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Author Topic:   The Great Debate
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 16 of 102 (224579)
07-19-2005 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by arachnophilia
07-19-2005 1:54 AM


Re: Topic folk
arachnophilia, I was directing that text to Adminjar. Whether or not he actually agrees with my opinion or not isn't the main focus of this debate. The point is that he has stepped in and moderated our discussion. Therefore, as a moderator, whichever decision he renders -- even if it is not in my favor -- I will abide by.

Stop trying to restict the direction of the debate, let Adminjar make his ruling on the matter, and then we can proceed. Like I noted above, even if Adminjar rules in your favor over mine, then I will abide by it -- because this is what I agreed to from the very beginning.

Adminjar, we're waiting for your input and decision on this matter.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by arachnophilia, posted 07-19-2005 1:54 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by AdminJar, posted 07-19-2005 1:25 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded
 Message 21 by arachnophilia, posted 07-19-2005 10:14 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1816
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 17 of 102 (224631)
07-19-2005 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by arachnophilia
07-19-2005 1:54 AM


Re: Topic folk
Arach writes:

..but if we can't get past this bit, that god occasionally creates evil in the present tense, we'll never get to the next two: that god creates all evil, and that god first created evil. these are relatively easily demonstrated from scripture, if i can just get you to agree first off to take it at face value.

This is a belief issue. Personally, I have always held the view that while God DID create a freewill Lucifer, He never made Lucifer turn into a rebellious (evil) being. Kinda like if I made a firecracker but never lit the fuse, would I be responsible for the "bang"?

This is merely my personal opinion on a belief subject, however.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by arachnophilia, posted 07-19-2005 1:54 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 102 (224633)
07-19-2005 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-19-2005 9:22 AM


Re: Topic folk
I have asked other Admins to take a look at it, but my personal feeling is if you wish to use Genesis and creation to support meaning of the word towards the issue of creating Evil, then that's fine. BUT...you need to tie the two together in whatever message is involved.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-19-2005 9:22 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-19-2005 6:29 PM AdminJar has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 19 of 102 (224687)
07-19-2005 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by AdminJar
07-19-2005 1:25 PM


Re: Topic folk
Thank you for the quick response. I'll do my best to keep well within the spirit of your decision.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by AdminJar, posted 07-19-2005 1:25 PM AdminJar has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 20 of 102 (224737)
07-19-2005 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by AdminPhat
07-19-2005 1:22 PM


not a belief issue
This is a belief issue.

it is absolutely not a belief issue. right now we're on the first part of the debate:

quote:
the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures

mr. ex, or you, or anyone is free to believe what they like. we added the "according to scriptures" part because otherwise the whole debate is just a belief issue. we'd be slugging out opinions. i think one thing, he thinks something else. we'll get nowhere.

instead, our focus as defined by the topic is first the scriptural base. does the bible say god is a source of evil? the source of evil? how is "evil" used in the old testament? our belief or disbelief in the verse should play no role in this part. we just need to establish what the bible actually says.

then we can get on to a matter of belief or interpretation:

quote:
and how God employs evil to bring about good.

instead, what is happening hree is that mr ex is starting with his belief system -- that god is not ever responsible for evil -- and then trying to change the meaning of the verses that don't fit. as noted in the off-topic bits about creation-ex-nihilo, i am fine with arguing against my beliefs. i think god did create from nothing, but the early hebrew texts don't reflect that idea, although later ones do.

Personally, I have always held the view that while God DID create a freewill Lucifer, He never made Lucifer turn into a rebellious (evil)

we are also not debating free will. that is an argument without end, really. i think we may have put that out of bounds early on, actually, but i forget. lucifer is also a misnomer, but i happen to believe that satan has either no free will, or restricted free will, since it is said he can only act under the authority of god. but i recognize there are other ways to interpret this matter.

Kinda like if I made a firecracker but never lit the fuse, would I be responsible for the "bang"?

this is essentially the question we will be tackling in the second half of the topic. but first we need to know if god ever lights the firecracker himself -- and that's matter of what's in the text.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by AdminPhat, posted 07-19-2005 1:22 PM AdminPhat has not yet responded

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 21 of 102 (224774)
07-19-2005 10:14 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-19-2005 9:22 AM


Re: Topic folk
Stop trying to restict the direction of the debate, let Adminjar make his ruling on the matter, and then we can proceed.

is the direction i proposed contrary to the focus of the topic?

and shall we continue now?

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-19-2005 10:16 PM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-19-2005 9:22 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 22 of 102 (224967)
07-20-2005 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by arachnophilia
07-19-2005 8:19 PM


Re: not a belief issue
arachnophilia writes:

...instead, what is happening hree is that mr ex is starting with his belief system -- that god is not ever responsible for evil -- and then trying to change the meaning of the verses that don't fit.

Hold on a second there. My belief that God is not ever directly responsible for evil is based on my reading of the Scriptures. In other words, it's not an assumption that I started with before I read the Scripture -- because before I read the Scriptures I actually felt that God could be quite cruel and perhaps even evil at times.

I'm trying to explain to you how and why I've come to this conclusion based on my reading of the Scriptures, but you seem to be continuing to restrict any possibility that the Isaiah passage in question should be read in any other way than literally.

It is my belief that the ancient Hebrews did not take these passages literally when they wrote them: ie., that God literally creates evil. In other words, they were writing poetry which they believed was in some way God-breathed and worthy of following in order to know God's will better.

You said before that...

arachnophilia writes:

it is absolutely not a belief issue...

However, the main crux of your side of the debate basically boils down to your belief that the ancient Hebrews either a) didn't believe that God created the pre-exiting chaos -- or b) that they changed their minds somewhere along the way and then refined their later sacred writings so as to reflect a newer grasp on the account of the creation.

You've quite consistently maintained some variation of these beliefs and yet you've shown no real evidence that either of these points were in fact held by the ancient Israelites, aside from the fact that you seem to be insisting that this must have been what happened. So far, as far as I'm reading your text, these views that you hold sound very much like beliefs to me.

The only thing that you've presented to bolster this beleif you hold is a display of the progression of thought from the Genesis text to the later texts, such as Isaiah for example. Oddly, however, you also seem to be attempting to restrict the directional flow of logic so that only a one-way progression from A to B to C can ensue.

Unfortunately, logic doesn't always work in this unidirectional pattern. Many times people will come across later evidence, and then re-examine the earliest texts in order to gain a better understanding of what the original writer may have believed.

As a matter of fact, the whole basis of hermeneutics (and science in general) seems to work in a direction that is quite the opposite of the direction you are striving to force this debate to flow.

Nonetheless, for the sake of this discussion, I will address your points from message 13 as I believe the Spirit enables me to do so. However, as Adminjar has allowed it, I will invoke the usage of the various words for "create" only as they are relavent to the main debate: the source of evil and how God employs evil -- or, more specifically, God "creating" evil and what I believe the Israilites believed (based on the Scriptures) when they used these poetic words.

I'll probably be responding tomorrow night or Friday sometime.

See you then.

Edit:

arachnophilia writes:

alright, simple question then. if you believe god created everything out of nothing (as your name implies) why is evil not one of those things god created, similar to the dimensions like time and space, or the laws of physics/mathematics? see, we're actually arguing each others' points here. you believe god created everything -- darkness, the deep, etc. then invariably you should believe he also created evil. i believe god did not create darkness or the deep. but i believe god created evil.

so basically, we're both hypocrites. :D

I was trying to explain this before with the invocation of the the different kinds of words used for "create" within the Hebrew Scriptures. I'll also be addressing this point in more detail too.

edit: corrected spelling: conclusion, attempting.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-20-2005 05:38 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-22-2005 03:12 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by arachnophilia, posted 07-19-2005 8:19 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 23 of 102 (225617)
07-23-2005 12:51 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by arachnophilia
07-18-2005 5:41 PM


Re: Topic folk
Ok. Let's back up a bit here. For a while I thought you might've had a valid point in regards to your thoughts on Hebrew parallelism. It'd been a while since I'd read about it (a couple of years to be honest), so I thought I'd back-track and double check my thoughts on the matter. On closer examination, I'm now left wondering about your knowledge of Hebrew parallelism.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Similar to how the Hebrew word "bara" seems to be employed, we also see that the Hebrew word for "separated" is badal*. This literally means to "separate", "divide", or "to distinguish between diverse things". It can also be used in the sense of being "selected out of a group", "excluding oneself", "to discern",
or even "to make a difference".

In short, based on the Isaiah passage you have quoted, and the Genesis passage I have quoted, we are apparently seeing a picture of God creating (bara) darkness by separating it (badal) from the light he first formed (yasar). More specifically, one could say that God has brought forth darkness by contrasting it against the light.

arachnophilia writes:

that's all well and dandy, but that's not what isaiah says, is it? it says god creates darkness.

It's poetry and prose arachnophilia. It's not meant to be taken as literal. It's using figurative, allegorical, and/or symbolic expressions to convey an idea -- albeit complex interelationships between God and man (or his creation) expressed in a simple poetic manner. Furthermore, Hebrew poetry comprises almost 50% of the Hebrew Scriptures and it differs significantly from English poetry in that the emphasis is on parallel thoughts (where in English poetry the emphasis is on rhyme and meter).

As I mentioned before, this correspondence of thought in Hebrew poetry is called parallelism. Although it is not a singular feature of the Israelite culture, it is one of the fore-most distinguishing marks of the Hebrew poet. In this sense, each line -- including historical passages -- has a correspondence with the lines of poetry which surround it. It is up to the reader to make the connections between the lines of parallel thought.

I'm going to talk about this further down below.

arachnophilia writes:

present tense.

So what if it is present tense?

Whether past, present of future, the Hebrew Scriptures quite plainly state over and over again that God made all things.

You can't get around this part arachnophilia:

GOD MADE ALL THINGS.

I don't know how else to explain this.

If the Israelites clearly believed, according to their own Scriptures, that God was the maker of everything -- including, as I've pointed out, the highest heavens and the waters above the skies -- then how can one still argue that the Israelites didn't believe that God created all things?

I've never said that God didn't create evil. I've said that evil is the absence of God -- and that God creating evil effectively means God creating the choice for man to obey his will or not. This is to say, I think the Hebrew Scriptures are effectively pointing to God creating evil being the equivalent of God allowing humanity the free-will to choose between his will and their own will.

As I said at the very beginning of this message...

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

My view is that God is wholly good -- and I pray that the Spirit will enable me to explain my position clearly so that there will be no ambiguity in this matter.

I also specifically clarified this point before in another thread (the thread which lead up to this debate).

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:


I never said he wasn't in control of it. I said that he wasn't directly doing it. I think that that God employs good to corral evil into certain predetermined paths.

In others words, in my opinion, while God is not directly causing it to happen, it seems more appropriate to say that he is restraining it so that it doesn't get out of control -- or, when it does get out of control, he redirects it so as to do the least possible damage possible.

Or, again, elsewhere within that message...

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

As I said to Ifen, making a choice doesn't seem so much about making a choice, but rather about selecting which pre-set facet of life one will experience in the future. Certainly a choice still exists, but the final destination is certainly limited to a finte set of possibilities which were already predetermined by
God.

I've already agreed to not debate about the mystery concerning whether things were made ex nihilo or not. I'll address your thoughts from message 13 that relates to this concept. However, it appears that the only thing that is left for debate is how God creates these things -- and yes this ties in exactly with the Israelite concept of God creating both good and evil according to their own poetry within the Hebrew Scriptures..

I think the Israelites' believed, according to my understanding of the Scriptures, that God created most things by his breath (or spirit) in some way or another. I'll explain below, much later in this message, what I believe the Israelites believed based on this breath/spirit analogy found over and over again within the Hebrew Scriptures. However, as a brief introduction to this concept, I can point the positive effects of God's breath in Genesis 2:7 as follows...

NIV writes:

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Here's another example in Job 32:8...

NIV writes:

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.

And here's yet another example in Psalm 33:6...

NIV writes:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

However, having said this, apparently according to this same breath, we see God doing the following in Job 4:9...

NIV writes:

At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish.

A similar concept is expressed back further in Exodus 15:10...

NIV writes:

But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

And later we see a similar concept in 2 Samuel 22:16 as follows...

NIV writes:

The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

Clearly both good and bad happen according to the same breath of God.

But let's get back to Hebrew parallelisms before I address how God's breath brings forth things according to the Hebrew ideologies within their Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Actually, Hebrew poetry can employ both similarity and contrasts -- and the Hebrew Scriptures do employ both these literary devices quite liberally.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, they do. but not at the same time.

Ok. After back-tracking a bit, and re-reading about Hebrew parallelism, I'm honestly now left wondering if you're making stuff up as you go.

Let's continue on with this part about Hebrew parallelisms, and then I can address some of your points that you mentioned in message 13.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

"Parallelism" is a technical term for the form of Hebrew poetry that repeats a thought in slightly different ways. For example, "synonymous parallelism"

arachnophilia writes:

synonymous parallelism is what's going on isaiah 45:7.

"i make ___ and create ____
i make ____ and create ____"

Really now?

I have to admit that you had me going here. After reading your text here I thought I was in serious error and had misunderstood something I'd read a couple of years ago. Although I was familiar and had read about this a few years ago, I learned some new things about this topic by researching it further over this last week, especially over the last two nights. After reading a bit more, it seems to me that my initial assertions were correct after all.

Let's take a look at what others have to say about Hebrew parallelism, shall we?

Sources:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11473a.htm
http://www.biblicalheritage.org/ZYP/jfp2km0.htm
http://www.cresourcei.org/parallel.html
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=67&letter=P

Now let's talk about what these sources have to say.

According to New Advent, parallelism is the balance of verse with verse. It is an essential and characteristic feature in Hebrew poetry. Either by repetition or by antithesis or by some other device, thought is set over against thought, form balances form. In this way, it brings the meaning home to the reader in a rather striking and agreeable fashion.

Even according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, it should be noted that it is now generally conceded that parallelism is the fundamental law, not only of the poetical, but even of the rhetorical and therefore of higher style in general in the Hebrew Scriptures (aka: the "Old Testament"). By parallelism in this connection is understood the regularly recurring juxtaposition of symmetrically constructed sentences. The symmetry is carried out in the substance as well as in the form, and lies chiefly in the relation of the expression to the thought. The same idea is expressed in its full import -- that is, in its various aspects and turns -- not in a continuous, uninterrupted sentence, but in several corresponding clauses or members with different words. Hence the name "parallelismus membrorum" or "sententiarum." It has also been aptly called "sinnrhythmus" (Ewald). For the parallel members are related to each other as rhythmical protasis and
apodosis.

It has been noted by New Advent that in the hymns of the Assyrians and Babylonians parallelism is also identified as being both fundamental and essential. The researcher Schrader takes it for granted that the Hebrews got this poetic principal from them (Jahrbuch fr Protestant. Theologie, i, 121). However, a common Semitic source, in days long before the migration of Abraham, is by some considered a likelier hypothesis.

