Tuesday 7 August 2007

Bob's Bible Blender

Bob Thiel is in attack mode, and his latest target is the hapless Ken Westby and ACD.

I've never met Westby, and I'm pretty far removed from his weltanschau, but he seems a decent bloke with a track record of acting on principle. I personally don't share his unitarian enthusiasm, but that's largely because I think he's asking the wrong questions. But does that mean it's okay to label the guy a "heretic"?

Heresy is in the eye of the beholder. There's something incongruous about Bob pasting the label on Ken when Bob is an apologist for the Living Church of God, a sect widely regarded as heretical itself.

Bob writes: I believe that what A.C.D. does and stands for is dangerous and at least two of its teachings need to be denounced as heresy–the first being the denial of Jesus being God and the second being the denial of portions of the New Testament being scripture... A.C.D. is promoting heresy by teaching that Jesus is not God. Yet Jesus is God and that is what the Bible clearly teaches.

Hold your horses Bob, just what do you mean "the Bible clearly teaches"?

The Bible is a collection of documents written over centuries, composed in various genres and grounded in changing cultures. What Leviticus teaches needn't be what Galatians teaches. Mark's understanding of Jesus is different in many ways from John's. To use the jargon, Mark's earlier Christology is low, John's is high. Putting all the books of the Old and New Testaments into the LCG blender and whizzing them around till they come out as homogeneous pulp is just plain stupid. Each biblical writer needs to be heard individually before making sweeping generalizations (or Fred Coulter-type harmonizations) based on cut 'n paste proof texts severed in bloody chunks from the living documents.

But then, Armstrongism Ancient & Modern knows no other way to approach the Bible. Chuck it in the blender and pick out the bits you like that float to the top. This then can be defended as "the Bible interpreting itself." Why is Rod Meredith allowed to see some things differently in 2007 to Herbert Armstrong back in 1967, while Mark in 50 CE must be squished into the same identical mold as John in 95 CE or thereabouts? This is a woeful understanding of inspiration.

A.C.D. denies the diety [sic] of Christ and questions the Gospel that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write and apparently other passages of scripture. A.C.D. is thus promoting dangerous heresies and should be denounced by those who believe that they are in the true Church of God.

Bob fails to mention that non-unitarians engaged F. Paul Haney and other speakers at the conference in Albany. They seem to have done so with a spirit of generosity and openness, with no indication of name calling and anathemas. I'm also guessing that David Sielaff (who spoke against the unitarian position) at least knows how to spell deity.

As for Bob objecting to the idea of "the denial of portions of the New Testament being scripture," well, maybe he would like to tell us all whether he regards the "Johannine coda" (1 John 5:7-8 in ye olde King James Version) as scriptural.

Westby et al invite us to think about our binatarian assumptions. Why is that a problem? Either they can make a convincing case or they can't. Bob's latest outburst of outrage - what Brian Knowles calls heresy hunting - offers nothing constructive to that debate.


Douglas Becker said...

Hear O Israel, God is One God.

I mean, what's so hard about that?

Why let the Bible get in the way?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Diehl: Just too lazy to keep signing up for google.

"Hear O Israel, God is One God."

Yes, after a long evolution from the supreme Canaanite god "El" who was head of the Elohim, or council of the gods.

Contrary to the Bible’s fantastic stories of the Israelites arising in Egypt and later conquering and exterminating the Canaanites, the view of many non-apologetic scholars, archaeologists and critical thinkers is that the Israelites, instead, lazily arose out of the Canaanites and hence likely assimilated much of Canaanite culture and religion. No theology developes in a vacuum.

Here is a comparison of the Ugarit gods and those mentioned in the Bible. The Ugarit culture dominated the region before Canaanites or Israelites came on the scene.

Ugarit god: El - Chief god, father of mankind, creator

Bible god: El(ohim/ohym) - One of the names for God in the OT (similar attributes)

Ugarit god: Yawu - One of El’s sons

Bible god: Yahweh/Yehovah - Another name for God in the OT

Ugarit god: Shachar - God of dawn (the morning star)

Bible god (Hebrew word): Shachar - father of Lucifer/Satan - Isaiah 14:12 (Strong’s), (Curiously, from the origins, this makes Satan the grandson of Elohim and the nephew of Yahweh).

