Logos? Wisdom Was Yahweh!

Exchange relating to passages in John

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Logos? Wisdom Was Yahweh!

Postby newnature on 16 Feb 2011, 11:26

No way, one can fit logos into this?
Wisdom truly was Yahweh, check out Yahweh's wisdom at work!

Having that good and bad knowledge is no guarantee that one will choose or incline towards the good. That’s what the serpent omitted in his speech, before Eve ate off the tree of knowledge of good and bad. The serpent said, You’ll become like Yahweh. It’s true in one sense, but false in another, the serpent sort of omitted to point out, that its the power of moral choice alone, that is Yahweh like. The very action that brought Adam and Eve a Yahweh like awareness of their mortal autonomy, was an action that was taken in opposition to Yahweh. Yahweh knows that, that human beings will become like Yahweh, knowing good and bad; it’s one of the things about Yahweh, he knows good and bad, and has chosen the good. For Adam and Eve to have true freedom of will, Adam and Eve have to have the freedom to rebel. This is why this tree is in the garden, next to the tree of life; instead, evil will come about as a result of the clash of the will of Yahweh, and the will of humans who happen to have the freedom to rebel. Human beings, and only human beings are the potential source of evil in the garden of Eden; responsibility for evil, will lie in the hands of human beings. Yet, evil is represented not as a physical reality, it’s not built into the structure of Eden, evil is a condition of human existence, and to assert that evil stems from human behavior. The drama of Adam and Eve’s life should revolve not around the search for eternal life, nor preoccupation with immortality; it was not in Yahweh’s design for this kind of drama. It was Yahweh’s design for the tree of life to have been eaten of, there was no danger to Adam and Eve going on eternally, being immortal. The eating off the tree of knowledge of good and bad, has caused a moral conflict and tension between Yahweh’s good design for creation, and the free will of human beings that can corrupt that good design. Evil is a product of human behavior, not a principal inherent in the cosmos. Man’s disobedience is the cause of the human predicament. Human freedom can be at one and the same time an omen of disaster, and a challenge, and opportunity.

So, despite Adam and Eve’s newfound mortality, humans are going to be a force to be reckoned with. They’re unpredictable to the very Yahweh who created them. Yahweh has to modify his plan, by barring access to the tree of life; that was not something presumably Yahweh planned to do. Adam and Eve had access to this tree up to that point, as long as their will conformed to the will of Yahweh, there was no danger to their going on eternally, being immortal. Once they discovered their moral freedom, once they discovered that they could thwart Yahweh and work evil in the world, and abuse and corrupt all that Yahweh had created, then Yahweh could not afford to allow them access to the tree of life. That would be tantamount to creating divine enemies, immortal enemies. So, Yahweh must maintain the upper hand in his struggle with these humans who have learned to defy him. And Yahweh maintains the upper hand in this, the fact that humans eventually must die. Yahweh stations these cherubim, and a fiery, ever-turning sword to guard the way back to the tree of life, once Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. The tree of life is now inaccessible; no humans have access to immortality, and the pursuit of immortality is futile. So, it might be then that Yahweh really spoke the truth after all, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad, did bring death to humankind.

Yahweh learned immediately after creating this unique being, that he will exercise his free will against Yahweh. Yahweh saw that he had to limit the life span of humans, or risk creating an enemy that was nearly equal to him. So he casts the humans out of the garden of Eden, and blocks access to the tree of life. Yet, humans continue their violent and evil ways, and in desperation, Yahweh wipes them out, and starts again. After the flood, humans prove to be not much better. They forget Yahweh, they turn to idolatry. Yet, the Noahide covenant, which is universal in scope, it encompasses all life on earth. It stresses the sanctity of life, and in this covenant, Yahweh has promised not to destroy all humankind again. So, Yahweh experiments with a single individual of believing; Abraham’s believing withstands many a trial. Yahweh is the owner of the land, Abraham was called to. Yahweh is empowered to set conditions or residency requirements for those who would reside in it, like a landlord. Yahweh is seeking replacement tenants who are going to follow the moral rules of residence that Yahweh has established for his land. Yahweh ‘s promise to Abraham is formalized in a ritual ceremony called a suzerainty covenant. The patriarchical covenant, which is a covenant in which a superior party, a suzerain dictates the terms of a political treaty usually, and an inferior party obeys them. The arrangement primarily serves the interest of the suzerain, and not the vassal or the subject. So, Yahweh has gone from a covenant with all of humanity, to a covenant with a single individual. Yahweh appears as a suzerain. Yahweh is making a land grant to a favored subject, and there’s an ancient ritual that ratifies the oath. In this kind of covenant, the parties to the oath would pass between the split carcass of a sacrificial animal, as if to say, that they agree they will suffer the same fate as this animal, if they violate the covenant. Abraham cuts sacrificial animals in two, and Yahweh, but only Yahweh, passes between the two halves. Only Yahweh seems to be obligated by the covenant, obligated to fulfill the promise that he’s made. Abraham doesn’t appear to have any obligation in return. In this case, it is the subject, Abraham, and not the suzerain, Yahweh, who is benefited by this covenant, and that’s a complete reversal of this ritual ceremony. Their is a moral justification for this grant of land to Abraham, the current inhabitants of the land are polluting it, filling it with bloodshed and idolatry. And when the land becomes so polluted, completely polluted, it will spew out its inhabitants. That process, Yahweh says, isn’t complete; so Abraham’s offspring through Isaac, they are going to have to wait, the lease isn’t up yet.