Similarly, according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, parallelism is not an exclusive peculiarity of Hebrew. It is met with not only in Assyrian (A. Jeremias, "Die Babyl.-Assyr. Vorstellung vom Leben nach dem Tode," p. 91, Leipsic, 1878; E. Schrader, in "Jahrbcher fr Protestantische Theologie," i. 122) and in Egyptian (Georg Ebers, "Nord und Sd," i. 1; J. H. Breasted, in "The Biblical World," i. 55), but is also characteristic of Finnish song, especially the "Kalevala" (D. Comparetti, "Der Kalevala," Halle, 1892; J. C. Brown, "People of Finland," p. 280, London, 1892).

A. Wuttke ("Der Deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart," p. 157, Berlin, 1869) and Eduard Norden ("Die Antike Kunstprosa," ii. 813, Leipsic, 1898) consider parallelism as the most ancient and the original form of poetry, as "perhaps the most important formal ethnic thought ["formale Vlkergedanke"] in existence."

The Syriac, Vulgate, and other ancient versions, recognized -- and to a certain extent reproduced -- the balance of verse with verse in the Scriptures. However, not until the sixteenth century did Hebraists speak of it as a poetical principle, essential to the Hebrews. It was then that Rabbi Azaria de Rossi, in his work The Light of the Eyes, first divided various poetic portions of the Bible into verses that brought out the fact of parallelism and of a fixed number of recurrent accents. Even so, Ibn Ezra and company had characterized this feature of Hebrew poetry by the expression "kaful" ("doubling") or, more fully, "kefel 'inyan be-millot shonot" ("doubling of the thought with other words"). Unlike Rabbi Azaria de Ross, however, Ibn Ezra regarded it merely as an elegant form of expression (On Abu al-Walid see Bacher, "Aus der Schrifterklrung des Abulwalid," p. 39.).

Schttgen ("Hor Hebraic et Talmudic", Dissertatio vi, Dresden, 1733, vol. I, p. 1252), though erring in that he calls it absurd to speak of iambs and hexameters in Hebrew poetry, perhaps more properly deserves the credit of having first drawn up the canons of parallelism -- which he calls exergasia (exergasia, the working up of a subject, Polybius, X, xlv, 6). Unknown to Lowth, however, Christian Schoettgen also referred to this principle in a general way ("Hor Hebr." 1733; comp. Diss. vi., "De Exergasia Sacra," pp. 1249-1263: "exergasia quid sit, omnes Rhetorum libelli docent, conjunctio scilicet integrarum sententiarum idem significantium"). According to Schttgen's canons Scriptural prose actually differs from Scriptural poetry solely in that the poet works up a subject by reiteration of the same idea either in the same or in different words, by omission of either the subject or the predicate, by
antithesis of contrary thoughts etc.

According to JewishEncyclopdia.com, the first to see this law clearly and to distinguish between its basic forms was the Anglican bishop Robert Lowth ("De Sacra Poesi Hebrorum Prlectiones," 1753, Lecture xix.; and "Preliminary Dissertation to Isaiah," 1778, pp. 12-26). Bishop Lowth (De Sarca Poesi Hebrorum, 1753; Isaiah, 1778) based his investigations upon the studies of Schttgen and coined the term parallelism. He distinguished three kinds of parallelism (although there are other kinds as well): the synonymous, the antithetical, and the synthetic. His conclusions have been generally accepted as follows:

I. Synonymous Parallelism---The very same thought is repeated, at times in the very same words. The following examples, being close translations of the original text, will better illustrate Hebrew parallelism than does the Catholic Douai version which (in regard to the Psalms) has reached us through the medium of a
Latin translation of the Septuagint Greek:

(a) Up have the rivers lifted, Jahweh,
Up have the rivers lifted their voices,
Up the rivers lift their breakers.
--Ps., xcii, 3 (Hebrew, xciii).

(b) Yea, in the night is Ar-Moab put down,
set at naught;
Yea, in the night is Kir-Moab put down,
set at naught.
--Is., xv, 2.

According to JewishEncyclopedia.com, the synonymous is that in which the same sentiment is repeated in different but equivalent words: (Ps. xxv. 5; comp. ib. exiv.; Num. xxiii. 7-10; Isa. lx. 1-3; etc.).

"Shew me thy ways, O Lord; Teach me thy paths"

Frequently the second line not merely repeats but also reenforces or diversifies the idea:(Prov. i. 31);

"They shall eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices"(I Sam. xviii. 7; comp. Isa. xiii. 7, lv. 6 et seq.; Ps. xcv. 2).

"Saul hath slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands"

According to Lowth, synonymous parallels have the appearance of art and concinnity and a studied elegance; they prevail chiefly in shorter poems, in many of the Psalms, in Balaam's prophecies, in many of those of Isaiah, which are most of them distinct poems of no great length. There are, however, exceptions to this.

For a more thorough breakdown of how the second line repeats the first in different words having the same meaning, take a look at Psalm 19:1-2. Dennis Bratcher, in his article Parallelism in Hebrew Writing, breaks it down as follows:

Synonymous writes:


The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Synonymous writes:


Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.

II. Antithetical Parallelism--The thought of the first line is expressed by an antithesis in the second; or is counterbalanced by a contrast in the second. This parallelism is very common in the Book of Proverbs:

(a) The tongue of the wise adorneth knowledge,
The mouth of the fool blurteth out folly.
Prov., xv, 2.

(b) Soundness of heart is the life of the flesh,
Envy is the rot of the bones.
--Prov., xiv, 30.

Again, according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, the antithetical is that in which the parallel members express the opposite sides of the same thought: (Prov. xi. 3; comp. ib. x. 1 et seq.; Isa. liv. 7 et seq.; Ps. xx. 8, xxx. 6).

"The integrity of the upright shall guide them, But the perversity of the treacherous shall destroy them"

Frequently, hower, there are one or more synonymous elements in both members, thus making the contrast more emphatic:(Prov. xxix. 27; comp. ib. x. 5, xvi. 9, xxvii. 2).

"An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, And he that is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked"

Again, according to Lowth, antithetical parallelism gives an acuteness and force to adages and moral sentences, and therefore abounds in Solomon's Proverbs, but elsewhere is not often to be met with. The poem of Job, being on a large plan and in a high tragic style, though very exact in the division of the lines and the
parallelism, and affording many fine examples of the synonymous kind, yet consists chiefly of the constructive (which is a reference to the synthetic parallelism below in section III).

For a more thorough breakdown of how the second line contrasts with the first, take a look at Psalm 73:26. Dennis Bratcher, in his article Parallelism in Hebrew Writing, breaks it down as follows:

Antithetical writes:


My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion for ever.

III. Synthetic Parallelism---The theme is worked up by the building of thought upon similar thought:

(a) Mightier than the voices of many waters,
Mightier than the breakers of the ocean
In the high place is Jahweh.
--Ps., xcii, 4 (Hebrew, xciii).

(b) Know ye that Jahweh he is the Lord,
He hath made us; his we are;
His folk are we, yea, the flock of his pasture.
--Ps., xcix, 1 (Hebrew, c).

Again, according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, the synthetical (called also constructive and epithetical) is that in which the two members contain two disparate ideas, which, however, are connected by a certain affinity between them:(Prov. i. 7; comp. ib. iii. 5, 7; Isa. l. 4; Ps. i. 3, xv. 4).

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction"

For a more thorough breakdown of how the second line adds to the first, take a look at Psalm 23:3-4. Dennis Bratcher, in his article Parallelism in Hebrew Writing, breaks it down as follows:

Synthetic writes:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false,
and does not swear deceitfully.

It should be kept in mind that the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures were very creative, and a great number of variations and combinations of these basic types occur in the Scriptural text. The use of parallelism usually means that the message of the text is in the larger passage and its overall point or impact rather than individual words or single lines. Also, specific words that may be ambiguous or used in unusual ways can be clarified or more narrowly defined by seeing them in the context of a parallel structure.

For the record, there are also other kinds of Hebrew parallelism. I'll note what the various sources have to say about these types of Hebrew parallelsim as well.


IV. Introverted Parallelism (named by Jebb, in "Sacred Literature", sec. 4). The thought veers from the main theme and then returns thereto.

Only in God be still, my soul.
From Him is my life;
Only He is my rock, my salvation,
My fortress. I totter not.

How long will ye set upon a man,---
Will ye dash upon him, all of you?
Only to thrust me from my height they plan,
As from a toppling wall.
They love the lie; they bless with the lips;
And in their hearts they curse.
Only in God be still, my soul.
From Him is my life;
Only He is my rock, my salvation,
My fortress. I totter not.
--Ps. lxi, 2-7 (Hebrew, lxii).

According to the JewishEncyclopedia.com, the introverted parallelism (Jebb, "Sacred Literature," 1820, iv., p. 53) is that in which the hemistichs of the parallel members are chiastically arranged after the scheme ab-ba:(Prov. xxiii. 23 et seq., Hebr.; comp. ib. x. 4, 12; xiii. 24; xxi. 17; Ps. li. 4).

"My son, if thine heart be wise, My heart shall be glad, even mine; Yea, my veins shall rejoice, When thy lips speak right things"

V. Stair-like Parallelism---The thought is repeated, in pretty much the same words, and is developed still further:

Jahweh shall guard thee from all evil,
Jahweh shall guard thy soul;
Jahweh shall guard thy coming and thy going
From now for ever more.
--Ps. cxx, 7-8 (Hebrew, cxxi).

According to JewishEncyclopedia.com, this is also called palillogical parallelism, in which one or more words of the first line are taken up, like an echo or the canon in music, in the second:(Nah. i. 2; comp. Judges v. 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, 16, 23, 27; Isa. ii. 7, xxiv. 5; Hos. vi. 4; Ps. lxxii. 2, 12, 17; cxxi.; cxxiv.; cxxvi.).

"The Lord is a jealous God and avengeth; The Lord avengeth and is full of wrath; The Lord taketh vengeance on his adversaries, And he reserveth wrath for his enemies"

VI. Emblematic Parallelism---The building up of a thought by use of simile:

Jahweh, my God, early I seek Thee;
My soul doth faim for Thee;
My flesh doth faint for Thee;
Like a land of drought it thirsts for Thee.
--Ps. lxii, 2, 3 (Hebrew, lxiii).

There are also other kinds of Hebrew parallelisms mentioned, such as "perfect" and "imperfect" parallelism, which works according to the equality or inequality of the number of words in each line. In this sense, Sometimes a distich does not contain the logical development or repetition of the thought as in the instances quoted above; but the thought goes forward through both lines, either because one line was not sufficient to express it or because the second line supplements the first in the form of a relative, final, causative, or consecutive clause.

There is also that parallelism which is called (e.g., by De Wette and Delitzsch) the "rhythmical": (Ps. cxxxviii. 4);

"All the kings of the earth shall give thee thanks, O Lord, For they have heard the words of thy mouth"(Prov. xv. 3; comp. ib. xvi. 7, 10; xvii. 13, 15; xix. 20; xxi. 23, 25).

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch over the evil and the good"

Parallelism may be seen in distichs or tristichs. In fact, scholars are now coming round to the theory that the principle of balance and counterbalance is far more comprehensive in Hebrew poetry than are the above-named parallelisms. Each individual line is a unit of sense, and combines with other such units to form larger units of sense.

Recent scholars, like Zenner, have found an almost endless variety of balance and counterbalance of words with words (of lines with lines, either of the same strophe or of an antistrophe; of strophe with antistrophe or with another strophe etc). In fact, this wider application of the principle of parallelism or balance in the
study of Hebrew poetry has enabled modern scholars to go far in their efforts to reconstruct the metres of the sacred writers.

arachnophilia writes:

it follows the exact same structure. that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking about the second half of the line reflecting the first.

it does not say "i divide light from darkness." it says "i make light, and i make darkness." this is not about creation, although it's meant to connotate it.

What?

So you're willing to admit that this passage in Isaiah "connotates" creation and yet is "not about" creation -- even though the creation event clearly states that God divided the light from the darkness?

The "creation event" is clearly expressed in opposites and contrasts even to the point of saying that God divided the light from the darkness. This same thought, where God's light penetrates, transforms or divides the darkness is expressed in many ways throughout the Scriptures as follows:

NIV writes:


2 Samuel 22:29
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.

Job 12:22
He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.

Psalm 18:28
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Isaiah 42:16
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 58:10
...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

Daniel 2:22
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

Micah 7:8
Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.

Clearly it is the light from God which divides or changes the darkness and effectively drives it away. For example, many times he is described as a lamp which guides people through the darkness. Daniel 2:22 even goes so far as to say that light dwells in God -- yet never is there a passage of Scripture which plainly states that darkness dwells in God. There plenty of passages that say that God brings darkness -- but I haven't found one passage which explicitly states that God "radiates" darkness so to speak.

arachnophilia writes:

what i'm trying to say is that they're not being tricky about it. all four verbs in both lines, including both bara's, are qal, present tense verbs. they express simple, but ongoing actions. it doesn't really get any simpler. it's using the simplest form of the verb, meaning to create.

These kinds of parallelisms bear an extremely important role when determining the proper exegesis of a Scriptural passage. In fact, the importance of parallelism as an aid in determining text-critical and lexicographical questions evidently affords the key to the correct interpretation of many passages in the Scriptures. From an esthetical point of view the parallelism may actually be termed the rhythm of nature.

arachnophilia writes:

you can't just change the words to mean whatever you want them to mean.

Similarly, you can't just insist on the most literal reading possible so as to change the meaning of the text to that of something radically different from what the authors originally intended.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

On the other hand, an example of "antithetical parallelism", in which a thought is followed by its opposite, can be found in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." In studying Hebrew parallelism the key seems to be to compare each part with its pair in the other half
of the sentence. For instance, in Proverbs 14:30 "a heart at peace" pairs with its opposite, "envy", and "rots the bones" is the opposite of "gives life to the body."

arachnophilia writes:

but this is not antithetical parallelism. in poetry, these parallel relationship occur between whole lines. one whole line is the opposite of the other.

Where are you getting your information from?

Could you cite a source please because I would like to investigate it further. The reason why I ask is because what you said above is actually wrong. According to all the sources I've read, you can have parallel relationships even within two different clauses of the exact same sentence -- so your reliance upon parallel relationships needing to occur between "whole lines" appears to be quite an error (or else expressed inadequately) on your part when attempting to define antithetical parallelism.

arachnophilia writes:

this is not what's going on here. both lines say "i make ____ and i create ____." they're synonymous.

Good and evil are synonymous? Light and darkness are synonymous?

arachnophilia writes:

now, the first half of the line *IS* in contrast to the second. light is in contrast to darkness, and good is in contrast to evil.

Thank you for a nearly textbook definition of antithetical parallelism by the way.

arachnophilia writes:

but if you change the verbs, they're not. if god creates one, and cuts down the other, it's just repeating the same idea. that's not what it's doing. it's saying god creates both.