Ugarit god: Asherah or Elat - wife of El, mother of Yawu (Yahweh)

Bible god: Asherah is mentioned many times in the Bible as an image of a false goddess. (see 2 Chr 15:16 in either the NRSV or Strong’s for example) Consort of El may have been Asherah and edited out of OT text the same way goddess worship was by blaming females for the fall of man and relegating them to saying 'yes sir' to the husband and having babies painfully, as if that was some new thing.

Ugarit god: Baal - Nature / fertility god

Bible god: Baal - Numerous mentions in the Bible, see Judges 2:13 for example

Ugarit god: Yam - god of the primordial chaos, tempests, and mass-destruction

Bible god (Hebrew word): Yam - Hebrew word for “sea” mentioned numerous times in the Bible (see Strong’s)

Ugarit god: Shalem - god of peace and the sunset

Jewish name: Jerusalem (Uru-shalemu, village of Shalem) may have been named for this god

That earlier forms of Judaism may have been polytheistic is indicated by obvious editing of the Pentateuch. Often God is referring to “us” or speaking to someone not revealed in stories (i.e. Let “us” make man in our own image…” and "now the man will become like us, knowing good from evil.."there fore let us..." This was info for the gods only evidently).

Also the word for God is often in Hebrew plural form. It’s likely that the stories once portrayed a pantheon of gods which were later edited into a single God when Judaism became monotheistic.

Note that Christian apologetics try to explain away the plural nature or God’s schizophrenic self conversations as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit talking amongst themselves.

The God of the OT and the Big Ten noted "you shall have no other gods before me..." Can best be under stood as "You shall bring no other gods into my presence, for I the Lord, am YOUR God and not the God of those others. I am jealous and don't like competition. If you bring them into my presence, I will punish you,your kids,your grandkids and your dog."

Gods evolve and the God of the Hebrews and the Christian Church was no different in participating in that process as humans tried to think through and explain how it all is.

Bob needs to let that float to the top of his blender...

Anonymous said...

PS..and having lost status to the Israelite God, many of the other gods had to downgrade to keep employed and became Angels, demons or Satan.

All bible angels are male and all gift shop angels are female. But in reality, there ain't no female nuttins that survived monotheism.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was the Johannine Comma, not the Johannine Coda.

Anonymous said...

I've known any number of doctors, even the pseudo types with Ambassador College degrees. But, I have never met a doctor who speaks and reasons like Bob Thiel. He writes and sounds, at best, as if he might have attended a few semesters of community college.


Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel, as many, has a point of view and a story that has to be defended at all costs. There is no room for being wrong about anything from the Seven Churches of Revelation to the nature of God, Jesus or Harry Potter.

Boy, how much easier sometimes just to say "I don't know," or "I could be mistaken." Even an occasional "it seems to me personally," would be better.

Is it just me ("yes, it's just you") or do zealots who adhere to strict Bible food regimes or demand a lifetime of health food behaviors and this is the one true everything you must believe, die younger and often of colon cancer? In trying to not be full of it, are we full of it?

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel, as many, has a point of view and a story that has to be defended at all costs.

A very picture of a narcissist, if true.

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel apologetically on the topic of "of course Jesus is God, the Bible says so.." notes;

"And second of all, perhaps he forgot about a particular passage in Matthew:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” ” (Matthew 1:23)."

Bob has never considerd that Matthew, in his fulfillment statements misquotes and misapplies every instance of his mining of the OT for Jesus meaning. NT writers were masters at making the OT mean what it never meant to mean ever.

Isaiah's prophecy was that the child Immanuel was to have been born in 742 BCE, the first year of King Ahaz's reign. Ahaz, the king of Judah, faced the combined armies of Syria and Israel. Isaiah explained to Ahaz that he should not form an alliance with Assyria.

In support of this advice, God would provide a sign: a young woman would conceive and bear a child who would be named Immanuel. 2 The sign would have only have been effective if it happened almost immediately. It would not have given a lot of support to Isaiah's prophecy if more than seven centuries passed before it was fulfilled, over 700 years after King Ahaz' death.

