Wednesday 31 March 2021

Jesus said he'd spend 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. But he only spent 2 in the grave. Why? (Answered.)

Someone asked:

'Can anyone help by answering the following question, I'd really appreciate it...

'How can we justify the verse below Matt 12:40 "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

'Can someone please guide also to explain how it makes 3 days when Jesus rose on Easter Sunday?'

My answer to this question is as follows:

Obviously, with days, we can easily calculate based on each day starting at Sunset in the Jewish reckoning, Friday is day 1, Saturday is day 2, and Sunday, starting at about 6pm on Saturday is day 3. 

In the early morning as it had begun to get light the ladies approached Jesus's tomb to be informed that he was risen from the dead by an angel, while the tomb was unoccupied.

Now, usually you will hear that 3 days and 3 nights is a shorthand for saying that part of 3 days would be spent in some way or other, but even taking it as literal, as in part of 3 days and part of 3 nights, what Jesus said in the Greek still makes sense and his prophesy is still confirmed. I will add that the bible makes it clear that Jesus was buried on the Friday before the weekly Sabbath and arose on Sunday, after it. Arguments otherwise are ahistorical and not in the text.

But Jesus only spent two nights in the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled in front of it.

3 days, 2 nights. Not 3 days, 3 nights as in the prophesy Jesus made in relation to himself and Jonah. That creates another problem, should one not accept it as mere shorthand, which going to the Greek original actually answers nicely.

The Greek states that after the Sabbath on the first day of the week, as it had begun to become light, the ladies approached the tomb. That can only be Sunday. But Jesus only spent 2 nights in the tomb. 

He says that the sign of Jonah will be given to a wicked generation. He then says as Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the fish's belly, so shall he be in the heart of the earth. The implication of course, if read in English rather than in the Greek of the New Testament, is that Jonah died while in the fish, and was raised to life again. Jesus seems to be referencing that. But he did not arise on Monday, but the day after the Sabbath, the first day of the week, which can only be Sunday.

In Hebrew, the word used in the story of Jonah refers not just to night but to adversity, an idea Jesus carries forward into the New Testament. He seems to prophesy that he is safe during the day, as he will be attacked by evil men at night, which he is, in being arrested on the night of Holy Thursday (or Friday in the Jewish reckoning where night comes first).

In the especially literal Lexham English Bible translation the verse is rendered as:

'Matthew 12:40 (LEB): For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.'

The word translated as heart literally means the organ, but figuratively means the volition/will/intellect or emotional state. Many translations interpret the phrase as grave. 

But let us assume for a moment Jesus is talking about being 3 days in the power of death, in that case the night before, when Jesus had the last supper, what we would call Thursday night and what the Jews would call Friday night, would be the first day Jesus spent in the heart of the earth. i.e. in the power of death/the devil. Here is where he is arrested and tried by evil men. That makes it 3 nights Jesus was in the power of the Devil and of Death.

'καρδία (Lat. cor, Hebr. lēb, lēbab), (A) lit. the heart, as an organ of the body; (B) mind covers the non-physical sense best: (a) personality, character, inner life (illa uis qua cogitationes fiunt, Augustine, De nat. et orig. animae iv 6 § 7), e.g. 1 Cor. 14:25, 1 Pet. 1:22; (b) emotional state, e.g. Rom. 9:2; (c) mind, intellect, e.g. Rom. 1:21; (d) will, volition, intention, e.g. Rom. 2:5.' (A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament.)

The ancient Greek word translated as the word earth means soil, but can extend to a territory or to the whole physical mass of the Earth. It also appears elsewhere in the New Testament as a reference to the things of the earth, or in the LEB, what is earthly in you, which it makes clear is not the literal translation, via the use of square brackets; the literal translation of the phrase is, 'the members of the earth', in the said verse which I will now quote along with what follows it:

'Colossians 3:5–7 (LEB): 5 Therefore put to death ⌊what is earthly in you⌋: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustful passion, evil desire, and greediness, which is idolatry, 6 because of which the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which also you once lived, when you used to live in them.'

The heart of the earth likely in being heard by the audience of Jesus might have been heard as a reference to being put into the power of evil men and of the Devil, especially given the reference to the adversity Jonah experienced in the tomb of the large sea creature's belly. That Saint Paul later refers to the members of the earth, of which if the earth were a body, the figurative heart would perhaps be included as a member, seems to lend towards this.