The verbs have nothing specific to do with whether or not the verse is considered antithetical parallelism or not.

In synonymous parallelism the very same thought is repeated, at times in the very same words.

In antithetical parallelism, however, the thought of the first line is expressed by an antithesis in the second -- or is counterbalanced by a contrast in the second. Furthermore, frequently there are one or more synonymous elements in both members of the antithetical parallel, thus making the contrast more emphatic

Parallelism in general may be defined not only as a relationship between two or more sentences that correspond in similarity or are set with each other -- but also with two or more clauses which exhibit similar word formulae. In other words, antithetical parallelism within Hebrew poetry also includes sentences wherein which two or more clauses of a verse contrast each other.

In fact, one of the examples listed as an example of antithetical parallelism is that of Isaiah 45:7 itself, "I form the light, and create darkness".

This verse, which is listed under Professor John Murray's list as a form of antithetical parallelism, was identified from the former works of Rabbi Azaria de Rossi (who first noted this as a kind of parallel), Schttgen (who catalogued the Hebrew parallelisms), and Bishop Lowth (who titled the former research according to the three main categories we are talking about here): -- so if you have some special insight into the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, an insight that is better than the people who actually found the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, I'd like to know your source for this information.

arachnophilia writes:

now if it said, "i create good, but the devil makes evil" we'd talk.

No, I don't think we would even begin to talk -- because then we'd be talking about synthetic parallelism within the Hebrew Scriptures -- not antithetical parallelism. Synthetic parallelism is that in which the two members contain two disparate ideas, which, however, are connected by a certain affinity between them.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

First of all, this raises an interesting question: why did God not use the same word "bara" for both his creating of the light and the darkness in the Isaiah passage in question?

arachnophilia writes:

variety.

Many who are in the know regarding this subject would tend to ascribe the structure of the poetry to expressed in a multifacted way so as to ensure the durability of the Scriptures themselves. In other words, when one translates the Hebrew text literally into another language, the Hebrew parallelisms are effectively protected by the structure of the parallelism itself so that Hebrew ideas are retained intact over long periods of time.

For example, accoridng to JewishEncyclopedia.com, parallelism is best adapted to the genius of the Hebrew language with its wealth of synonymous expressions which enables the poet or the prophet to dwell upon a theme with an almost inexhaustible variety of expression and coloring. The parallelism is so inwrought in the nature of Hebrew poetry that it can not be lost in translation; and to this fact is perhaps due not in a small measure the fact that the poetry of the Hebrew Scriptures have become the common property of mankind.

arachnophilia writes:

hebrew has words that are synonymous. why not use them? bara is a synonym of yatsar and 'asah. look:

Isaiah 43:7 writes:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isa 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created (bara') him for my glory, I have formed (yatsar) him; yea, I have made ('asah) him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

same words. synonyms.

*sigh*

What does Isaiah 43:7 have to do with Isaiah 45:7? Yes, creations are mentioned in Isaiah 43:7 for sure -- yet I see absolutely no reference to any contrasts whatsoever -- not one.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

It seems to me that this is an example of subtle antithetical parallelism, with yasar being contrasted to bara in reference to the light and darkness.

arachnophilia writes:

uh, except that's it's plainly not. is it being contrasts in the verse above? no. they mean the same thing.

Isaiah 45:18 writes:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isa 45:18
For thus saith the LORD that created (bara') the heavens;
God himself that formed (yatsar) the earth and made it;
he hath established it,
he created (bara') it not in vain,
he formed (yatsar) it to be inhabited:
I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

please, please, please notice that this is SYNONYMOUS parallelism. they're synonyms.

But why are you talking Isaiah 45:18?

I thought we were discussing Isaiah 45:7?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Second of all, even if the word is translated "create" in every single translation of the Scriptures, the meaning of the word create (bara) can still nonetheless have very different subjects which it focusses on -- it depends on the context it is used.

Here, let's go through some examples:

arachnophilia writes:

yes. context is everything. and the context here is, well, CREATION. it's god making things. look at the words it's being used in conjunction with -- make. form. wonder what it's talking about.

Yes. It's talking about creation, and we're specifically discussing what the Israelites believed when they said that God "created" evil.

Now let's get back to message 13...

arachnophilia writes:

yes, i think we are. i was going to suggest we quit this whole creation bit -- it actually has very little to do with debate.

I think it has a lot to do with the debate. I also think that the whole "creation bit" has actually worked against your own arguments, especially with your belief that the Hebrews didn't believe that God created the primal chaos "prior" to the creation.

For example, you said before:

arachnophilia writes:

all i'm saying is that genesis describes this darkness as being a pre-existing condition. or rather, it never describes its creation. it seems to be the null state of the universe, and light needs to be created.

To this point I myself responded:

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

This actually jives very much which the concept of evil as being the absence of God -- or to phrase it using your own words here, evil is the "null state" of the universe.

In other words, by insisting that the Hebrews didn't believe that God created the primal chaos, it seems as though you've basically openned a hole in your argument whereby one can fairly conclude that "evil" is one's participation in the chaos which God didn't actually create -- that evil is not caused by God directly but rather harnessed by his will until people deviate from his will and throw themselves into chaos.

For the record, you've pointed out a good point before...

arachnophilia writes:

alright, simple question then. if you believe god created everything out of nothing (as your name implies) why is evil not one of those things god created, similar to the dimensions like time and space, or the laws of physics/mathematics? see, we're actually arguing each others' points here. you believe god created everything -- darkness, the deep, etc. then invariably you should believe he also created evil. i believe god did not create darkness or the deep. but i believe god created evil.

so basically, we're both hypocrites.

Admittedly, we are doing quite the doe-see-doe as we navigate through this debate.

However, the main difference between your argument and my argument is that you seem to believe that the Israelites thought that when God creates something, it means he literally created something tangible -- including good and evil, even including the adversary.

My view is that the Israelites distinguished between when the Scriptures said that God created something tangible and when God created something intangible. In the case of tangible objects, such as the creation of the physical heavens and earth, I believe that the Israelites really believed that God literlly created it. However, in the case of intangible objects, such as spirtual qualities of good and evil, I believe that the Israelites didn't believe that God literally created it.

In the case of the spiritual, this was more of an emanation from God himself when considered good -- and a lack of God's emanation when considered bad. In this sense, light was a metaphor for God, but darkness (which God's light clearly altered, changed or dispersed) was a metaphor for the lack of God. This can be seen in the Scriptures above where the Lord is described as "lamp to my feet" in darkness. This is even more clarified in Daniel 2:22 where it says, "He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."

Consequently, you seem to be of the opinion that the deep always existed whereas I think (according to the Scriptures) that light has always existed, being emanated from God himself. In fact, when I read in the first chapter of Genesis....

NIV writes:

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

...I'm reading the text -- based on later passages of Scripture -- that the author is saying that God's light was basically penetrating the chaos and causing it to be separated into light and darkness. In fact, day and night are not even noted until the light is revealed, effectively distinguishing darkness from light.

We could go one step further with this. For example, when using the spirit/breath analogy noted above, we see an even more interesting pattern: the same breath from God results in great blessing or else great cursing. In fact, according to the Hebrew Scriptures themselves, we see that God's breath is responsible for a wide variety of things, both good and bad as follows...

As a started above, I can point the positive effects of God's breath in Genesis 2:7 as follows...

NIV writes:

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Here's another example in Job 32:8...

NIV writes:

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.

And here's yet another example in Psalm 33:6...

NIV writes:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

However, having said this, apparently according to this same breath, we see God doing the following in Job 4:9...

NIV writes:

At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish.

A similar concept is expressed back further in Exodus 15:10...

NIV writes:

But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

And later we see a similar concept in 2 Samuel 22:16 as follows...

NIV writes:

The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

Clearly both good and bad happen according to the same breath of God.

How can this be?

I think the answer is rather simple...though it might take some time to explain.

Let's say you are on an island surrounded by waters everywhere. On this island is a sailboat. The Lord has apparently directed you to ride this sailboat eastward to your destination far east. In fact, let's say that God has "fore-ordained" that you are to ride the sailboat to this eastward destination.

Now, here you are on this small island. To the far east you can see land -- you can even see your home there. However, in the westward direction, you can see land as well. In fact, the land in far west direction actually looks more promising to you. As far as you can tell, the land in the far west is actually closer than the land in the far east too.

You are clearly given a choice at this point within your own mind: you can follow God's advice or you can reject it. As you're beginning to doubt God's word, a gentle breeze (symbolic of God's will) starts to blow in an eastwardly direction.

Let's say you choose to follow God's will. Upon startting your voyage, you note that the eastwardly wind is picking up rather dramatically. However, as you're guiding the sailboat, you see an important scroll case -- sealed with the Lord's insignia, which is also sealed in a watertight ivory case. You now realize why God wanted you to ride this boat home -- to deliver his message.

After only a short period of time a storm comes upon you without much warning. As you're controlling the rudder and sail, you realize that you were wise to follow God's will. In fact, thanks to the strong winds of the storm, you are actually getting to the eastward lands much faster than you thought you would.

You arrive home safe and sound, if not a bit waterlogged. In hindsight, you now realize that the storm, which you originally feared would kill you, actually turned out to be a very great blessing in disguise. Although you thought it very bad at first, you now realize that God intended this bad thing for your good.

Genesis 50:20 writes:


You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Furthermore, you now realize that simply trusting God's word, even in disasterous situations, will enable you to ride out any storm that might come your way.

Later, after you've delivered the scroll, as you're sitting home safe and sound and warm, you start to wonder what it would have been like if you had chosen to go in the westward direction. You start to replay the situation in your head, remembering how strongly and quickly the wind picked up. You ask God what would have happened in prayer and God actually steps in through your prayer to reveal "what might have been".

You see a vision of yourself attempting to sail the boat against the heavy winds (which is symbolic of God's will). You see the boat's sail being ripped nearly to shreads by the intense winds. You see the boat capsizing by riding against the wind lifted wave crests -- and you see yourself drowning in the waters.

Upon seeing this, you now realize that the wind (which is symbolic of God's will) could have killed you if you had gone against it. Oddly, however, you see your dead body and fragments of the boat being blown along by the easterly storm winds. You also see the end result of your folly -- your dead body and fragments of the boat laying along the shore of the eastward lands which you were ignoring. You also see your body sadly being found by loved ones -- and you see that they find the sealed scroll as well.

While tragic in its own right, you also realize upon seeing this vision that the Lord's will would have been accomplished no matter what choice you made. In other words, God's will was fulfilled in either a negative way or a postive way. You have the choice which way to fulfill it -- either by moving by his spirit, or else by moving against his spirit.

Now let me ask you a couple of questions: In the above analogy who caused the man in the boat to die? Did God cause it -- or did the man cause it himself?

arachnophilia writes:

of it came up as a side comment in the analysis of why the isaiah verse in question is unusual.

But it does directly apply, especially since we are talking about what the Scriptures may potentially mean when it says that God created good and evil. Nonetheless, so be it -- let's move onto your next points.

arachnophilia writes:

the issues i would like focused on are mostly in quote boxes in my above post:

:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eze 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all
their abominations.

Eze 6:10 And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

arachnophilia writes:

i suggest we stick to addressing this point in conjunction with original isaiah verse:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

arachnophilia writes:

as well as the amos verse i mentioned previously in the conversations that lead up to this debate, as was next on my list of things to bring up:

:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, as I've explained above, I think you're reading the text too literally. However, to express this concept more clearly, I think it's poetry which is, ultimatety, designed to reassure the Israelites even when bad things happen. I think the most basic message being expressed here is that nothing happens by random chance.

As John W. Ritenbaugh notes, in these disasters, God is saying something quite different -- something vitally important. He is warning the people that they have a responsibility, and if they fail to live under their covenant with him, he has the power to correct them so that they will repent. So, in fairness and mercy, God lays a simple choice before them:

"Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"

Amos 4:12

Their choice is either to face their sins and repent, or face the wrath of a just God.

To bring about his purpose, God is active in his creation, especially among his people, whether physical or spiritual Israel.

"If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?"

Amos 3:6

Is God involved in our lives? Do things happen by chance to the people of God? This world would have you believe that God really is not aware, that he does not care or even exist! But he clearly says,

"I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things"

Isaiah 45:7

Is God involved? Do we see God working in our lives? Events do not happen accidentally to God's people, of whom God is very aware. He is very concerned and thus very involved.

arachnophilia writes:

i would also like to address something that came up off-topic, but directly applies, from mr. ex-nihilo's source on ex-nihilo:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
He [Maimonides] begins with the assumption that Gods created world is thoroughly good. Contrary to the claim of [the biblical book of] Isaiah, then, God cannot
have created evil in any of its forms.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i think our next route of discussion should be to examine this assumption, since it is being used to directly contradict the verse in isaiah. but if that's too much for now, we can hold off. these posts are getting rather long.

I think I've addressed many of these points above. However, I'm fairly sure that they are not acceptable to you.

What part of Maimonides' assumption would you like to discuss further?

edit: added reference to Genesis 50:20 to further illustrate my point.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-27-2005 03:51 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by arachnophilia, posted 07-18-2005 5:41 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by arachnophilia, posted 07-23-2005 5:02 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 24 of 102 (225626)
07-23-2005 5:02 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-23-2005 12:51 AM


on topic, i promise.
in the interest of expediting this topic, i'm going to more or less ignore the bits which aren't on topic.

GOD MADE ALL THINGS.

I don't know how else to explain this.

....

I've never said that God didn't create evil. [...] God creating evil effectively means God creating the choice for man to obey his will or not.

ok, i actually agree with this bit. god created everything, including evil, and darkness. genesis does not depict it, but i will admit that it is not an incompatible later reading. many believe this way, including myself. i think, however, this next point is the error:

This is to say, I think the Hebrew Scriptures are effectively pointing to God creating evil being the equivalent of God allowing humanity the free-will to choose between his will and their own will.

while this is somewhat true, i think, it's not totally true. here's why:

I've said that evil is the absence of God

evil does not appear to be "the abscence of god." this point is totally contrary to what isaiah actuall says, and this is why the "PRESENT TENSE" bit is important. it's not "i creatED good and i creatED evil," it's "i create evil." it's a present participle in hebrew. it's not only a continuing action, but a CONTINUOUS action. it means that god is saying he is the source of evil in the past, in isaiah's day, in our time, and in the future to come, and he creates, present tense, evil continuously.

this means, point blank, that isaiah is not referring to a distant point of time, nor is he referring to god as absent. god is actively present, creating. but, and i know you'll bring this up, is he active creating by not showing up?

well, isaiah is speaking of the wonders of god's creation, and the duality of it. is one of those wonders the abscence of god, something many would lament? what does isaiah mean? i'll touch on the import (but slight) difference here a little later in the post.

I think the Israelites' believed, according to my understanding of the Scriptures, that God created most things by his breath (or spirit) in some way or another.

or word. the two are often interchangeable. the ideas are somewhat similar, and breath is common, yes.