Isaiah was clearly not referring to some event that would occur centuries later. When he referred to the far future, as in Chapter 11, he typically used a phrase such as "In that day."

The translation of the Hebrew name Immanuel, (Greek Emmanouel) as "God with us" in Matthew 1:23 implies that the name-holder is divine. The name really means "God is with us," meaning that God will support us. The name makes perfect sense if the child's name was to indicate to King Ahaz that God is on their side.

Luke 1 states that Mary would call her son Yeshua (Jesus in Greek). He is called Yeshua throughout the Christian Scriptures -- not Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14-17: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin (young woman) shall conceive, and bear a son, (in the normal way) and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (Something he evidently had to learn to do) For BEFORE the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. " (but it all works out, God was with us and we are not destroyed in 742 BCE)

Blend it Bob...

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
Dennis Diehl: Just too lazy to keep signing up for google.

The trick is, don't sign into the blog. just type your message and then type in your "Username" and your "Password" (the same ones you used the last time you "signed up" with google. Then click "publish your comment".

Hint: your username is your email address - not Dennis Diehl. That's probably why it keeps wanting you to "sign up". That was the problem I was having.

DennisDiehl said...

Ahhhh, ohhhhhh.....thanks Corky. I had to reverify my existence to Google..let me try this....

DennisDiehl said...

That did it! Boy, I get tired being verified, then unverified, then revierified....feels familiar!


DennisDiehl said...

Gavin said: "Hold your horses Bob, just what do you mean "the Bible clearly teaches"?"

Clearly is in the eye of the beholder...

"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend..." (Exodus 33:11)

Ahh, now that's nice....but wait...same chapter....

"And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:20-23)

So Moses got to talk face to face with God the Rock Dweller, so God could tell him no more face to face talking. Instead, 9 verses later Moses can't even close his eyes but rather has to have God cover them with his hand (God has a hand?) while he passes by. (Now picture that manuever) Not to worry. Moses gets to see God's butt, so it's all worth it...I guess.

Seems like a Prophets vs Priests edit and undo of some sort.

Can you tell I have no clients in 100 degree heat!..
Blend it!

Anonymous said...

“Is it just me ("yes, it's just you") or do zealots who adhere to strict Bible food regimes or demand a lifetime of health food behaviors and this is the one true everything you must believe, die younger and often of colon cancer? In trying to not be full of it, are we full of it?”

Curses unto thee for attempting to slander the lifestyle and profession of the esteemed Dr. Bob Thiel! Know thee not that BOB not merely speaks truth, speaks for the truth, but is also involved in the very peddling of truth in the form of whole food cures and other nostrums NOT YET RECOGNIZED by the slothful supposed medical establishment. Moreover, Dr. Bob’s professional website is replete and veritably splendid with anonymous testimonials to the curative POWER of such uproarious and magnificent COMMON compounds and dried ‘things’ , such as bee pollen, bees wax, bee honey… and those are just the bs. Per the power of Bob’s own attention, method and faith, he has been able to almost say that he can kinda, sort of treat CANCER!

You are all simply jealous, JEALOUS, of BOB’s many fine unaccredited DEGREES, including his not quite a doctorship. (See the personal side of his web pages.) How many of YOU can call yourself a doctor and have AWARDS for being a doctor, but can’t call yourself a doctor anymore because of the STUPID law and the AMA. I’ll bet none of you! Bloggers!

I’ll bet none of you can speak unofficially yet officially for your sect! Ha! Yet another way you are again INFERIOR to the most gentle and helpful and more worthy than all of you COMBINED Robert Thiel, nutritionist.

Moreover, none of you can write utter pabulum and have it published as informed infotainment by that august non church church organ THE JOURNAL. Ha again! You unworthiness speaks volumes! Given the scope of BOB’s MANY AMAZING accomplishments, not a word he speaks should come as any surprise.

Mark Lax, NSITL
Not Surprised In The Least

Douglas Becker said...

Mark, I believe the word you are seeking is "maven" -- and it is accompanied with the sense of "self-taught" and "self-righteous".

