I have more respect for myself than to follow the Lower Beings.

Jordan Stratford+ said...

For me, it shows just how much Gnostic exegesis is bible literalism.

For me, it shows just how much Gnostic exegesis is a criticism of bible literalism. It's "hey, if you're going to tow the literalism line and attribute a personality to God, you're going to have to explain why He's a jerk sometimes." That's a rationalization that the Platonist model doesn't require.

Richard Edmondson said...

Surely the second century Gnostics weren't the first persons to recognize the scriptural implications of a dual-gendered God, or that a jealous God who punishes children for sins of their fathers down to second and third generations is just a tad bit unappealing. So how did the Sanhedrin handle people expressing these sorts of views? They don't seem to have reacted as vicerally as the early church fathers.

JMS Providence said...

Jordan said:

It's "hey, if you're going to tow the literalism line and attribute a personality to God, you're going to have to explain why He's a jerk sometimes."

QUESTION:

Not that I'm a complete literalist, but WHAT IF God DOES have a personality (not that they're a bunch of jerks, mind you -- to which I completely agree: explanation(s) required), OR shall I attribute visions and voices to MERE chemical imbalances and/or temporal lobe epilepsy?

In other words, do you NOT know/believe divine (and sub-divine) beings interact with us (knowingly and otherwise)?

Or perhaps I've misunderstood you!?

JMS Providence said...

CLARIFICATION (just in case):

"divine (and sub-divine) beings interact with us (knowingly and otherwise)"

I.E. spirit beings

JMS Providence said...

Excuse me for dragging this on, but I hoped to express further clarification:

...sober minded "visions and voices" AND out-of-body experiences...

and particularly after a period of prayer and meditation.

José Solano said...

Many people imagine that God has to think and behave as we do. They judge God by their own criteria and so they try to make Him in their own image and when they fail they discard Him. They fail to understand the meaning of God’s sovereignty and the power that He wields, His omnipotence. He makes us and destroys us and restores us as He thinks best. Faith in the biblical God means a surrender and obedience to the Creator of heaven and earth. This is a tough pill to swallow for new age mentality so enamored by self-development, self-engrandizement. There are other pills that they much more prefer.

JMS Providence said...

Jose, what I'm saying is, everything on this planet is bound to the cycle of birth and death. And Orthodoxy is no different, my brother.

Jordan Stratford+ said...

Many people imagine that God has to think and behave as we do. They judge God by their own criteria and so they try to make Him in their own image and when they fail they discard Him.

That's my point, exactly. The Gnostics in the instance of this passage aren't throwing the baby out with the bathwater, they're saying, if God is as he's described here and elsewhere, why would you have anything to do with him? Instead, God must be understood using some other model. That's a far cry from "he's either this way, or nonexistent".

Anyway I think this is officially a thread hijack, so I'll shut up now. Sorry, Dr. April.

José Solano said...

I don’t know who is “hijacking” the thread but my comment is exactly on the thread. “What sort of God is this?”

“Cycle of birth and death”? Where did you get that notion? I highly recommend you try reading the Myth of Eternal Return by Mircea Eliade.

JMS Providence said...

I've read The Sacred and the Profane some years ago. I'd be happy to read this book, and then perhaps we can discuss this further then.

José Solano said...

Hi JMS Providence. I think it’s wonderful that you have read The Sacred and the Profane. The Myth of the Eternal Return in later editions has the title Cosmos and History. I fear drifting from the thread but will quickly say that both works address the question of the primitive’s participation in cyclic time whereby paradigms established in illud tempus are yearly repeated ad infinitum. This is carried over in the activities of the liturgical calendar.

If you pull out your volume of The Sacred and the Profane, on p. 110 (my Harvest Book copy, chapter on Sacred Time and Myths) we read: “Compared with the archaic and paleo-oriental religions, as well as with the mythical-philosophical conceptions of the eternal return, as they were elaborated in India and Greece, Judaism presents an innovation of the first importance. For Judaism, time has a beginning and will have an end. Thy idea of cyclic time is left behind. Yahweh no longer manifests himself in cosmic time (like the gods of other religions) but in a historical time which is irreversible.”

This of course has a truly momentous impact on human development by bringing about historical thought, the concept of rectilinear as opposed to cyclic time. This realization-revelation of historically unique occurrences is continued in Christianity and Oscar Cullmann’s work Salvation in History as well as Jean Daniélou’s The Lord of History are great resources in clarifying the Judaeo-Christian contribution to an understanding history, and salvation-history (Heilsgeschichte) in particular.

I must not delve further into this in this thread. Please excuse the digression. Enjoy.