A similar concept is expressed back further in Exodus 15:10...

NIV writes:

But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

And later we see a similar concept in 2 Samuel 22:16 as follows...

NIV writes:

The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

Clearly both good and bad happen according to the same breath of God.

yes, i agree. this is what i'm getting at, actually. i think isaiah is discussing this very same concept -- but i'll get to that.

According to New Advent, parallelism is the balance of verse with verse. It is an essential and characteristic feature in Hebrew poetry. Either by repetition or by antithesis or by some other device, thought is set over against thought, form balances form. In this way, it brings the meaning home to the reader in a rather striking and agreeable fashion.

Even according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, it should be noted that it is now generally conceded that parallelism is the fundamental law, not only of the poetical, but even of the rhetorical and therefore of higher style in general in the Hebrew Scriptures (aka: the "Old Testament").

yes, it is thoroughly ingrained in almost all hebrew texts. even the prose. it's quite evident of the hebrew mode of thinking. i'm not sure what this is evidence of, though, or how it's meant to prove me wrong. even if the parallelism IS antithetic, which it's not, it still says "god creates evil."

So you're willing to admit that this passage in Isaiah "connotates" creation and yet is "not about" creation -- even though the creation event clearly states that God divided the light from the darkness?

yes, what's hard about this idea? if it were in past tense, it would probably be about the creation event of genesis 1. rather, it is only using the imagery. the bit that distinguishes it, if it weren't plainly obvious, is the tense. the 7 days of creation have stopped nearly 4000 years before isaiah wrote, according to tradition. they were not going on still. god creating good and evil is not a singular action occuring the past, but a continuing action occuring the in present.

The "creation event" is clearly expressed in opposites and contrasts even to the point of saying that God divided the light from the darkness. This same thought, where God's light penetrates, transforms or divides the darkness is expressed in many ways throughout the Scriptures as follows:

yes, but none of those are about the creation in 7 days, are they? they're all metaphors for something else. the author is implying the imagery of a story that everyone knew to make his point. do you agree?

Similarly, you can't just insist on the most literal reading possible so as to change the meaning of the text to that of something radically different from what the authors originally intended.

but that's not at all what i'm doing. i'm insisting that it actually says god creates evil, because it does. i don't know how or why you are denying this simple fact, but there it is in black and white. (or blue and white as the case may be)

i have suggested a more interpretive reading that actually illuminates what the ancient hebrews thought about good and evil -- but you've rejected it for some unknown reason, in favor of a completely anachronistic view: evil is the abscence of god. but i'll suggest it again, below. what isaiah originally intended was to say that god creates both good and evil. if he had intended to say "god turns our evil into his good" he could have said -- and in fact does as you have pointed out. but that's not what this verse is saying.

Could you cite a source please because I would like to investigate it further

unfortunately, no. even if i took notes in class, i doubt you'd accept them.

The reason why I ask is because what you said above is actually wrong. According to all the sources I've read, you can have parallel relationships even within two different clauses of the exact same sentence

yes, ok, i suppose you can. technical error on my part -- but that doesn't make you right either. because it's still, get this, synonymous parallelism within the line. if you hadn't already asked it, it would be you next question:

Good and evil are synonymous? Light and darkness are synonymous?

strangely enough, YES! because synonymous parallelism doesn't work with synonyms in the english sense of the word. sometimes the words have the same meaning, but other times, objects occur in distinct, predefined pairs that are actually opposites. numbers go up by one. if you don't believe me, look at your own post:

quote:
Synonymous writes:

Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.


are day and night synonymns? not in english, they're not. day always occurs with night, good always occurs with evil, and light always occurs with dark. heaven with earth, sun with moon, rivers with oceans, etc. good and evil are a pair. it kind of illustrates the hebrew philosophy -- that opposites often compliment each other. it's almost eastern, but then again so is the middle east, right?

Thank you for a nearly textbook definition of antithetical parallelism by the way.

see above. the distinction is pretty subtle, i know. what i'm trying to say is that the pair is in contrast, not the whole structure. see, in antithetical, we'd have an example like this: (from your examples)

quote:
Soundness of heart is the life of the flesh,
Envy is the rot of the bones.

"soundness of heart" is the opposite of "envy." "life" is the opposite of "rot." "flesh" is a predefined pair with "bones" (not an opposite pair, btw)

so almost every word is opposite the other, except the pair. what we have in isaiah, and follow me on this, is this:

"i" is the same word as "i". "make" is a synonym of "create." "good" is a predefined pair with "evil." the whole line is then repeated with "light" being a synonym of "good" and "dark" being a synonym of "evil." not predefined pairs, but of the same meaning.

the only opposition in the entire thing occurs within the predefined pairs of "good and evil" and "light and dark." which are ALWAYS that way. it does not mean the parallelism of the sentance is antithetical. it's just expressing equal but opposite ideas through the pair alone. it is meant to equate the two, not contrast. compare that with the example above of antithetical parallelism: one line is the compliment of the other on the whole. they both express the same idea really, and it moves in one direction.

antithetical parallelism, i think, cannot express true opposites since every word has to be the opposite of the one above. i think opposites can only be expressed by synonyms and opposing pairings -- but i could be wrong. either way, that's clearly what's going on here.

The verbs have nothing specific to do with whether or not the verse is considered antithetical parallelism or not.

while sort of true, look at the facts.
word.
synonym.
pair.
same word.
synonym.
pair.

had the verbs been antonyms, it would antithetical: "I create good, but destroy evil." but that's not what it says, is it?

In synonymous parallelism the very same thought is repeated, at times in the very same words.

usually. sometimes one elaborates slightly on the other (while still remaining synonymous). however, what i'm suggesting is that this is rather clear evidence of my position. it *IS* the same idea being repeated, both from phrase to phrase, and line to line.

god creating good and god creating evil are essentially the same concept, and they have to be since good and evil are an established pair in hebrew thought, even without the structure indicating a synonymous parallel. if you know how the pairing works. otherwise, you might have a really good point.

why are good and evil the same idea? although genesis reports there being darkness before light (whether or not god created it, let's not get into that again), it also reports that darkness is not NAMED "night" until "day" is made. night and day are made at the same time. so are the sun and moon, as are man and woman -- all traditional pairings. heaven and earth are made at roughly the same time (it seems to take a god a whole day to make heaven, and a whole day to make earth). but the analogy doesn't work perfectly. as you said yourself, much of creation seems to regard separation and defining. much of hebrew thought seems to regard the grouping of opposites.

it's like "north and south" really. i could be going north on a road, and you could be going south on a road. but in the grand scheme of things, we could indeed be on the very same road. good and evil seem to be two directions on the same road. compliments, that cancel each other out (or maybe not, more later on in the debate), but essentially one is just the other in reverse or upside-down. follow me?

just keep in mind that for whatever reason "good and evil" are a pair, and are very commonly used in conjunction, even in synonymous poetry, as "night and day" in your example above.

In antithetical parallelism, however, the thought of the first line is expressed by an antithesis in the second -- or is counterbalanced by a contrast in the second.

quote:
Antithetical writes:

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart


is the thought here the antithesis of the first? man is weak, god is strong. these are actually somewhat the same idea. antithesis doesn't express an opposite. more from your examples:

quote:
The integrity of the upright shall guide them,
But the perversity of the treacherous shall destroy them

this one's a little more clear. the idea of the first line is "have integretity." the idea of the second line is "don't have perversity." but not having perversity and having integrity are actually the same idea. one's just the backwards way of saying it. do the positive, don't do the negative. same idea. --not an antithetical by your definition.

here's a synonymous (check your link):

quote:
Saul hath slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands

now, i mentioned earlier, numbers increase by one. i lied a little, sorry. i wasn't specific enough -- numbers that are units go up by an order. 10 becomes 100, 100 becomes 1000, 1000 becomes 10,000, etc. i think 20 becomes 30, and 30 into 40, but i forget. little off on my number pairings.

now, both of these are expressing the same idea. david is a parallel for saul. both are slaying people. but -- if i didn't understand the pairing i'd think david killed more. it's probably not actually saying that, it's just a product of pairing practices. however, it would be wrong to say that this is synthetic parallelism, even though to the unexperienced reader it's CLEARLY expression a progress. why? because the pairings doen't seem to matter that much in relation to what kind parallelism it is.

so look at isaiah 45:7 again, we'll diagram it. i'll use a for the first word, b for the next, etc, and mark off the pairs. i'll use the prime denotation for a synonym (') and capitalize for an antonymn.
a b (pair1) / a b' (PAIR1)
a b'' (pair 2) / a b' (PAIR2)

it's rather convenient that the only antonyms in this verse are paired with each other in the language. i'm not sure if this is ALWAYS the case, but it seems to be.

quote:
My son, hear the instruction of thy father,
and forsake not the law of thy mother:

imagine if we percieved mother and father to be opposite. we'd be having a similar problem here. again, a predifined pair, NOT synonyms. here's one with two:

quote:
Psa 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.

still synonymous. (though if i didn't know sun/moon and day/night were pairs, it'd be antithetical)

quote:
Psa 74:16 The day is thine,
the night also is thine

still synonymous.

quote:
Isa 40:12 ...and meted out heaven with the span,
and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure,

synonymous (although the whole bit is eclectic. i contains another synonymous pairing after this, and the line before is an extra line)

it's the structure, not the predefined pairs, that determine the kind of parallelism. need i prove that "good and evil" is a common pair?

Parallelism in general may be defined not only as a relationship between two or more sentences that correspond in similarity or are set with each other -- but also with two or more clauses which exhibit similar word formulae.

and "good" is off the same word formul as "evil." predefined pair.

In fact, one of the examples listed as an example of antithetical parallelism is that of Isaiah 45:7 itself, "I form the light, and create darkness".

i know you're going to rag on me for this, but he's wrong. and i think i've pretty succesfully shown why. if not, i'll show you again in summary:

quote:
Synonymous writes:

Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.


if isaiah 45:7 is antithetical, that has to be too.

so if you have some special insight into the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, an insight that is better than the people who actually found the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, I'd like to know your source for this information.

common sense, the ability to read, and a knowledge of hebrew pairing practices. but like i said, if you don't believe me, look above.

now if it said, "i create good, but the devil makes evil" we'd talk.

No, I don't think we would even begin to talk -- because then we'd be talking about synthetic parallelism within the Hebrew Scriptures -- not antithetical parallelism. Synthetic parallelism is that in which the two members contain two disparate ideas, which, however, are connected by a certain affinity between them.

but that's not synthetic. look:

quote:
The tongue of the wise adorneth knowledge,
The mouth of the fool blurteth out folly.

mouth = tongue
wise ≠ fool
adorn ≠ blurt
knowledge ≠ folly.

all the words are opposites except one.

quote:
{god} create{s} good,
but the devil makes evil

god ≠ devil
create = make
good ≠ evil.

the structures are the same, and all of the words are opposite except one. it encompasses the same ideal, like the one above. the two lines share more than a certain affinity. one is the direct opposite of the other. it's classic contradiction in the bible.

synthetic, however, marches the idea forward a bit.

*sigh*

What does Isaiah 43:7 have to do with Isaiah 45:7? Yes, creations are mentioned in Isaiah 43:7 for sure -- yet I see absolutely no reference to any contrasts whatsoever -- not one.

no, you don't, do you? that's sort of the point. i'm just showing that bara', asah and yatsar are all synonyms. make has a similar meaning to create which has a similar meaning to form. they are not antonyms. do you agree?

But why are you talking Isaiah 45:18?

I thought we were discussing Isaiah 45:7?

you were trying to say that "make" and "create" had different (opposite) meanings. this cannot be so. "i make _____" has to have the same meaning as "i create _____" no matter what the two blanks actually are. they are synonyms, not antonyms. do you agree?

I think it has a lot to do with the debate. I also think that the whole "creation bit" has actually worked against your own arguments, especially with your belief that the Hebrews didn't believe that God created the primal chaos "prior" to the creation.

actually, if i recall, you were heartily arguing against that position. see, well, the first line of this post. if god made all things, god made all things -- including evil, chaos, and darkness. personally, i believe he did, and that later texts indicate this outright. i just don't believe it is indicated outright or even implied in genesis at all -- it just seems to be something they didn't really think through until later. however, evil is certainly among god's creations, even in the garden... they just seemed to think of it as a property of everyday life.

However, the main difference between your argument and my argument is that you seem to believe that the Israelites thought that when God creates something, it means he literally created something tangible -- including good and evil, even including the adversary.

ah ha! no, actually i'm not! see, i think we're really arguing for the same thing, we just need to make each see that. the point of this debate is that i DON'T think the hebrews thought of evil as something tangible at all! nor even defined in the modern sense.

christianity, as a contrast, seems to have a VERY tangible of what evil is. evil is the devil, doing against what god says, disobedience -- and some outside force that acts on us. rather, to hebrews, evils seems to have been a property that was somewhat arbitrarily thrown around. something could be good and evil at the same time, like knowledge. or, for that matter, god. but that's where i'm going.

see, i think the parallelism in isaiah 45:7 is telling us something. i'll explain it in a way isaiah never would have thought of. we have an earth that spins on its axis. the transformation of day into night and night into day is essentially the same action: the rotation of the earth. the light that we are getting is essentially taken away from others. similarly, god cannot favor everyone at once. isaiah 45 is about declaring war.

quote:
Isa 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings,

god says, conquer these countries, and i'll reward you. god is giving favor to one king by taking it away from others -- this is politics. god making peace and creating evil, or making darkness and forming light is the very same action. it's saying that god is the one who choses who lives and dies -- god makes these decisions and separations, and continues to do so. i'm sure you agree so far, right?

do you see why i've been making the points about "present tense" and the synonymous nature of the sentance? it kind of depends on that for it to even make sense. now, i know your thought: "but that's not the same thing as god creating evil!" you're technically correct in that evil here is god withdrawing something. you're just not right for the right reasons, and i'm a technicality whore.

however, what i want you to remember is that this is a STARTING place. we've been going on and on about this verse, but it was just my wedge in. like i said, i want to examine what is meant by "evil" first, and show that god sometimes does things (like withdraw favor) that are literally called evil. then we'll examine if god actively does actions that are evil, then if god is the ONLY source of evil, and then -- then if god is the original source of evil. then we can get back to the ex-nihilo bit.

My view is that the Israelites distinguished between when the Scriptures said that God created something tangible and when God created something intangible. In the case of tangible objects, such as the creation of the physical heavens and earth, I believe that the Israelites really believed that God literlly created it. However, in the case of intangible objects, such as spirtual qualities of good and evil, I believe that the Israelites didn't believe that God literally created it

sounds like a reasonable argument. can we come back to it?

In the case of the spiritual, this was more of an emanation from God himself when considered good -- and a lack of God's emanation when considered bad.

yes, i agree with this somewhat, but it's not actually the point. the point is that the darkness was still considered evil. god withdrawing himself was considered an evil act. as evidenced by that ezekiel verse.

Clearly both good and bad happen according to the same breath of God.