Yes, you are correct: Only a non minister minister and a minister can read book covers to recreate the entire venue and understand whole topics like eschatology, holistic medicine, cancer treatment, nutrition, history, sociology, biology, chemistry, physics, quantum mechanics.

Nevertheless, it is my personal choice never to let him near my auto engine or work in a nearby nuclear plant if I can help it. Those require real skills, not just pretend ones.

DennisDiehl said...

"Yes, you are correct: Only a non minister minister and a minister can read book covers to recreate the entire venue and understand whole topics like eschatology, holistic medicine, cancer treatment, nutrition, history, sociology, biology, chemistry, physics, quantum mechanics"

So Doug, is this your idea of a personal insult or have I misunderstood?

DennisDiehl said...

Gavin, Thanks for posting the article on Gerd Luedemann. He seems to have a balanced spirituality having passed through all the stages of fundamentalism it sometimes takes to get there.

"You can't read the values of modern society into the Bible. It is a document of antiquity," he says. "But our Western society likes to preserve things. Scripture reminds us where we come from, our heritage. That's why it's important to have good biblical scholars in universities."

"Luedemann seeks a spirituality that neither relies on the consolations of miracles nor settles for cold rationalism. Giving up old fears of damnation (he once was a teenage evangelist) has freed him from panic about death and underscores solidarity with all people."

"I'm a praying person — not petitionary prayer, but prayers of gratitude. I pray to the mystery of life, thankful for being on this earth. I feel protected in the universe. I'm thankful, so I pray — a spontaneous act. It prays in me."

Refreshing to say the least and a wave of the future for those willing to think outside boxes and shun memes.

Douglas Becker said...

So Doug, is this your idea of a personal insult or have I misunderstood?

Dennis, you have misunderstood. I was talking about Robert Theil // Theel // Thiel -- oh well, now you know who I mean.

[Really, ex-ministers aren't even being considered. Sorry if you feel abandoned, but you just don't count in this discussion -- except of course for your most excellent comments, that is. BT is a non minister minister: Someone who has all the trappings, but not ordained. So there.]

Lussenheide said...

Diehl vs. Thiel !

What a match! It almost sounds like a title match for the "World Wrestling Federation"!

"A Loser Leaves Internet Forever Challenge" ...LIVE - PAY PER VIEW- In This The ULTIMATE SMACKDOWN At Ambassdaor Watch!

"Be There Or Be Square...Only Here, Ambassador Watch, No Holds, No Tag Team, No Ref, Final and FOREVER SMACKDOWN!!!!!"


DennisDiehl said...

Hey Doug. Thanks, I was misreading "Only a non minister minister AND a minister can read book..." as Bob and myself since I am the only other former who liked hollistic stuff and quantum mechanics, and who seems to have anything to say on AW.

Sorry, I should have known better.


DennisDiehl said...

That would be The World Hasseling Confabulation!

Feel the terror as they grapple over the non prophecy Virgin Birth story..'Is not, Is too, Is not'

Wallow in Paul the Mythmaker where only one can walk away. "I am to a Pharisee, AM not, Am too, Am not"

"I know you're a Roman Citizen, but what am I...? You Can't be a Roman Citizen, seems like a lie."

Wince and groan over whether Jesus is the Son of God surrounded by 12 Apostles or the SUN of God surrounded by the 12 signs of the Zodiac! Oh the humanity of it!

Flesh tearing stuggles over why Paul never quotes Jesus and did he ever meet the Master in the flesh?

"Did..Did not, Did, Did not."

And finally down for the count over who founded modern Christianity...Jesus or Paul?

"Jesus...Not, Did too, Not...Did...nope..."

Tickets are free but A-M must bring a covered dish, N-Z dessert and the singles are to bring watermelon.

Time: Fall Festival
PLace: Alaskan Cruise for Jesus
Loser: Over the side.

All kidding aside. Dr. Bob I believe is a Homeopathic Doc and none of them here can operate without being under another docs license etc. If he and I could separate Religion from alternative healing, we'd probably have some good chat.

I lean towards water having memory and the implications of that as well as like cures like. If he is a naturapath etc, then aside from religionious differences, I am sure he has a good heart to help people and knows that there is more to curing and helping people with dis-ease than burning, cutting or poisoning it for the cure.

