Tuesday, 3 September 2013

More Complex Comments

Readers who are easily bored may wish to look away now

If there's anyone out there who knows what they're talking about on the following, your comments would be very welcome indeed. I'm very much an amateur in all areas of Christianity, so what I've cobbled together from bits and bobs of knowlege may actually be a bit wayward.


I've had too much time on my hands of late so have continued to write excessively long comments on a protestant website. My latest offering was in response to this
Francesco, you do need to read Hebrews 4:12 where we are told that the bible is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword……..discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The bible is God-breathed. It is HIS word left to us and is fully able to train up the man of God in all his ways. Study the word, Francesco. You can read the bible backward and forward and come away with no understanding if you are not seeking God’s heart and truth. Even the devil knows the bible completely yet he is not surrendered to Christ. If you are a true believer, the bible is all that you need. As for traditions, Jesus spoke against tradition. He said in Matthew 15 “For the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites!” I have no idea what your verse from a Christmas carol was supposed to prove? Mary was used to bring the incarnate Christ into this world but she has no more a relationship to Christ than does any believer! God is not a respecter of persons. In Scripture, when Mary and her sons showed up where Jesus was, Jesus said, “Who is my mother, my brother or my sister? ANYONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER is my mother,my brother and my sister.” Jesus HIMSELF said that. Can it get any clearer?
and read as follows.
A couple of very basic points to get us going.

First. Perhaps the most obvious. When Hebrews 4:12 was written, there was no Bible. The Bible (as I've already said once on this tread) was compiled by Pope Damasus I in 382AD. The epistle to the Hebrews was written in 63-64AD. How could the author, a human, possibly know a) that his work would be included in this compilation, b) what else would be in this compilation, and most obviously of all c) that there would be a compilation. If God had taken the trouble to write it out Himself then I would willingly believe his omniscience would have encompassed his knowlege of Pope Damasus's doings, but since He didn't, I don't believe that the author of Hebrews did foresee the events of the Council of Rome.

Second. If you would like to throw around Bible quotations with no context and therefore almost no meaning, two can play at that game. I might even feel the need, being a Catholic, to understand what they say on a deeper level. Who knows.

On the cross Jesus told Mary "woman, behold your son", indicating the beloved disciple (who when referred to as such represents not only the Church herself, but all her members) and then to the beloved He said "Behold your mother". Now clearly they are not talking in literal terms since it goes on to say that from that time forth the disciple took her into his home. The custom of the time was that a man lived with his parents until their deaths so there is no question of a son taking his mother into his home since he would already have been living in her home. What Jesus is telling us, in a way so beautiful as to indicate His possession of the fulness of that quality, is that Mary is mother of the Church and that we are her children but not only that, but that we are to love her and take her into our lives. With a little context, suddenly a much maligned passage becomes not only clear but starkly relevant and challenging to those who object to marian devotion. Jesus himself said that, can I make it any clearer?

Third. You misunderstand what Catholics mean by "tradition". We don't mean how many tassles on a maniple or the colour of pom poms on a biretta as modern day Catholic pharisees do. The Church's use of the word refers to the intellectual tradition, the purifying of doctrine to what Christ intended in what He taught and the application of that doctrine.

Fourth. The verse from the carol does not prove anything, it illustrates the difference in relationship that she does have with her son. As I have previously explained this difference does not come about by the mere fact she birthed him, but because she was without sin.

Now that prosaic and most obvious bit is out of the way I'll have to take a gamble that the Greek and Hebrew characters in the following make it through the "post comment" button: [it did]

Lets look at that greek word "λόγος" that you translated as "the Bible". It's one of the most used words in the New tastament (Strong's Concordance notes 316 mentions) and roughly equivalent to the word "אֵמֶר" in Hebrew which crops up (according to Strong again) 53 times in the Old Testament. Strong (a hearty American protestant) gives the following definition for the word "λόγος" something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation" but the important bit is how strong follows these translations. He writes: "specifically, with the article in John, the Divine Expression (that is, Christ)".

Let's have a look at why he felt so confident in this assertion: that the word λόγος had little to do with literal "words" in the biblical context.

Philo Judaeus's contact with Greek philosophy allowed him to first coalesce the hebrew concept of "חכמה" with the hellenstic concept of "Σοφíα" which Philo termed "λόγος" by roughly 50AD. This Σοφíα was the mediator between God the Creator and man, a concept which Hebrews knew as "מלאך יהוה", that is "messenger of the Lord". Suddenly this whole "λόγος" is looking increasingly like it's actually talking about Our Lord Himself rather than the pages of a compilation of documents put together by some fourth century pope. If you were to quibble with this I need to look no further that John 1 for the perfect rebuke for your idea. He writes in that epic hymn to λόγος that it "became flesh and dwelt amongst us". Last time I checked, no copies of the Bible had a pulse. The author of the Hebrews was aware of the philonian philosophy and so it seems obvious that he and pseudo-John are in accord. It has been speculated that this hymn may have been lifted or adapted from an earlier source, so John 1 and Hebrews may be closer to each other chronologically than the rough estimate of completion of John's Gospel thirty years later suggests. Regardless, nethier have any interest in the Bible, they are talking about Christ. Christ is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. The Bible is an inanimate object and can give you a paper cut. The Christ which it describes pierces the soul with his loving gaze.

I suggest that you not only go back and study the words in the Bible, Marianne, because that can only ever give you part of the picture. I suggest you look at their context and maybe then you might find some more profound meaning in them.
Asides from that it lacks of charity and so cannot be from God, does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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