Abraham is obedient to Yahweh in a way that no one has been up to this point, but ultimately, the model of blind obedience is rejected, too. When Abraham prepares to slaughter his own son, Yahweh sees that blind believing can be as destructive and evil as disobedience, so Yahweh relinquishes his demand for blind obedience. The only relationship that will work with humans is one in which there is a balance between unchecked independence and blind obedience, and Yahweh seems to finally have found the working relationship with humans that he has been seeking since their creation, with a man named Jacob. When Jacob undergoes a change in name, Israel; Israel means, one who wrestles, who struggles with Yahweh. Yahweh and humans lock in an eternal struggle, neither prevailing, yet both forever changed by their encounter with one another. Jacob’s sons; Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers, his decent into Egypt, set the stage, not only for the reformation of his brothers’ characters, but for the descent of all of the Israelites into Egypt, so as to survive widespread famine; threat of famine is overcome by the relocation to Egypt. Yahweh says to Jacob, “I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I myself will also bring you back.” So, in short, there seems to be a plan afoot. Israel’s descent to Egypt sets the stage for the rise of a pharaoh who, didn’t know Joseph, and all that he had done for Egypt. And this new pharaoh will enslave the Israelites, and so embitter their lives, that their cry will rise up to heaven.

Yahweh’s salvation of his people from Egypt, not the Christian sense of personal salvation from sin; that’s anachronistically read back into the Hebrew Bible. It’s not there. Salvation in the Hebrew Bible does not refer to an individual’s deliverance from a sinful nature. This is not a concept that is found in the Hebrew Bible. Salvation refers instead, to the concrete, collective, communal salvation from national suffering and oppression, particularly in the form of foreign rule of enslavement. Yahweh as Israel’s redeemer and savior, is Yahweh’s physical deliverance of the nation from the hands of her foes. But the physical redemption of the Israelites is going to reach its climax in the covenant that will be concluded at Sinai. Yahweh’s redemption of the Israelites, is a redemption for a purpose, for at Sinai, the Israelites will become Yahweh’s people, bound by a covenant. The covenant concluded at Sinai is referred to as the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant differs radically from the Noahide and the patriarchal covenants, because here Yahweh makes no promises beyond being the patron or protector of Israel; and also, in this covenant, he set terms that require obedience to a variety of laws and commandments. The Mosaic covenant is neither unilateral, it’s a bilateral covenant, involving mutual, reciprocal obligations, nor is it unconditional like the other two. It is conditional; the first bilateral, conditional covenant. If Israel doesn’t fulfill her obligations by obeying Yahweh’s Torah, his instructions, and living in accordance with his will, as expressed in the laws and instructions, then Yahweh will not fulfill his obligation of protection and blessing towards Israel. So the Mosaic covenant, understanding of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel; the history of Israel will be governed by this one outstanding reality of covenant. Israel’s fortunes will be seen to ride on the degree of its faithfulness to this covenant.

In contrast to the land, Yahweh’s sanctuary can be purified for moral impurity by means of a special sacrifice. The blood of the animal, the blood of the sacrifice is the key to the whole ritual. Blood, the blood that courses through one’s veins, represents the life force; the Noahide covenant, you may not spill human blood. And you may not eat animal flesh that has the lifeblood in it, because the blood is the life and that belongs to Yahweh, that’s holy. So the life force is holy and the life force is in the blood; Leviticus 17:11 repeats the blood prohibition, and then it offers a rationale. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have assigned it to you for making expiation for your lives upon the altar.” Yahweh assigned it to them to use in sacrificial practices. It is the blood as life that effects expiation, purging and atonement. The blood of sacrificial animals is assigned by Yahweh as a detergent, if you will, to cleanse the sanctuary of the impurities that are caused by the sinful deeds of the Israelites. Purification of the sanctuary was believed to be critical to the health and the well-being of the community. If the sanctuary is not purged of impurity, it can become polluted to the point when Yahweh is driven out entirely. The purification offering acts on the sanctuary, not on the offerer. It purges the sanctuary of the defilement that is symbolically; it has symbolically suffered from the offerer’s state of ritual impurity or sinfulness. Once the sanctuary is purged, the offerer has settled his debt, he’s repaired the damage he caused. He’s fully atoned, and Yahweh is no longer repelled by the impurity that marred his sanctuary. The defiling effect of lesser transgressions is calibrated to the sinner’s intentionality and the presence or absence of repentance. So inadvertent sins can be purged, the sanctuary defilement that they cause can be purged by bringing a purification sacrifice. Deliberate sins, as long as there is repentance, then they are converted into inadvertent sins, and they also can be purged, or the impurity they cause can be purged with a purification sacrifice. But brazen, unrepentant sins, unrepented sins, or unintentional sins that are never realized, these stand unremedied, and they defile the sanctuary. For this reason, the sanctuary has to be regularly purged of the accumulated defilements accruing to it as a result of such sins. On the day of atonement, a purification sacrifice is brought on behalf of the community to purify the sanctuary of the impurities that have been caused by Israel’s sin. And the high priest loads all of the sins and impurities of the Israelites on the head of a goat, which then carries them off into the wilderness away from the sanctuary.