Actually, I am getting to the point where even what I see from my perspective as to the origins and intent of the Bible is becoming less and less helpful to me personally and I'd rather spend time on what I do believe and feel than what I don't. Progress maybe..

Douglas Becker said...

Quantum mechanics: It would seem that some non minister minister's competence does not exist until it is observed?

DennisDiehl said...

"Quantum mechanics: It would seem that some non minister minister's competence does not exist until it is observed?"

Exactly, but mine observers have departed having loved not that which was observed. Therefore, my particle self has returned to spherical standing wave status until further notice....

Perhaps someday, my waves can be recollapsed back into particulate form, by observation, but it still may not matter.

Pehaps I could be shot at two slits to see if I went through one or both or neither but don't watch me or I'll collapse into a particle and have to chose one. I think I'd rather be a wave form, unobserved with endless possibilites.

Did you know that when you observe a Church of God long enough, you can collapse it's particle form back into a wave bye bye? It's true! It is the one reverse law of Theo-physics in the entire universe!

Galileo Galilei, 1600) I wish, my dear Kepler, that we could have a good laugh together at the extraordinary stupidity of the mob. What do you think of the foremost philosophers of this University? In spite of my oft-repeated efforts and invitations, they have refused, with the obstinacy of a glutted adder, to look at the planets or Moon or my telescope. ... In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

(Max Planck, 1920) A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Douglas Becker said...


I've always had the rather vague feeling that discussing Robert Thiel's philosophies and observations is like trying to determine which form of idolatry is best.

I would think that would cause you no end of amusement.

Douglas Becker said...

What do you think of the foremost philosophers of this University?

Robert Thiel University?

What a horrid thought!

Douglas Becker said...

But then again, having a College founded by a high school dropout is sort of like dividing by zero, isn't it?

Herbert Armstrong set a terrible precedent for incompetence gaining ascendancy.

What a con job.

DennisDiehl said...

Well I just got a bit of rush out of BT's reminding Ken Wesby of Jesus is God because "duh..did you forget the virgin birth prophecy?" You know how I feel about it being a non=prophecy. I just felt he never has looked into the context as he demands others do on other topics. Oh well. Who cares!

Douglas Becker said...

A decade ago, Fade to Black website did a parody of Consumer Reports: Which Religion is Best for You?

It is so tempting -- though there is limited time -- to make another Consumer Reports Parody: Which Form of Idolatry is Best for You.

Bob Thiel would have his own section, being almost borderline toward Roderick Meredith and all.

RT should have left Ken Westby alone and remembered Gamaliel's false reasoning "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God". The Hindu are proud they are idol worshipers and it has not come to naught. But RT needs to follow Scripture in absolutely everything and leave works of men to come to naught on their own.

Unless he doesn't have the faith that God will take care of it.

But then again, if Ken Westby were right, then Robert Thiel is the polytheist worshiping more than one God and thus, an idolater.

Just what is his gossip supposed to achieve? And is God going to support his gossip?

Anonymous said...

But then again, if Ken Westby were right, then Robert Thiel is the polytheist worshiping more than one God and thus, an idolater.

Actually, regardless of the truth or falsity of Ken Westby's beliefs about God, Robert Thiel is a polytheist, because he believes the Father and the Son are two separate God Beings and believes there will someday be many new God Beings in the God Family. If polytheism isn't the right word for that, then words don't really mean anything I guess.

Anonymous said...

Jared said:Robert Thiel is a polytheist, because he believes the Father and the Son are two separate God Beings and believes there will someday be many new God Beings in the God Family.

Interesting thought. How did HWA defend himself against that logic?

Douglas Becker said...

OK guys, help me out here.

A while back I thought I had monotheism nailed from the Bible point of view. After all, "Hear O Israel, God is One God". Jesus said, "The Father is Greater than I".

John comments, "In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" and " All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made".

Now that could be reconciled by God at one point taking a part of Himself and creating the Word, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth".

Christ is, according to Paul, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence".

By that Scripture in Colossians it would seem that Jesus, originally as the Word created everything -- including angels, "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him". This would seem to eliminate the Tom Roberts position on the ACD that Jesus only began existing when he was conceived, although "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" could be problematic because while Jesus as the Word existed before the Creation, he existed after God the Father and being the same forever creates a paradox.