Jesus spent part of 3 days in the tomb. He also spent part of 3 days and 3 nights in the power of the devil. Just as Job in being placed in the power of the devil immediately experienced tragedy, Jesus, in being in the heart of the earth, was arrested, falsely tried, defamed, tortured and killed and spent time in the grave (part of 3 days). 3 days in the stomach of a fish, or 3 in the power of evil, seem to correlate. 

That does not mean the classical answer many give, that days are calculated differently, wrong, they are calculated differently. It just perhaps adds another shade of meaning.

Sunday 28 March 2021

The Bible: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I think you will find there is disagreement about whether any part of the bible actually is ahistorical, compared with any other historical text of each scroll's original epoch. Attacks on various parts vary as scholars are disproven and fashions for how to disbelieve the various parts of the bible change among theologians, priests, bishops, trendy cardinals, and scholars. Religious texts do not fit the definition of non-fiction whether you personally believe them or not. The qur'an is non-fiction. The bible is too. 

Fiction is 'literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people' (Oxford). 

Is the bible in the form of prose? The events of early Genesis certainly aren't, they are a poem (the creation story, in particular, as scholars would tell you, seemingly compares God creating the world with a mason building and furnishing a temple, while the story of Adam and Eve has a different chronology of events a chapter later; Both, it seems from observations of scholars, follow the form of poetry with concepts rather than time determining order of events). 

Is it a novel or a book of novels? No. 

If it were myth, or a book of myths, though the historical evidence does not lean that way, myths are nonetheless non-fiction, even if they are not true. 

Are the events and people imaginary? Some may be, but on the whole they are historical, and those which are doubted are doubted by scholars, theologians, priests and bishops who would not approach any other historical source with the same degree of scepticism. 

Modern scholars believe the events of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey really happened, despite some parts being clearly fantastical. 

In contrast, biblical scholars will insist silly things, like that the bible did not mean Moses actually parted the Red Sea but that he lead the Israelites through some marshes instead, despite the book of Joshua describing the river before Jericho being stopped up and the water gathered like a wall, and the bible referencing what Moses had done so soon before by parting the Red Sea as being the same thing. 

Really, the great virtue signal among all the most gleefully secular and liberal Catholics is how greatly they can signal their unbelief and that despite it, they remain Catholic. Personally, I would not see such a contradiction as virtuous, but I am a G.K. Chesterton/C.S. Lewis kind of Catholic Christian. I believe based on the rational arguments which have convinced me of and into my own positions.

If you want a secular source on the matter, this is how a librarian would list books of religion and mythology:

'“Are myths fiction or nonfiction?”

'The answer probably depends on who you ask and why. I imagine that if you ask an atheist, you’ll get the answer “fiction”. But in the wonderful world of the Dewey Decimal System, books (and other media) on mythology are in the 200s, the category for philosophy and religion. So for straight mythology or books about mythology, it’s considered nonfiction. Poetry (like Homer’s Odyssey will generally end up in the 800s, with other books of poetry. Yes, poetry is considered nonfiction.' Monster Librarian, 'Are Myths Fiction or Nonfiction?', 19 October 2017.

To conclude: the bible, whether by Oxford's definition or by the standards governing libraries in the Western World, is a non-fiction book. As for whether it portrays true events or not, that is more complicated, and debates over that among serious people, will remain as long as the bible remains in the realm of discussed matters in the world we occupy.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

God, in relation to creation, is male.

God and the early Christians all call God male. God is male in relation to us, as his church. And God is male in relation to us as his creation. 

God is neither male nor female in the sense we are, except Jesus in his physical form. The Greek Orthodox tend to give our spirits a female gender whether male or female, but I do not believe we as Catholics do. 

To a Catholic the soul of each human is either male or female as the soul is not separate from the body but is someone's whole person and the Church teaches our souls and bodies are either male or female at their cores. 

The sense in which God is male is not in the sense of human gender, where God does not have a gender, but in a far deeper sense. Baptise someone in the name of the Parent, Child and Holy Spirit instead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the Catholic church will not deem them as validly baptised. This is because the gender of God in fact reveals something important in its use in the bible and as an essential reference to the nature of God. God is spirit, and does not have human gender, but does have a deeper sort of gender which is essential to his very nature and to monotheism being the form of Christian religion as opposed to pantheism.

