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Mr. Ex Nihilo
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.
From: Denver,Colorado USA
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.
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.
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Thank you for the quick response. I'll do my best to keep well within the spirit of your decision.
From: god's waiting room
it is absolutely not a belief issue. right now we're on the first part of the debate:
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:
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.
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.
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.
From: god's waiting room
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
Mr. Ex Nihilo
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...
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.
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
Mr. Ex Nihilo
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.
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.
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...
I also specifically clarified this point before in another thread (the thread which lead up to this debate).
Or, again, elsewhere within that message...
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...
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.
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.
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?
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
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 für 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 "Jahrbücher für Protestantische Theologie," i. 122) and in Egyptian (Georg Ebers, "Nord und Süd," 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 Völkergedanke"] 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 Schrifterklärung des Abulwalid," p. 39.).
Schöttgen ("Horæ Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ", 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 ("Horæ 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 Schöttgen'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
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 Hebræorum Prælectiones," 1753, Lecture xix.; and "Preliminary Dissertation to Isaiah," 1778, pp. 12-26). Bishop Lowth (De Sarca Poesi Hebræorum, 1753; Isaiah, 1778) based his investigations upon the studies of Schöttgen 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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good and evil are synonymous? Light and darkness are synonymous?
Thank you for a nearly textbook definition of antithetical parallelism by the way.
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), Schöttgen (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.
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.
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.
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.
But why are you talking Isaiah 45:18?
I thought we were discussing Isaiah 45:7?
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...
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:
To this point I myself responded:
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...
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....
...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...
Here's another example in Job 32:8...
And here's yet another example in Psalm 33:6...
However, having said this, apparently according to this same breath, we see God doing the following in Job 4:9...
A similar concept is expressed back further in Exodus 15:10...
And later we see a similar concept in 2 Samuel 22:16 as follows...
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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,
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.
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
From: god's waiting room
in the interest of expediting this topic, i'm going to more or less ignore the bits which aren't on topic.
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:
while this is somewhat true, i think, it's not totally true. here's why:
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.
or word. the two are often interchangeable. the ideas are somewhat similar, and breath is common, yes.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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.
unfortunately, no. even if i took notes in class, i doubt you'd accept them.
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:
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:
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?
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)
"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.
while sort of true, look at the facts.
had the verbs been antonyms, it would antithetical: "I create good, but destroy evil." but that's not what it says, is it?
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.
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:
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):
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.
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.
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:
still synonymous. (though if i didn't know sun/moon and day/night were pairs, it'd be antithetical)
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?
and "good" is off the same word formulæ as "evil." predefined pair.
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:
if isaiah 45:7 is antithetical, that has to be too.
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.
but that's not synthetic. look:
mouth = tongue
all the words are opposites except one.
god ≠ devil
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
sounds like a reasonable argument. can we come back to it?
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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 "God’s created world is thoroughly good."
so this begs a question or two:
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
From: god's waiting room
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
Mr. Ex Nihilo
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.
Try working on sub-titles. It might help focus the discussion.
Are you good folk running in too many directions?
From: god's waiting room
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.
Mr. Ex Nihilo
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.
I think so. I think the Israelites believed this too.
Alright. If you're going to discuss this later, I won't comment at this time then.
Ok, we're agreed here then.
Ok, so we're agreed here too -- I think. I'll wait to see what you propose later.
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
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".
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...
Yet nowehre do I read, "And there was evening, and there was morning—the seventh day.
This implies to me that the seventh day is still on-going.
Can you show me a passage which actually says the seventh day finished?
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
Light and darkness are clearly not synonymous. Neither are good and evil.
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.
Then why do the Hebrew Scriptures say this?
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.
Ok, let's take a look at it.
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:
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
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.
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 it’s 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.
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"?
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
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. :(
Actually, the whole structure is in contrast in this verse...
...because day and night comprise one [echad] day.
What does good and evil comprise one [echad] of?
*special note: frequently, however, there are one or more synonymous elements in both members, thus making the contrast more emphatic
Here...I'll repost the passage so that we can break down your logic more visibly here...
I'll post little notes as I'm reading through this.
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?
Good and evil are not considered both "equal but opposite ideas". They are defintiely considered opposite -- but they are certainly not considered equal.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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?
What do you mean?
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.
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?.
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?
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.
It's not my definition arachnophilia.
Did you even read through those links I posted?
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?.
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.
So what exactly are you saying here?
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.
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.
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"?
I have and I'm honestly not that impressed. :(
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...
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],
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?
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.
Yes. And I'm still saying this.
According to you they cannot be so.
In the context of Isaiah 45:7? No, I don't agree.
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.
For example, on the "third day" we read...
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...
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...
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.
Does this present a fair representation of the chronomology of the appearance of evil in the Hebrew Scriptures?
Ok...maybe I've misunderstood your position here.
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?
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.
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
Why can't God favor everyone at once?
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."
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