We could also get around the problem of "let us make man in our image" by assuming that it was the Word and God the Father being quoted.

After this, though, we begin to run into serious problems [not that we didn't before with some very thin assumptions]. For one thing, at various times, the Bible is clear that no one has seen the Father at any time, so having God show up at the tents at Mamre strains credibility. God shows up other places. Hard to explain away.

This is only the beginning of the headaches. If Jesus isn't Divine [which he would be if he was taken out of God the Father by the Father to create the Word], then he would not have been worthy enough to save the whole world. Besides that, the New Testament says Jesus as the Word created everything anyway -- only it is The Father through Jesus.

There does seem to be things which are quite irreconcilable in the several views of monotheism, yet the binitarian system is even more difficult to reconcile. And the idea that Messiah is actually Michael the Archangel is resoundingly refuted by Hebrews.

This is just the tip of the ballpoint. A triune God doesn't help much either, since God the Father is greater than Jesus [Jesus said so] and "we will be like him when he comes" -- supporting the God as God is God [but not God] theory.

The only solutions I can see to this is to rip several books out of the Bible and also a few random Scriptures here and there and everything can be nicely reconciled.

DennisDiehl said...

I believe in all this we see a mix of Gnosticism, Hellenism, paganism and evolution of Paul's cosmic Christ to the more real human figure of Jesus of Nazareth, and in that order.

It's an amazingly huge and endless topic for sure.

With Paul writing before any of the Gospels were ever written about his Cosmic Christ based perhaps on his pagan upbringing in the Mithraic soaked town of Tarsus, Jesus had little chance of being taken as anything less than God for Paul. It is no coincidence that the traits ascribed to Mithras and Jesus are very similar. It was a common story of the Sun's journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac and the progression of the Equinoxes over 2150 years each and you mostly know how I feel about that by now. Nothing, not even the story of Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Cosmic Christ is what we have been told or think it to be in such simplistic terms of our youth.

To me, when the Gospels were written long (longer than most think) after Paul's death, it was an attempt to bring this cosmic Christ down to the world of a human Sunday school Jesus. After the Cosmic Christ got a human life, it's been confusion ever since over how it all can be this way or that.

We need to get over the idea that the NT is a coherent explanation of one truth about a man , who outside the Bible, is hard to prove ever really existed, who really was God in the Flesh, whatever that means to us.

Corky said...

Here is another way of looking at John 1.

It could be that the phrase "in the beginning" is a reference to the "beginning" of the ministry of John and Jesus. The main reason for this is because this is clearly what "the beginning" means in Mark 1:1 and Luke 1:1-3, as well as 1 John 1:1-5 (which is the closest parallel to John 1). All the gospels "begin" the ministry of Jesus with the appearance of John the baptizer.

The other thing is the "creation" terminology in John 1. People see "in the beginning" and they think that it must refer to Gen 1:1 because of the "light" and "darkness" and "all things" language in the subsequent verses. However, the whole passage could be understood to be comparing the "new covenant" that Jesus "created" when he appeared and fulfilled the scripture. The "creation" language is just an allusion to Genesis because Jesus is the creator of the "new heavens and new earth."

It's no different than the NT calling Jesus the "lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world." The point is not that Jesus "preexisted" as an animal (a "lamb"), but that his death was analogous to the atoning sacrifice in the OT. Jesus is the "creator" of the "new heavens and new earth" in an analogous sense to the way God the Father originally "created" the Land of Israel (or "universe" - in Gen 1). The "beginning" of Jesus "creating" was when he was baptized and began to announce "the kingdom of God is at hand." This is where all the Gospels begin his ministry.

When the rest of the NT talks about Jesus being the maker of "all things" (like in Col 1 and Heb 1) it is referring to the "all things" of the "new covenant" that was being revealed at that time. Notice that Paul says in 2 Cor 5:16-18 that "old things have passed away, ALL THINGS have become NEW, there is no more Jew, nor Greek ... but there is a NEW CREATION." He says the same thing in Gal 6:9-16.