How can this be?

because god's actions can be both good and evil. although evil is often viewed as a lack of god by some, it's also an action. those actions of god were considered evil. the exile (god forsaking israel) was considered evil. a more technically correct definition seems to be that evil is not the lack of god, but the lack of god's FAVOR. indeed, i think the whole philosophy is that everything basically functions not according to actions or presence of god, but by his APPROVAL. "it is good" seems to be an integral part of genesis, and it is held by traditions (unsure of scriptural support) that satan himself can only operate by the consent of god. much of creation works on its own -- the earth creates plants and animals. god just has to approve the designs, so to speak. (btw: someone start a topic in this reading's application to theological evolution. it'd be fun)

Now let me ask you a couple of questions: In the above analogy who caused the man in the boat to die? Did God cause it -- or did the man cause it himself?

great sunday school lesson and all, but technically god did. the guy's on the island because of god's will. the storm exists, and behaves the way it does because of god's will. god could also have withheld, too. for instance, there is a remarkably similar story in the bible which you had to have been referencing. jonah disobeys god, goes sailing in the wrong direction, and god sends a storm. but the storm doesn't kill jonah, nor does the fish that swallows him -- both miracles in their own right. god spares jonah, so he can deliver two messages. not just the one to nineveh, but the one to us too, the book of jonah. had he not survived, it would be a pretty different book. and -- now get this -- without his disobedience, we wouldn't have it at all.

see, the storm (symbolic of god's will) is in terms of isaiah 45:7 BOTH good AND evil. it just depends which direction we're going and who's side we're on.

Again, as I've explained above, I think you're reading the text too literally. However, to express this concept more clearly, I think it's poetry which is, ultimatety, designed to reassure the Israelites even when bad things happen. I think the most basic message being expressed here is that nothing happens by random chance.

and, now don't miss this point, that evil is under the control of god. that's fundamental to the amos verse. and i'm not reading it too literally: you're reading it too liberally. (oh god, faith's gonna kill me) but yes, it is a reassurance. and the reassurance is that god's in conrol -- even of the things they see as evil.

As John W. Ritenbaugh notes, in these disasters, God is saying something quite different -- something vitally important. He is warning the people that they have a responsibility, and if they fail to live under their covenant with him, he has the power to correct them so that they will repent. So, in fairness and mercy, God lays a simple choice before them:

that's all well and good -- but the action itself is still called evil. if the people forsake god, god send evil their way so they are reminded of god.

Their choice is either to face their sins and repent, or face the wrath of a just God.

and to the people facing the wrath -- the disfavor -- of god, that wrath is called "evil." god himself in the ezekiel verse calls it evil. (obviously in understanding of their perspective.) what does this tell you about how the hebrews use the word "evil" in the ot? what does this tell you about WHY they thought there was evil, and where it came from?

"If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?"

notice the change of the word "evil" here? what does the word "evil" seem to mean to them, as rendered in a modern idiomatic way?

I think I've addressed many of these points above. However, I'm fairly sure that they are not acceptable to you.

What part of Maimonides' assumption would you like to discuss further?

well, he's clearly saying that isaiah is wrong. not sure if you caught that or not. he's denying outright that isaiah's portrait of god creating evil is an accurate one. but even by your definition (and i suspect you'll agree with my interpretation above -- the one solidly based on the text) maimonides is wrong in this assertion. but, his assumption is "Gods created world is thoroughly good."

so this begs a question or two:
1. is god's created world thoroughly good?
2. if not, did god create the evil in it, and if not where did it come from?
3. is "good" incompatible with "evil."

as i've postulated above, a singular action, such as movement of god's approval, can be both good and evil at the same time. that takes a chunk out of his assertion, because good and evil can coexist. did god create anything that is viewed as evil? how about the serpent? what about the tree of knowlegde which is both good and evil? even if god is absent, that's not thoroughly good under your definition, because abscence of god = evil. and he's not present for the whole tree debacle. so in some sense, god did create, or at least allow evil. third... does god describe anything as "not good?" if he does, then it is not thoroughly good.

so in otherwords, i think his logic is totally bunk. but let's hold of an actual debate of this part until we've settled isaiah and amos at the very least. these are getting way to long, and i suspect we're going to start agreeing at SOME point. so when they start getting shorter...

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-23-2005 05:03 AM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-23-2005 12:51 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 25 of 102 (225628)
07-23-2005 5:13 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by arachnophilia
07-23-2005 5:02 AM


(not on topic)
oh dear god my brain. can we start making these shorter? that was 9 pages single spaced with no line breaks. it'd probably be close to 25 after formatting, longer than my average term paper.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-23-2005 05:13 AM


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This message is a reply to:
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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 26 of 102 (225646)
07-23-2005 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by arachnophilia
07-23-2005 5:13 AM


Re: (not on topic)
I think we both realize that this topic has a lot of overlap, but I'll try to keep it shorter and to the points you've noted.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by arachnophilia, posted 07-23-2005 5:13 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 102 (225671)
07-23-2005 12:50 PM


Let's try to Moosify these.
Try working on sub-titles. It might help focus the discussion.

Are you good folk running in too many directions?


Replies to this message:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 28 of 102 (225718)
07-23-2005 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by AdminJar
07-23-2005 12:50 PM


Re: Let's try to Moosify these.
Are you good folk running in too many directions?

no, just too much at once. i think we've more or less whittled it down to one direction.

actually a better topic title would be nice -- "the biblical nature and origin of evil" would be good. "the great debate" is rather undescriptive.


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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4109 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 29 of 102 (225935)
07-24-2005 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by arachnophilia
07-23-2005 5:02 AM


Re: on topic, i promise.
arachnophilia writes:

in the interest of expediting this topic, i'm going to more or less ignore the bits which aren't on topic.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

GOD MADE ALL THINGS.

I don't know how else to explain this.

....

I've never said that God didn't create evil. [...] God creating evil effectively means God creating the choice for man to obey his will or not.

arachnophilia writes:

ok, i actually agree with this bit. god created everything, including evil, and darkness. genesis does not depict it, but i will admit that it is not an incompatible later reading. many believe this way, including myself. i think, however, this next point is the error:

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

This is to say, I think the Hebrew Scriptures are effectively pointing to God creating evil being the equivalent of God allowing humanity the free-will to choose between his will and their own will.

arachnophilia writes:

while this is somewhat true, i think, it's not totally true. here's why:

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I've said that evil is the absence of God

arachnophilia writes:

evil does not appear to be "the abscence of god." this point is totally contrary to what isaiah actuall says, and this is why the "PRESENT TENSE" bit is important. it's not "i creatED good and i creatED evil," it's "i create evil." it's a present participle in hebrew. it's not only a continuing action, but a CONTINUOUS action. it means that god is saying he is the source of evil in the past, in isaiah's day, in our time, and in the future to come, and he creates, present tense, evil continuously.

Yes, but his "creating evil" basically equals man going against his goodness which he has fore-ordained. In other words, his intention is good for people -- until they decide to go against his will. It's not that God is the source of evil. It's that he's controlling the outcome of our actions so that regardless of whether we do his will or not, his will WILL be accomplished.

arachnophilia writes:

this means, point blank, that isaiah is not referring to a distant point of time, nor is he referring to god as absent. god is actively present, creating. but, and i know you'll bring this up, is he active creating by not showing up?

I think so. I think the Israelites believed this too.

arachnophilia writes:

well, isaiah is speaking of the wonders of god's creation, and the duality of it. is one of those wonders the abscence of god, something many would lament? what does isaiah mean? i'll touch on the import (but slight) difference here a little later in the post.

Alright. If you're going to discuss this later, I won't comment at this time then.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I think the Israelites' believed, according to my understanding of the Scriptures, that God created most things by his breath (or spirit) in some way or another.

arachnophilia writes:

or word. the two are often interchangeable. the ideas are somewhat similar, and breath is common, yes.

Ok, we're agreed here then.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

A similar concept is expressed back further in Exodus 15:10...

NIV writes:


But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

And later we see a similar concept in 2 Samuel 22:16 as follows...

NIV writes:


The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Clearly both good and bad happen according to the same breath of God.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, i agree. this is what i'm getting at, actually. i think isaiah is discussing this very same concept -- but i'll get to that.

Ok, so we're agreed here too -- I think. I'll wait to see what you propose later.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

According to New Advent, parallelism is the balance of verse with verse. It is an essential and characteristic feature in Hebrew poetry. Either by repetition or by antithesis or by some other device, thought is set over against thought, form balances form. In this way, it brings the meaning home to the reader in a rather striking and agreeable fashion.

Even according to JewishEncyclopedia.com, it should be noted that it is now generally conceded that parallelism is the fundamental law, not only of the poetical, but even of the rhetorical and therefore of higher style in general in the Hebrew Scriptures (aka: the "Old Testament").

arachnophilia writes:

yes, it is thoroughly ingrained in almost all hebrew texts. even the prose. it's quite evident of the hebrew mode of thinking. i'm not sure what this is evidence of, though, or how it's meant to prove me wrong. even if the parallelism IS antithetic, which it's not, it still says "god creates evil."

I guess the point is that, if it is indeed antithetical (as the sources I've read seem to believe), then there is a distinct contrast being presented in the Isaiah text. Whereas I've pointed to numerous examples of God "creating" throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, it seems relevent to display this antithetical parallelism in order to show that Isaiah is not drawing synonomous parallels.

As I said before, the meaning of the word "ra" seems very much dependent on how it is being employed within the Scriptures themselves -- and it doesn't always imply "evil" in the sense of someone maliciously and willfully determined to cause or inflict harm on another. More specifically, since the word "ra" is being used in
context with the word "bara", it seems more appropriate to conclude that the evil that is being "brought about" is more the result of the effects of one's action cutting themselves off from God's will -- this seems even more so considering that "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or
"carve".

In other words, like I said above, unlike the "yasar" used to describe God bringing forth light, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else. Even the darkness in Genesis is "caused" by being "separated" or "divided" from the light which God originally formed.

Take a look at the literal translation of when God "makes a covenant" anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, and I think you'll my point about "cutting" being synonomous to "making" being emphasized more.

I went and purchased the Smith's Bible Dictionary in order to do some more research on this.

When I look to the definition of "covenant", I'm reading the Hebrew word berith -- which primarilly means "a cutting" with reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying the coventant. The Hebrew word for covenant, berith, is very similar to the special word used for divine creative activity, bara. The root of these words apparently conveys the sense of binding. The literal translation of "make a covenent" is somethng to the effect of "cut the meat".

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

So you're willing to admit that this passage in Isaiah "connotates" creation and yet is "not about" creation -- even though the creation event clearly states that God divided the light from the darkness?

arachnophilia writes:

yes, what's hard about this idea? if it were in past tense, it would probably be about the creation event of genesis 1. rather, it is only using the imagery. the bit that distinguishes it, if it weren't plainly obvious, is the tense. the 7 days of creation have stopped nearly 4000 years before isaiah wrote, according to tradition. they were not going on still. god creating good and evil is not a singular action occuring the past, but a continuing action occuring the in present.

I will note that the seventh day began in Genesis -- but it never actually said that it was finished yet. In other words, from the first to the sixth day, God basically ends it with something like, "And there was evening, and there was morning -- the Xth day."

In fact, here's all the text in question...

NIV writes:


Genesis 1:5
God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningthe first day.
Genesis 1:4-6 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 1:8
God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morningthe second day.
Genesis 1:7-9 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 1:13
And there was evening, and there was morningthe third day.
Genesis 1:12-14 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 1:19
And there was evening, and there was morningthe fourth day.
Genesis 1:18-20 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 1:23
And there was evening, and there was morningthe fifth day.
Genesis 1:22-24 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 1:31
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morningthe sixth day.
Genesis 1:30-32 (in Context) Genesis 1 (Whole Chapter)

Yet nowehre do I read, "And there was evening, and there was morningthe seventh day.

This implies to me that the seventh day is still on-going.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

The "creation event" is clearly expressed in opposites and contrasts even to the point of saying that God divided the light from the darkness. This same thought, where God's light penetrates, transforms or divides the darkness is expressed in many ways throughout the Scriptures as follows:

arachnophilia writes:

yes, but none of those are about the creation in 7 days, are they?

Can you show me a passage which actually says the seventh day finished?

arachnophilia writes:

they're all metaphors for something else. the author is implying the imagery of a story that everyone knew to make his point. do you agree?

No.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Similarly, you can't just insist on the most literal reading possible so as to change the meaning of the text to that of something radically different from what the authors originally intended.

arachnophilia writes:

but that's not at all what i'm doing. i'm insisting that it actually says god creates evil, because it does. i don't know how or why you are denying this simple fact, but there it is in black and white. (or blue and white as the case may be)

i have suggested a more interpretive reading that actually illuminates what the ancient hebrews thought about good and evil -- but you've rejected it for some unknown reason, in favor of a completely anachronistic view: evil is the abscence of god. but i'll suggest it again, below. what isaiah originally intended was to say that god creates both good and evil. if he had intended to say "god turns our evil into his good" he could have said -- and in fact does as you have pointed out. but that's not what this verse is saying.

Yes, but you cannot read one verse from Isaiah to the exclusion of the other verse in Isaiah. If Isaiah says in one passage that God creates evil, and then he says in another passage that he turns evil into good, it seems highly likely that God can also allow good to be turned into evil -- which is exactly what Isaiah warns that
people do in Isaiah 5:20...

NIV writes:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Light and darkness are clearly not synonymous. Neither are good and evil.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Could you cite a source please because I would like to investigate it further

arachnophilia writes:

unfortunately, no. even if i took notes in class, i doubt you'd accept them.

That's not fair arachnophilia. I'd be willing to listen to an informed source which held a different opinion. I'd even be willing to read some kind of on-line source if you could provide one. I've searched quite a bit through the sources for hebrew parallelisms -- and I've yet to come across a source which states that Isaiah 45:7 is an example of synonomous parallelism.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

The reason why I ask is because what you said above is actually wrong. According to all the sources I've read, you can have parallel relationships even within two different clauses of the exact same sentence.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, ok, i suppose you can. technical error on my part -- but that doesn't make you right either. because it's still, get this, synonymous parallelism within the line. if you hadn't already asked it, it would be you next question:

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Good and evil are synonymous? Light and darkness are synonymous?

arachnophilia writes:

strangely enough, YES!

Then why do the Hebrew Scriptures say this?

NIV writes:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

arachnophilia writes:

because synonymous parallelism doesn't work with synonyms in the english sense of the word.

:confused:

Yes they do -- synonymous parallelisms do work with synonyms in the English sense of the word so long as they are literally translated. The trouble comes when one is not aware of the Hebrew idioms that may be expressed within the synonymous parallelism.

arachnophilia writes:

sometimes the words have the same meaning, but other times, objects occur in distinct, predefined pairs that are actually opposites. numbers go up by one. if you don't believe me, look at your own post:

Ok, let's take a look at it.