God is always referred to as what one might term a he, a masculine figure, in the bible, indicative that he is overall a he in relation to us. To borrow from the same sort of left wing movement which wants God or the Holy Spirit to be female, it would be rather unbefitting to call God female when he self identifies as male. 

'Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be c in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”' John 14 NIV.

(παράκλητος, advocate/comforter, is an accusative masculine singular noun. Male intercessor summoned to help or comfort. The pronouns in proper translation thus inherit from that noun as masculine. I will give an example from French. Whether il is to be translated as it or he in that gendered language which I am most familiar, depends on the noun. It inherits masculinity or neutrality. Il est blanc, where il is Jacques can only be translated as he is white, but where il is bread (pain), can only be translated as it is white. Translating it as: Jacques? It is white or bread? he is white, is to translate in a manner which is not conistent with a knowlede of French and gendered languages in general. Bible translators have been inserting he as the pronoun for hundreds of years for the simple reason that the Greek indicates it is appropriate. The masculinity is inherited into the pronoun from the main noun of Advocate, just as il can only be he where il is my friend Jacques.)

Jesus obviously was a man, and Jesus calls God the Father Dad essentially, in parts of scripture, and tells us to call God the Father Our Father. Scripture has Jesus referring to both the Father and Spirit as male, and to himself as the Son of Man, a male.

Overall, it goes back to the root meaning of words. That which is female is that which contains, such as the universe or the Church, or a ship for that matter. That which is male is that which seeds life into that which contains, such as The Holy Trinity. God is male and we as church are female in relation to God, but our souls are either male or female depending on our bodies and our DNA and receptivity to testosterone and oestrogen in the womb.

Were God or any part of God female, we would be pantheists, like the pagans, not monotheists. As it is, God is Being in the true sense of being, He is that which gives being and life to all other things that can be or have life. God, in relation to creation, is male. He can have female associated traits, and does, but in his core relation with us He is male in the most meaningful core sense, that of he who sows the seeds of life.

Marx, not Christ? Poverty, not Utopia.

The Catholic church hierarchy in South Africa: 

supported fees protests with visible aid, forcing an unaffordable raising of VAT, which has caused a spiral effect which will bankrupt the local economy; 

Pushed minimum wages which have pushed millions out of work while describing much sought after low skill seasonal work which is not slavery as slavery; 

And has made moral justification for expropriating white owned land without compensation from Catholic Social Teaching, despite the global church condemning Marxism and its removal of ordinary property rights and the right to just compensation. 

For years, critical race theory and Marxist liberation theology is what Catholics have heard in the pews in South Africa. Soon, like Venezuela and so many other places, parishioners will find that the gospel of Marx impoverishes, unlike the gospel of Christ.

The Chinese communist party had to set their army on them to end the senseless killing.

 What happens when you get rid of the four olds: Ideas, Culture, Habits, and Customs (旧思想, 旧文化, 旧风俗, and 旧习惯)? You are left with nothing but ideology to bind yourself to your fellow man. 

You submit your mind, body and soul. Neither shared heritage, nor shared blood, nor shared culture nor familial bonds hold you to any. Only the power of ideology. And with nothing but ideology, you become a fanatic. 

Perhaps you end up like those who last got rid of the four, who turned to cannibalism, murder, torture, maimings, blindings, and public humiliation. The Chinese communist party had to set their army on them to end the senseless killing.

Monday 8 March 2021

The terrifying but just God Jesus died and rose for

People reading the Old Testament for the first time are often shocked by how merciless God is. This is more because they reject the God Jesus professed than anything else. In most cases this is because they were denied the gospel in context, and given a wishy washy fairy tale about a God so weak and ineffectual that it is a surprising miracle he created the world or anything at all, the fool he must be.

They never believed in Christianity or its gospel, and thus instead of gratitude, sit in judgement on God. God is deeply merciful, because God is just. But those who preach the gospel of mercy without the gospel of justice will likely spend eternity in the torture of hell, all the more if they are a priest or bishop. To preach one without the other, a New Testament God who would thrust the Old Testament God into hellfire for his crimes, is to preach not just a false God, an idol, but one so pathetic that Jesus' death on the cross is more like a creepy stalker thing done by a spurned lover, than an act of mercy from God.

The mass killing, jealously guarding God of Moses, who swallowed evil men, their wives and little children alive into the Earth, is the God Jesus died on the Cross and rose again for.

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