Synonymous writes:


Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.

arachnophilia writes:

are day and night synonymns?

In Hebrew day and night comprise of one [echad] day.

In fact, the most important verse the Hebrews memorized in the Scriptures was Deuteronomy 6:4:

"Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [Echad]!"

There are a few words in Hebrew that the author could have used a word the has one exclusive meaning: the numeric, solitary oneness of God ("yachid" or "bad").

Instead the author apparently chose to use the Hebrew word, "echad" which is used most often as a unified one, and only sometimes as numeric oneness. For example, when God said in Genesis 2:24 "the two shall become one [echad] flesh" it is the same word for "one" that was used in Deut 6:4 -- and even then there is a merger between more than one source.

However, nowhere do the Scriptures actually state that good and evil are one [echad]. Likewise, nowhere does the Hebrew Scriptures actually state that light and darkness are actually one [echad] -- except in relation to the physical events of day and night. Not once are these "pairs" of good and evil described in
such a fashion as a unified one with the word "echad".

arachnophilia writes:

not in english, they're not.

But we're not talking about English are we? We're talking about Hebrew -- specifically what the Israelites believed when they wrote their Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

day always occurs with night...

But day and night are one [echad] day. The one day, which God created, consisted of both light and darkness - evening and day. A day, which is one, consists of two parts but its still one day.

In Genesis 2:24, the one in one flesh is echad. God joined man and woman in perfect harmony as a unit. Two become one flesh in marriage. So two people come together and join as one.

In Numbers 13:23, a cluster of grapes is echad. One cluster of grapes consisted of more than one grape. One cluster, many grapes.

In Ezra 2:64, the whole congregation is derived from echad. One congregation consisted of more than one individual -- 42,360 Israelites according to the Scriptures.

In Jeremiah 32:38-39, the one heart and one way is echad. One heart & one way represents the entire nation of Israel. Again, many are seen as one.

arachnophilia writes:

good always occurs with evil, and light always occurs with dark. heaven with earth, sun with moon, rivers with oceans, etc. good and evil are a pair.

While I admit that light occurs with dark in reference to day and night making one day (which is a physical process), it needs to be stated that good can exist without evil. It seems to be evil that cannot exist without good -- that evil needs good in order to define itself.

Or, restating this more approriately to the Hebrew Scriptures, could you show me at least one passage in where the Israelites expressed the idea that good and evil are one by using the word "echad"?

arachnophilia writes:

it kind of illustrates the hebrew philosophy -- that opposites often compliment each other. it's almost eastern, but then again so is the middle east, right?

It is the Middle East for sure. But no, the Hebrew philosophy does not rest on the idea that opposites often compliment each other. Opposites seem to be employed in order to further define their ideas more clearly -- but the indivual objects that are "paired" can nonetheless be described on their own by their own characteristics
independant of their "coupling".

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Thank you for a nearly textbook definition of antithetical parallelism by the way.

arachnophilia writes:

see above. the distinction is pretty subtle, i know.

When one realizes that day and night comprises of one [echad] day, and one contrasts it to the other concept of good and evil [which is never described using echad], one finds that the distinction isn't even actually there. :(

arachnophilia writes:

what i'm trying to say is that the pair is in contrast, not the whole structure.

Actually, the whole structure is in contrast in this verse...

Synonymous writes:


Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.

...because day and night comprise one [echad] day.

What does good and evil comprise one [echad] of?

arachnophilia writes:

see, in antithetical, we'd have an example like this: (from your examples)

antithetical writes:


Soundness of heart is the life of the flesh,
Envy is the rot of the bones.

arachnophilia writes:

"soundness of heart" is the opposite of "envy." "life" is the opposite of "rot." "flesh" is a predefined pair with "bones" (not an opposite pair,
btw*)

*special note: frequently, however, there are one or more synonymous elements in both members, thus making the contrast more emphatic

arachnophilia writes:

so almost every word is opposite the other, except the pair. what we have in isaiah, and follow me on this, is this:

Here...I'll repost the passage so that we can break down your logic more visibly here...

Isaiah 45:7 writes:


I form darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

I'll post little notes as I'm reading through this.

arachnophilia writes:

a: "i" is the same word as "i".

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

This is a no-brainer. The conclusion is that "I" {meaning God) "do all these things."

b: "make" is a synonym of "create."

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Then why is bara used only in special situations, such heaven and earth themselves, man, and these (supernatural) serpents -- as you yourself have noted?

Are we not seeing a contrast between God's "special creations" and God's "natural creations" when Isaiah invokes bara for "darkness" and yasar for "light" respectively?

c: "good" is a predefined pair with "evil."

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I'll also note that you seem to believe that good and evil are synonymous -- based on your understanding of "day" and "night" being considered synonymous -- which seems to be another misunderstanding. Day and night are synonymous in regards to compriseing one day, but light and darkness are not synonymous in the sense of comprising one of...well...anything.

Where in the Scriptures does it say that good and evil are considered one echad of something in the same way that day and night are considered one echad day?

d: the whole line is then repeated with "light" being a synonym of "good" and "dark" being a synonym of "evil." not predefined pairs, but of the same meaning...

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

And?

...the only opposition in the entire thing occurs within the predefined pairs of "good and evil" and "light and dark." which are ALWAYS that way.

Strange that assumption you have about good and evil ALWAYS occuring that way. I can cite numerous passages which say that God is good -- yet I've never come accross a passage which outright states that God is evil. I've seen the passages you've quoted about God creating evil, and God bringing evil, and God controlling evil, but I've never yet seen you quote a passage which says that God is evil.

If the Israelites believed that God was the ultimate source of both good and evil (insteead of just good), then why do they not once just outright state that God is evil in the same way that they outright state that God is good?

arachnophilia writes:

it does not mean the parallelism of the sentance is antithetical. it's just expressing equal but opposite ideas through the pair alone.

Good and evil are not considered both "equal but opposite ideas". They are defintiely considered opposite -- but they are certainly not considered equal.

arachnophilia writes:

it is meant to equate the two, not contrast.

I actually think you're borrowing more from the Eastern religions (such as the eternal cycles of Yin and Yang), than any opinions the Israelites held when you make this statement. I've seen no passages of Scripture which states that good equals evil -- never -- not even once.

arachnophilia writes:

compare that with the example above of antithetical parallelism: one line is the compliment of the other on the whole. they both express the same idea really, and it moves in one direction.

It moves in the direction that God is in control for sure -- and it's reasurring to those readers who are trusting in God to know that he is in control no matter how bad things look. But it is not stating that good compliments evil -- or that good cannot exist without evil for that matter.

arachnophilia writes:

antithetical parallelism, i think, cannot express true opposites since every word has to be the opposite of the one above. i think opposites can only be expressed by synonyms and opposing pairings -- but i could be wrong. either way, that's clearly what's going on here.

Well...I'm glad you explained that -- because now I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Maybe I'm wrong, and you'll demonstrate this idea more clearly below.

Anyway, let's move on to the next thing.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

The verbs have nothing specific to do with whether or not the verse is considered antithetical parallelism or not.

arachnophilia writes:

while sort of true, look at the facts.

word.
synonym.
pair.
same word.
synonym.
pair.

Sort of?

I've pointed out where some of your assertions here may be generallly incorrect above. For example, what you call a synonym might actually be more accurately noted as a contrast between "special" and "natural" creations. Likewise, the "pairings" which you are noting are certainly not conisdered opposite but equal anywhere
in the Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

had the verbs been antonyms, it would antithetical: "I create good, but destroy evil." but that's not what it says, is it?

No, I don't think the Isaiah passage is saying "I create good, but destroy evil." The Isaiah passage is clearly saying, "I create good, and I make evil." The problem is not with what the literal words are. The problem is what do the words mean. I think the Isaiah passage means that God is in control regardless of whether good or evil befalls someone -- that all things work according to his will.

All in all, the Scriptures depict God creating by a) bringing things into existence, b) structuring the things he has created by separating them into more individualized components, or c) withdrawing so as to create by virtue of his inactivity by allowing things to flow according to their own volition.

In this sense, I believe that Isaiah is employing antithetical parrallelism in order to display that God is sovereign over all things -- that even if evil happens, then he has a plan in order to potentially turn the evil into something good..

Anyway, what do you actually think it's saying? I know you believe it means what it says -- that God creates good and God make evil. But what are you getting at beyond this?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In synonymous parallelism the very same thought is repeated, at times in the very same words.

arachnophilia writes:

usually. sometimes one elaborates slightly on the other (while still remaining synonymous). however, what i'm suggesting is that this is rather clear evidence of my position. it *IS* the same idea being repeated, both from phrase to phrase, and line to line.

god creating good and god creating evil are essentially the same concept, and they have to be since good and evil are an established pair in hebrew thought, even without the structure indicating a synonymous parallel.

Hold on a moment here. Even in the case of when things are authentically being "paired", this doesn't necessarilly imply "equality" at all.

For example, the sun and moon are certainly paired. However, the sun is described as the greater light whereas the moon is descibed as the lesser light. Man and woman are certainly paired. However, again, according to the patriarchal society that the Israelites emerged from, man was considered greater than woman. When light is actually paired with darkness, the light is always being shown in a way in which it is either piercing, dispersing, or separating the darkness -- again implying that light is greater than darkness. Likewise, the heavens are certainly considered greater than the earth. Similarly, when evil is actually contrasted against good, good is certainly presented as the greater choice by which one should follow.

How on earth can you claim that these pairings are equal at all?

arachnophilia writes:

if you know how the pairing works. otherwise, you might have a really good point.

What do you mean?

arachnophilia writes:

why are good and evil the same idea? although genesis reports there being darkness before light (whether or not god created it, let's not get into that again), it also reports that darkness is not NAMED "night" until "day" is made. night and day are made at the same time. so are the sun and moon, as are man and woman -- all traditional pairings. heaven and earth are made at roughly the same time (it seems to take a god a whole day to make heaven, and a whole day to make earth). but the analogy doesn't work perfectly. as you said yourself, much of creation seems to regard separation and defining. much of hebrew thought seems to regard the grouping of opposites.

it's like "north and south" really. i could be going north on a road, and you could be going south on a road. but in the grand scheme of things, we could indeed be on the very same road. good and evil seem to be two directions on the same road. compliments, that cancel each other out (or maybe not, more later on in the debate), but essentially one is just the other in reverse or upside-down. follow me?

No. Clearly, even in the case of authentic pairings, one is usually greater than the other. They do not compliment each other and cancel each other out at all. One becomes submissive to the other -- even to the point of one totally negating the other at various times.

arachnophilia writes:


just keep in mind that for whatever reason "good and evil" are a pair, and are very commonly used in conjunction, even in synonymous poetry, as "night and day" in your example above.

Yes, and this is where your logic seems to fall apart. As I stated above, night and day are considered one day by employing the word echad. Good and evil are never considered one of anything by employing the word echad -- unless you can point me to a passage which specifically states this?.

arachnophilia writes:

In antithetical parallelism, however, the thought of the first line is expressed by an antithesis in the second -- or is counterbalanced by a contrast in the second.

Antithetical writes:


My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart

arachnophilia writes:

is the thought here the antithesis of the first? man is weak, god is strong. these are actually somewhat the same idea.

:confused:

arachnophilia writes:

antithesis doesn't express an opposite.

It is counterbalanced by a contrast to the second. You're not seriously attempting to say that this isn't an example of antithetical parallelism?

arachnophilia writes:

more from your examples:

Why bother? If you can seriously look at the passage above and conclude that "My flesh and my heart may fail" is actually somewhat the same idea as "but God is the strength of my heart", then I doubt that I could convince you of the other passages.

Antithetical writes:


The integrity of the upright shall guide them,
But the perversity of the treacherous shall destroy them

arachnophilia writes:

this one's a little more clear. the idea of the first line is "have integretity." the idea of the second line is "don't have perversity." but not having perversity and having integrity are actually the same idea. one's just the backwards way of saying it. do the positive, don't do the negative. same idea. --not an antithetical by your definition.

It's not my definition arachnophilia.

Did you even read through those links I posted?

arachnophilia writes:

here's a synonymous (check your link):

Synonymous writes:


Saul hath slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands

arachnophilia writes:

now, i mentioned earlier, numbers increase by one. i lied a little, sorry. i wasn't specific enough -- numbers that are units go up by an order. 10 becomes 100, 100 becomes 1000, 1000 becomes 10,000, etc. i think 20 becomes 30, and 30 into 40, but i forget. little off on my number pairings.

now, both of these are expressing the same idea. david is a parallel for saul. both are slaying people. but -- if i didn't understand the pairing i'd think david killed more. it's probably not actually saying that, it's just a product of pairing practices. however, it would be wrong to say that this is synthetic parallelism, even though to the unexperienced reader it's CLEARLY expression a progress. why? because the pairings doen't seem to matter that much in relation to what kind parallelism it is.

But I already listed this passage as a synonymous parallelism -- so why are you going into such great detail about why it's not synthetic parallelism?.

...

arachnophilia writes:

it's the structure, not the predefined pairs, that determine the kind of parallelism. need i prove that "good and evil" is a common pair?

I'd like to read your thoughts on this -- that is, just exactly what you mean when you say "good and evil" are a common pair. I agree that they are often paired up.

But beyond this I think you and me may have different ideas.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Parallelism in general may be defined not only as a relationship between two or more sentences that correspond in similarity or are set with each other -- but also with two or more clauses which exhibit similar word formulae.

arachnophilia writes:

and "good" is off the same word formul as "evil." predefined pair.

So what exactly are you saying here?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In fact, one of the examples listed as an example of antithetical parallelism is that of Isaiah 45:7 itself, "I form the light, and create darkness".

arachnophilia writes:

i know you're going to rag on me for this, but he's wrong.

I'm not going to rag you out. However, I would like to hear these same thoughts from an more authoritative source. I've noted many sources that disagree with what you're saying here. I've also noted why some of your above assertions seems to be ill-thought out.

arachnophilia writes:

and i think i've pretty succesfully shown why.

In my opinion I think all that you've been succesful in doing is saying you disagree with what more authoritative sources have to say on the matter.

arachnophilia writes:

if not, i'll show you again in summary:

ok?

Synonymous writes:


Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.

arachnophilia writes:

if isaiah 45:7 is antithetical, that has to be too.

Day and night form one day arachnophilia -- one as in "echad".

What does light and darkness form one of -- one as in "echad"?

What does good and evil form one of -- one as in "echad"?

arachnophilia writes:

so if you have some special insight into the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, an insight that is better than the people who actually found the nature of parallelisms within the Hebrew Scriptures, I'd like to know your source for this information.

arachnophilia writes:

common sense, the ability to read, and a knowledge of hebrew pairing practices. but like i said, if you don't believe me, look above.

I have and I'm honestly not that impressed. :(

arachnophilia writes:

now if it said, "i create good, but the devil makes evil" we'd talk.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

No, I don't think we would even begin to talk -- because then we'd be talking about synthetic parallelism within the Hebrew Scriptures -- not antithetical parallelism. Synthetic parallelism is that in which the two members contain two disparate ideas, which, however, are connected by a certain affinity between them.

arachnophilia writes:

but that's not synthetic. look:


The tongue of the wise adorneth knowledge,
The mouth of the fool blurteth out folly.

mouth = tongue
wise ≠ fool
adorn ≠ blurt
knowledge ≠ folly.

all the words are opposites except one.

{god} create{s} good,
but the devil makes evil

god ≠ devil
create = make
good ≠ evil.

the structures are the same, and all of the words are opposite except one. it encompasses the same ideal, like the one above. the two lines share more than a certain affinity. one is the direct opposite of the other. it's classic contradiction in the bible.

synthetic, however, marches the idea forward a bit.

Alright, I think this is still debatable. For example, one case of synthetic parallelism is shown as "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction". In this sense, the contrast seems to be leading into a building up of God's sovereignty.

But I'll just make this easy and say you finally got me on one. I don't feel like arguing about passages that don't actually exist in the Hebrew Scriptures -- my bad.

Note: That passage that you made bears a striking resemblance to a Mormon holy text...


Whatsoever is good
cometh from God,
and whatsoever is evil
cometh from the devil

Alma 5:40

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

*sigh*

What does Isaiah 43:7 have to do with Isaiah 45:7? Yes, creations are mentioned in Isaiah 43:7 for sure -- yet I see absolutely no reference to any contrasts whatsoever -- not one.

arachnophilia writes:

no, you don't, do you? that's sort of the point. i'm just showing that bara', asah and yatsar are all synonyms.

NIV writes:

...everyone who is called by my name, whom I created [bara] for my glory, whom I formed [yatsar] and made [asah]."

They are obviously synonyms when used in Isaiah 43:7 because of the context that it is used in -- God is calling his chosen people. In this sense, everyone who is moved by the Spirit of God, who has lives that have been shaped and molded by God, have been called home.

I form [yasar] the light [or] and create [bara] darkness [hosek],
I bring [asah] prosperity [salom] and create [bara] disaster [ra]

The passage in Isaiah 45:7, however, is still showing an antithetical parallelism because bara (special creation) is in contrast to yasar (natural creation) in the same way that darkness (hosek) is in contrast to light (or).

Would you like me to explain why asah can be contrasted to bara in the same?

arachnophilia writes:

make has a similar meaning to create which has a similar meaning to form. they are not antonyms. do you agree?

In the passage of Isaiah 43:7, based on the context of the passage, yes I agree -- they are not antonyms.

In the passage of Isaiah 45:7, based on the context of the passage, no I disagree -- they are antonyms.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

But why are you talking Isaiah 45:18?
I thought we were discussing Isaiah 45:7?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

you were trying to say that "make" and "create" had different (opposite) meanings

Yes. And I'm still saying this.

arachnophilia writes:

this cannot be so.

According to you they cannot be so.

arachnophilia writes:

"i make _____" has to have the same meaning as "i create _____" no matter what the two blanks actually are. they are synonyms, not antonyms. do you agree?

In the context of Isaiah 45:7? No, I don't agree.

arachnophilia writes:

actually, if i recall, you were heartily arguing against that position.

I still am disagreeing with it. I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a flaw in your own logic that allows a way for evil to exist without it being created by God.

arachnophilia writes:

see, well, the first line of this post. if god made all things, god made all things -- including evil, chaos, and darkness. personally, i believe he did, and that later texts indicate this outright. i just don't believe it is indicated outright or even implied in genesis at all -- it just seems to be something they didn't really think through until later. however, evil is certainly among god's creations, even in the garden... they just seemed to think of it as a property of everyday life.

Actually, no.

For example, on the "third day" we read...

NIV writes:


Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morningthe third day.

Here we see God creating vegetation -- and we also see God qualifying all of it as "good".

Later, on the "sixth day", we also read...

NIV writes:


Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground everything that has the breath of life in itI give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morningthe sixth day.

Here we see God refining his original granting of vegetation for food. In fact, he says, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." He then further qualifies it by saying "all that he had made" ... "was very good".

Certainly at this point we are seeing that all the vegetation is good for man in some way, and that the green vegetation was for food -- which is part of the creation that God describes as "very good".

However, much later we read...

NIV writes:

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the groundtrees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now at last, after the creation account, we read that there is this tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In short, many simply believe that something went wrong in-between the time God "created" the trees and the time God "planted" the garden.

In fact, as I've pointed out before, Ezekial seems to describe something going seriously wrong in the garden -- and he seems to indicate that rebellion from God's will is what caused things to go wrong.

NIV writes:


You were the model of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz and emerald,
chrysolite, onyx and jasper,
sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.

You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.

Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, O guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.

Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.

Does this present a fair representation of the chronomology of the appearance of evil in the Hebrew Scriptures?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

However, the main difference between your argument and my argument is that you seem to believe that the Israelites thought that when God creates something, it means he literally created something tangible -- including good and evil, even including the adversary.

arachnophilia writes:

ah ha! no, actually i'm not!

Ok...maybe I've misunderstood your position here.

arachnophilia writes:

see, i think we're really arguing for the same thing, we just need to make each see that. the point of this debate is that i DON'T think the hebrews thought of evil as something tangible at all! nor even defined in the modern sense.

Ok...then present your position clearly then.

See, when you make a statement that you DON'T think the Hebrews thought of evil as something tangible at all -- I'm left scratching my said saying, "Well then why are you arguing with me and saying that evil is not the absence of God?". In other words, from my point of view (and what I believe the Hebrews believed too) evil is nothing. When I say that evil is the absence of God I'm essentially saying that evil is nothing -- the only reality is found in God.

Don't you understand this?

arachnophilia writes:

christianity, as a contrast, seems to have a VERY tangible of what evil is. evil is the devil, doing against what god says, disobedience -- and some outside force that acts on us.

Some Christians may hold this view. However, Catholics do not -- because, unlike the Eastern Orthodox and several Protestant groups, the Catholic Church believes that evil is intangible -- Catholics believe that evil does not have substance.

arachnophilia writes:

that rather, to hebrews, evils seems to have been a property that was somewhat arbitrarily thrown around. something could be good and evil at the same time, like knowledge. or, for that matter, god. but that's where i'm going.

Many of the points you said above are actually quite similar to some Christian groups -- including Catholicism when it comes to the idea of evil being a property that was somewhat arbitrarily thrown around. The concept of something being capable of both good and evil is certainly at the heart of many Protestant churches too -- particularly with the decision theologists which posit man sitting in the valley of decision capable of choosing their own path.

However, the Hebrews never spoke a passage of Scripture which outright states that God is evil -- but they've spoken many that say God is good. I've demonstated this before -- and I think you're taking too much liberties in claiming that that the Hebrews believed that God could be both good and evil at the same
time. God is good according to the Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

see, i think the parallelism in isaiah 45:7 is telling us something. i'll explain it in a way isaiah never would have thought of. we have an earth that spins on its axis. the transformation of day into night and night into day is essentially the same action: the rotation of the earth. the light that we are getting is essentially taken away from others. similarly, god cannot favor everyone at once. isaiah 45 is about declaring war.

Why can't God favor everyone at once?

Isaiah 45:1 writes:

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings,

arachnophilia writes:

god says, conquer these countries, and i'll reward you. god is giving favor to one king by taking it away from others -- this is politics. god making peace and creating evil, or making darkness and forming light is the very same action. it's saying that god is the one who choses who lives and dies -- god makes these decisions and separations, and continues to do so. i'm sure you agree so far, right?

No. I think God sent the Israelites against many of these countries because these countries had abominable practices in the eyes of God. The Israelites taking the promised land was not a reward but rather part of a greater strategic plan in order to fill the whole world with God's will.

For example Isaiah 42:6 says, "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles..."

Similarly, Isaiah 49:6 say, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

arachnophilia writes:

do you see why i've been making the points about "present tense" and the synonymous nature of the sentance? it kind of depends on that for it to even make sense. now, i know your thought: "but that's


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by arachnophilia, posted 07-23-2005 5:02 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by arachnophilia, posted 07-31-2005 1:16 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded
 Message 31 by arachnophilia, posted 08-23-2005 2:46 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 293 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 30 of 102 (228022)
07-31-2005 1:16 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-24-2005 11:03 AM


Re: on topic, i promise.
Yes, but his "creating evil" basically equals man going against his goodness which he has fore-ordained. In other words, his intention is good for people -- until they decide to go against his will. It's not that God is the source of evil. It's that he's controlling the outcome of our actions so that regardless of whether we do his will or not, his will WILL be accomplished.

there's nothing in the isaiah verse that says that, and it's plainly contradicted by the other verse which we have discussed in part and will again. god's "creating evil" is because of man going against his will, yes. but god creating evil ≠ man creating evil. one evil is in response to the other, like in the ezekiel verse.

I guess the point is that, if it is indeed antithetical (as the sources I've read seem to believe),

i suggest we end this little bit, as we don't really agree on what makes something antithetical, and it's actually a bit moot. what's the difference, exactly?

then there is a distinct contrast being presented in the Isaiah text.

between one kind of creation and the other? as i've shown, they are very clearly synonymous, and used to mean the same things. but, let's suppose you're right, and look at that supposed contrast. what does 'bara usually mean? how else is it used?

it's used for the creation of heaven and earth. it's used for the creation of the tanniyn. it's used for the creation of man. it's used to describe signs, and miracles. these are all things god seems to be doing directly, and personally. and these are all special things.

why should the word mean anything different here? it's not indicating god's abscence. it's indicating god's presence.

As I said before, the meaning of the word "ra" seems very much dependent on how it is being employed within the Scriptures themselves -- and it doesn't always imply "evil" in the sense of someone maliciously and willfully determined to cause or inflict harm on another.

what i'm suggesting is that evil in that sense doesn't actually exist within the text.

More specifically, since the word "ra" is being used in context with the word "bara", it seems more appropriate to conclude that the evil that is being "brought about" is more the result of the effects of one's action cutting themselves off from God's will

it doesn't work that way. it says "I [God] create evil." not "evil is the result of people cutting themselves off from me."

this seems even more so considering that "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or
"carve".

i've already pointed out that this is a funny translation, and not what the hebrew says. but if that doesn't work for you, notice the tenses: "cut" is only use in the piel. both bara's in isaiah 45:7 are qal. wrong tense. you can't just change the meaning of the sentance at will. it says: "I [God] create evil." not "I cut down evil."

In other words, like I said above, unlike the "yasar" used to describe God bringing forth light, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else. Even the darkness in Genesis is "caused" by being "separated" or "divided" from the light which God originally formed.

no, in genesis the darkness is there before the light. night and day are created by division, but the darkness was there before the light was divided from it. and even still -- it's not using it in the sense that you seem to think it is. god is doing the dividing, not man. it's used grammatically the same as in genesis 1, except that it's a present participle verb, not a past perfect. but both are qal, and both are used the same way in the sentance. god creating the earth is the same as god creating evil, grammatically. the only difference is that god is not STILL creating the earth.

Take a look at the literal translation of when God "makes a covenant" anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, and I think you'll my point about "cutting" being synonomous to "making" being emphasized more.

but evil is not synonymous to good? the problem is that it's the wrong barah -- it's the one with an h. they sound alike, but they don't have the same meaning. (the cutting and eating references elsewhere could be related to this word, actually. language evolves, but root words ≠ usage.)

for instance, if i say "i've read this whole book" i don't mean i took a crayon or a can of paint and colored it all red, do i? and i don't mean that i put a hole through the book either. the words sound the same, but they don't have the same meaning. homonyms do not prove relation.

When I look to the definition of "covenant", I'm reading the Hebrew word berith -- which primarilly means "a cutting" with reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying the coventant.

or circumcision. it's not related to the other bara' directly. both might share a common origin, but it'd be awful hard to prove.

I will note that the seventh day began in Genesis -- but it never actually said that it was finished yet. In other words, from the first to the sixth day, God basically ends it with something like, "And there was evening, and there was morning -- the Xth day."

because the 7th day is special. instead of just "the evening and the morning were the n'th day," is says "god blessed and sanctified it." same structure, but different wording for the holy day. check the first 3 and a half verses of genesis 2. day 7 is over.

Yes, but you cannot read one verse from Isaiah to the exclusion of the other verse in Isaiah. If Isaiah says in one passage that God creates evil, and then he says in another passage that he turns evil into good, it seems highly likely that God can also allow good to be turned into evil -- which is exactly what Isaiah warns that people do in Isaiah 5:20...

no, not exactly. in the verse we're discussing, it's about distinctions. it's saying that god chooses the victors and losers in a battle. this other verse (5:20) is condemning those that mix the two up, morally.

Light and darkness are clearly not synonymous. Neither are good and evil.

yet light and dark forms one day. skipping down a bit.

In Hebrew day and night comprise of one [echad] day.
...
However, nowhere do the Scriptures actually state that good and evil are one [echad]. Likewise, nowhere does the Hebrew Scriptures actually state that light and darkness are actually one [echad] -- except in relation to the physical events of day and night. Not once are these "pairs" of good and evil described in such a fashion as a unified one with the word "echad".

quote:
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

knowing good and evil seems to form one GOD, or person of god-like qualities. apparently. good and evil are united in the tree, and in god, and now apparently in man. before this point -- the division of morality so to speak, man seemed to be unaware of either in specific. thus he was easily duped by the serpent and/or eve, who also probably did not know better.

Yes they do -- synonymous parallelisms do work with synonyms in the English sense of the word so long as they are literally translated. The trouble comes when one is not aware of the Hebrew idioms that may be expressed within the synonymous parallelism.
...
But we're not talking about English are we? We're talking about Hebrew -- specifically what the Israelites believed when they wrote their Hebrew Scriptures.

exactly. and good and evil are a pair. these aren't even things we really have to think about. biblical lore and language is so ingrained in our culture that we can pick these things out pretty easily. day/night, sun/moon, heaven/earth, good/evil, life/death. some of them are opposites, some of them are not. yet each shares some commonality with the other, especially in the more synonymous pairings: flesh/bone, etc...

While I admit that light occurs with dark in reference to day and night making one day (which is a physical process), it needs to be stated that good can exist without evil. It seems to be evil that cannot exist without good -- that evil needs good in order to define itself.

similarly, light needed darkness to define itself. oh wait, that's backwards, sorry. we're generally agreed, i think, that the theme of creation is order from chaos, nevermind the ex-nihilo stuff. we've talked before about the leviathan-lothan connection, and the role of the deep as chaos. i'd like to suggest that the natural state of things is evil. the chaos is evil. and leviathan is evil (his image is used to depict the devil in revelation.)

this is, i should point out, totally consistent with your point. if god, being the source of "good" went away, the universe would by nature revert to "evil," would it not? so evil then can be expressed as an abscence of god -- which is your point exactly if i'm correct. and that's fine. i agree with that. it's not what this verse in isaiah is saying, but that's an acceptable view of things. now, this is of course begging a question:

if evil is a lack of god's presence -- and the universe is naturally evil -- why?

It is the Middle East for sure. But no, the Hebrew philosophy does not rest on the idea that opposites often compliment each other. Opposites seem to be employed in order to further define their ideas more clearly -- but the indivual objects that are "paired" can nonetheless be described on their own by their own characteristics independant of their "coupling".

yes, they can. like i said, "almost."

Actually, the whole structure is in contrast in this verse...

Synonymous writes:

Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.

your examples contain it as an example of synonymous. if they're mistaken on this one, couldn't they presumably be mistaken on the other one too? not that they are, but it shows you're nto following the rules you claim to be.

This is a no-brainer. The conclusion is that "I" {meaning God) "do all these things."

and "all these things" included creating evil and darkness. ie: it's not man's actions at work here -- it's god's.

Then why is bara used only in special situations, such heaven and earth themselves, man, and these (supernatural) serpents -- as you yourself have noted?

Are we not seeing a contrast between God's "special creations" and God's "natural creations" when Isaiah invokes bara for "darkness" and yasar for "light" respectively?

no, we are not. here's a special creation:

quote:
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make ('asah) man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

the next verse uses bara' to refer to the same event -- making man. i'm sorry, but they're synonyms. why are you even arguing this point? the "special" creations are the ones that are actually made PHYSICALLY by god. this would suggest that god is physically creating evil. now, if you wanted to argue that the contrast is that god is indirectly creating light, that would make sense.

and be consisten with genesis's description of god creating light:

quote:
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

no bara there. so in isaiah, it would seem, that god is actually making the evil, but just commanding the good to happen. but hey, if you wanna go back to my synonym reading, that's cool too.

I'll also note that you seem to believe that good and evil are synonymous -- based on your understanding of "day" and "night" being considered synonymous -- which seems to be another misunderstanding. Day and night are synonymous in regards to compriseing one day, but light and darkness are not synonymous in the sense of comprising one of...well...anything.

Where in the Scriptures does it say that good and evil are considered one echad of something in the same way that day and night are considered one echad day?

it doesn't matter if they form one of anything or not, or if they are synonymous. i tried to be pretty clear on this in the other post. all that matters is that they are commonly paired.

If the Israelites believed that God was the ultimate source of both good and evil (insteead of just good), then why do they not once just outright state that God is evil in the same way that they outright state that God is good?

because "source of evil" and "being evil" are different things. god is not evil. god cannot be evil. it's a logical contradiction for them. god defines what is good, so god must be good. when god uses evil, god is good for doing so (see the bottom for allegorical examples). it's kind of a wierd logic, i know. but i suspect this how they thought. look at the views of god using evil. is god evil for using evil?

another possibility is that they believed saying "god is evil" would be blasphemy and they would be punished for it. kind of a "tugging on superman's cape" kind of thing. don't mess with the bigger guy.

I actually think you're borrowing more from the Eastern religions (such as the eternal cycles of Yin and Yang), than any opinions the Israelites held when you make this statement. I've seen no passages of Scripture which states that good equals evil -- never -- not even once.

except for this one. but that'd be circular logic on my part. i'm not saying that "the net force of good = the net force of evil." i'm saying that here they are two sides of the same coin. god is making both, because the two sides can't both win. that's all i'm saying, really. that here they are equating good and evil to the same action.

It moves in the direction that God is in control for sure -- and it's reasurring to those readers who are trusting in God to know that he is in control no matter how bad things look. But it is not stating that good compliments evil -- or that good cannot exist without evil for that matter.

no, it probably isn't.

Well...I'm glad you explained that -- because now I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

i'm saying that antithesis reinforces the same idea through the equivalent of a double negative.

you could say (random made up verse):
God loves only the good,
but hates the wicked.

the second line is kind of implied from the first. it's not expressing the opposite idea. since love and hate are antonyms, and good and wicked are antonyms, the two cancel each other out grammatically. it's like saying "that movies wasn't bad" to mean it was good. it's not exactly the same concept, but it's the same basic direction.

I've pointed out where some of your assertions here may be generallly incorrect above. For example, what you call a synonym might actually be more accurately noted as a contrast between "special" and "natural" creations.

except for the fact that i keep demonstrating that THEY MEAN THE SAME THING. they're used as synonyms everywhere else.

The Isaiah passage is clearly saying, "I create good, and I make evil."

no, the opposite. if you insist it's making a distinction, let's get it straight. god MAKES (indirect) good; god CREATES (special) evil.

I think the Isaiah passage means that God is in control regardless of whether good or evil befalls someone -- that all things work according to his will.

yes, that appears to be the general meaning. so, god is in control of evil then, right?

All in all, the Scriptures depict God creating by a) bringing things into existence, b) structuring the things he has created by separating them into more individualized components,

yes. yes.

or c) withdrawing so as to create by virtue of his inactivity by allowing things to flow according to their own volition.

no! this is never a method of god creating, unless you want to argue that god created free will that way. but good is as much of a part of free will as evil is. in no other example does god create by abscence. the only bits that describe creation happening on its own are the places it DOES NOT use the words create, make, or form. it says "let the earth bring forth."

In this sense, I believe that Isaiah is employing antithetical parrallelism in order to display that God is sovereign over all things -- that even if evil happens, then he has a plan in order to potentially turn the evil into something good..

that's not what isaiah is saying at all. that might be an implication of other verse on the topic, but it's not in this one. in this one, good and evil are weighed equally, and both under the control of god, created by god. others mention greater good -- this one is about awesome might.

Anyway, what do you actually think it's saying? I know you believe it means what it says -- that God creates good and God make evil. But what are you getting at beyond this?

i've elaborated a few times. i think the "good" is referencing victory, and the "evil" referencing defeat. but one army's victory IS the other army's defeat. it's just a fact of life that there are both winners AND losers. i think it's saying that god choses who's who. do you agree that this the most sensible reading, given the context?

Hold on a moment here. Even in the case of when things are authentically being "paired", this doesn't necessarilly imply "equality" at all.

For example, the sun and moon are certainly paired. However, the sun is described as the greater light whereas the moon is descibed as the lesser light. Man and woman are certainly paired. However, again, according to the patriarchal society that the Israelites emerged from, man was considered greater than woman. When light is actually paired with darkness, the light is always being shown in a way in which it is either piercing, dispersing, or separating the darkness -- again implying that light is greater than darkness. Likewise, the heavens are certainly considered greater than the earth. Similarly, when evil is actually contrasted against good, good is certainly presented as the greater choice by which one should follow.

How on earth can you claim that these pairings are equal at all?

i'm not. i'm just claiming that the verse equates them. good is always viewed as greater than evil -- but here they are equal in the respect that god makes both. and especially in equal in that they seem to be the same event from two different sides -- see above.

(also, off topic for a second. though man is always literally described as "greater" than woman, women are generally portrayed by the bible as better than men in some respects. the archetype of stupid man/smart woman seems to be present pretty commonly. men are "greater" because the smarter woman seems to use her intelligence for evil more than man does... but that's another whole discussion)

Did you even read through those links I posted?

yes. i don't think they support your assertion much.

But I already listed this passage as a synonymous parallelism -- so why are you going into such great detail about why it's not synthetic parallelism?

because "thousands" and "ten thousands" are a pair. and if we didn't understand that they were a pair, we might thing that it was trying to show that david was a worse tyrant than saul (when the case seems to be the OPPOSITE). if we didn't know about the pairing, we might think that one is increasing and contrasting the other -- turning it into a synthetic.

that's why your logic regarding isaiah 45:7 is wrong: because of the pair. both halves of each line are expressing the idea of god creating something -- it's COMPARING, not contrasting, just like this verse is not contrasting david and saul, but comparing them.

I'm not going to rag you out. However, I would like to hear these same thoughts from an more authoritative source.

can it wait a little? if i get an opportunity, i'll find my old prof on campus and ask him if he can refer me to some material.

Note: That passage that you made bears a striking resemblance to a Mormon holy text...

Whatsoever is good
cometh from God,
and whatsoever is evil
cometh from the devil

Alma 5:40

ironic, because normally i agree with mormon philosophy. ah well. glad i didn't become a mormon then.

The passage in Isaiah 45:7, however, is still showing an antithetical parallelism because bara (special creation) is in contrast to yasar (natural creation) in the same way that darkness (hosek) is in contrast to light (or).

Would you like me to explain why asah can be contrasted to bara in the same?

yes, actually. find me a verse where bara' and 'asah or yatsar don't mean the same thing. i suspect that you can't, because i'm rather certain they're pretty close synonyms. i mean, the number of times they're used to mean the same thing is downright impressive.

quote:
Gen 2:4 These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

quote:
Gen 5:1 This [is] the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

quote:
Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

i mean, these are special creations here too. i don't see how it can be a contrast, since one can and does refer to the other. they're used interchangeably. not to refer to slightly different things -- but the very same things.

In the passage of Isaiah 43:7, based on the context of the passage, yes I agree -- they are not antonyms.

In the passage of Isaiah 45:7, based on the context of the passage, no I disagree -- they are antonyms.

oy, you're about as contradictory as the book of proverbs. how do you justify that two words can mean the same thing, but also be opposites? and if they can do that, why can't "good" and "evil?"

I still am disagreeing with it. I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a flaw in your own logic that allows a way for evil to exist without it being created by God.

but that's your entire point. that evil is not created by god. look, like i said, i'm taking this one step at a time. first that god creates some evil, then god creates all evil, then that god created evil originally. each is the implication of the one before it. but first i have to get you to agree that when it says "god creates evil" in some specific instance, it MEANS "god creates evil" and not some other weird mental-gymnastic interpretation involving a bunch of stuff that's not actually there.

In short, many simply believe that something went wrong in-between the time God "created" the trees and the time God "planted" the garden.

the first "it is not good" is the result of god's own creation -- man, and his loneliness. there's nothing about anything going wrong in the garden of eden, except for god not doing something good enough the first time.

In fact, as I've pointed out before, Ezekial seems to describe something going seriously wrong in the garden -- and he seems to indicate that rebellion from God's will is what caused things to go wrong.

dear god, not this again.

Does this present a fair representation of the chronomology of the appearance of evil in the Hebrew Scriptures?

no. it does not. this is interpretive poetry. it's using the imagery of the cherubims who gaurd the garden after adam and eve leave as a metaphor for the king of tyre's duty to protect his citizens. the king = the cherub and the garden = tyre. this is similar to the leviathan reference in revelation. leviathan is not the devil, yet the devil is portrayed using his image. it's a metaphor. -- don't accuse *ME* of being over-literal.

See, when you make a statement that you DON'T think the Hebrews thought of evil as something tangible at all -- I'm left scratching my said saying, "Well then why are you arguing with me and saying that evil is not the absence of God?". In other words, from my point of view (and what I believe the Hebrews believed too) evil is nothing. When I say that evil is the absence of God I'm essentially saying that evil is nothing -- the only reality is found in God.

Don't you understand this?

i do, but i don't agree. what i'm arguing is the difference between objective and subjective. they didn't even seem to think of evil as DEFINED, let alone solid. it's that chaos we're talking about. it's formless. when god puts it into a form, it becomes good. see? it's sort of the same idea, but not quite.

but more importantly, "evil" as a word seems to describe things that are just bad, not the godless deeds of some devil. it CAN be the work of god, if god does something that's bad to someone.

Why can't God favor everyone at once?

why can't everyone win the superbowl?

No. I think God sent the Israelites against many of these countries because these countries had abominable practices in the eyes of God. The Israelites taking the promised land was not a reward but rather part of a greater strategic plan in order to fill the whole world with God's will.

right. but their defeat was "evil" to them. part of god's good.

Yes, but you still seem to be presenting "evil" as in morally evil. Sometimes the word for evil simply meant things like painful, bad and/or suffering -- but not always specifically a malignant intent to inflict harm.

mmhmm.

Based on our human perceptions yes. But God is not evil. He is good -- as the Hebrew Scriptures repeatedly state over and over again. If we perceive his actions as evil, it's because we're going against his will -- not the other way around. We don't define what's good and evil. God does

yeah.

But it's his "good actions" which are called bad by those who rebel against his will. God is not doing bad. He's doing good -- which others perceive as bad. In other words, we're the ones calling good evil.

probably, yes. my point is that "evil" is something subjective in terms of the authors of the bible.

No. If he had obeyed, the book would have most likely just been shorter than it already is. Jonah did not have to rebel against God in order to complete God's will. God was going to complete it regardless of whether Jonah obeyed or not.

yes, and that's kind of the point of story. however, in order for that lesson to be in the bible... jonah had to disobey.

So then God never does evil. Evil is merely a perception on the part of humanity when we go against God.

that i would argue is a pretty sound reading of the text. this could in fact be the end of our debate, depending on the answer to this question: biblically, do you think "evil" exists as a force outside of human moral perception?

Why is Faith going to kill you?

use of the word "liberal." nevermind.

It's evil because people forsake God. In other words, God sending evil against people = people going against God. God's not intentially causing the evil. People are doing it to themselves when they go against God's will.

well, no. god intentionally does it, and that's pretty clear from the text. god makes the decisions, god sends the evils and the evil spirits. god could concievably forgive too -- as he often does. the evil itself is a choice on the part of god.

It's pain and disaster --- not a malignant attempt to inflict harm.

well, it's still inflicting harm, isn't it? but then again, so are vaccines. looked at from the small picture (where we're starting) a vaccine could be seen as intentionally inflicting harm on the body. on the larger picture, a vaccine though mildy and temporarily harmful, is a good thing, and builds the immune system. similarly, excercise actually destroys muscle tissue. on the tiny scale, it's harmful. god's use of evil, in regards to israel/judah at least, seems to something similar. destroying the hebrews so they can be rebuilt stronger. so god's use of small-scale harm is actually for the greater good.

the problem is that we live on the small scale, not the god-scale. and so some might perceive this as maliganant and morally wrong. the other big question seems to be whether or not god inflicts harm.

I think Maimonides' goes too far in stressing that God is "holy" to the point that anytime God is presented in the Scriptures he seems to view it as a vision. In other words, in Maimonides' view, since God is totally "set apart", he also needs to be something "distinct from creation itself". However, his other views on evil seem appealing to many including both Muslims and Catholics in addition to some modern Jews today.

well the idea of god being totally unlike his creation is a bad one. it's tradition, i know, and tradition dies hard. but on some degree we are like god according to the bible. we are made in his image, and we know right from wrong. i don't think his opinions hold at all --

-- creation CANNOT be thoroughly good. otherwise it would be like god. and that's a big problem with that logic. it contradicts itself. evidently, creation is not currently thoroughly good, either. so what happened, exactly? where did the bad come from? from god's absence? if god's creation turns evil when he takes a coffee break, it's not too thoroughly good is it?

logic does not side with maimonides.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-24-2005 11:03 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 09-03-2005 7:45 PM arachnophilia has responded
 Message 39 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-03-2005 12:04 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

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