Every sin pollutes the sanctuary; it may not mark the sinner, but it does mark the sanctuary. It scars the face of the sanctuary. You may think you’ve gotten away with something, but every act of social exploitation, every act of moral corruption, pollutes the sanctuary more and more until such time as Yahweh is driven out entirely, and human society is devoured by its own viciousness and death-dealing. Humans are in control of their destiny, and the action of every individual affects and influences the fate of society. Collective responsibility; sin affects, individual sin affects the entire fabric of society. There’s no such thing as an isolated evil; our deeds affect one another. And when evildoers are finally punished, they bring down others with them, those others aren’t so blameless, because they allowed the wicked to flourish and contribute to the pollution of the sanctuary, the corruption of society. Holy things only exist because of safeguards, rules that keep them separate, that demarcate them. And these safeguards and rules are naturally addressed to human beings. They are the ones charged with the task of preserving the holy in its residence on earth. Although holiness derives from Yahweh, humans have a crucial role to play in sanctification, in sanctifying the world. Take the Sabbath, Yahweh sanctified the Sabbath at creation; he demarcated it as holy. But Israel is the one to affirm its holiness by observing the rules that make it different, that mark it off as holy. So Israel doesn’t just in fact affirm the holy status of the Sabbath, they actualize the holy status of the Sabbath. If Israel doesn’t observe the prohibitions that distinguish the Sabbath as sacred, it’s automatically desecrated. There are two components integral and inseparable in the concept of holiness: Initial assignment of holy status by Yahweh and establishment of rules to preserve that holy status; and secondly, actualization of that holiness by humans through the observance of the commandments and rules that mark that thing off as holy.

The moral and social bankruptcy of Israel at the end of the period of the judges at the dawn, or on the eve, of the monarchy, is Israel’s continued infidelity. A kingdom in which Yahweh is the king and the community is led by inspired judges in times of crisis-that structure, that institutional structure failed to establish stability, a stable continuous government. It failed to provide leadership against Israel’s enemies within and without. In their search for a new political order, the people turn to the prophet Samuel. Samuel warns of the tyranny of kings, the rapaciousness of kings, the service and the sacrifice they will require of the people in order to support their luxurious court life and their large harem, their bureaucracy and their army. The day will come, Samuel warns, when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and Yahweh will not answer you on that day. The people won’t listen to Samuel, and they say quite significantly, no, we must have a king over us, that we may be like all the other nations, let our king rule over us and go out at out head and fight out battles. This is an explicit and ominous rejection, not only of Yahweh, but of Israel’s distinctiveness from other nations. And what, after all, does it mean to be a holy nation, but to be a nation separated out from, observing different rules from, other nations. The king in Israel was not divine, or even semi-divine; monarchy is at best unnecessary and at worst it’s a rejection of Yahweh. Where the Sinaitic covenant was contracted between Yahweh and the nation, the Davidic covenant is contracted between Yahweh and a single individual, the king.

The Davidic covenant, is an eternal and unconditional covenant between Yahweh and the House of David, or the dynasty of David. Yahweh says that David and his descendants may be punished for sin. They certainly will be punished for sin, but Yahweh will not take the kingdom away from them as he did from Saul. Yahweh’s unconditional and eternal covenants with the patriarchs and with David do not preclude the possibility of punishment or chastisement for sin as specified in the conditional Mosaic covenant. The covenant with David, it’s a covenant of grant, it’s a grant of a reward for loyal service and deeds. Yahweh rewards David with the gift of an unending dynasty, in exchange for his loyalty. Yahweh’s oath to preserve the Davidic dynasty, would lead eventually to a popular belief in the invincibility of the Holy City. The belief in Israel’s ultimate deliverance from enemies, became bound up with David and his dynasty. When the kingdom fell finally to the Babylonians, the promise to David’s House was believed to be eternal. The community looked to the future for a restoration of the Davidic line or Davidic king, or a messiah. The messiah simply means anointed, one who is “meshiach” is anointed with the holy oil. That is a reference to the fact that the king was initiated into office by means of holy oil being poured on his head. So King David was the messiah of Yahweh, the king anointed by or to Yahweh. And in the exile, Israelites would pray for another messiah, meaning another king from the House of David appointed and anointed by Yahweh to rescue them from enemies, and reestablish them as a nation at peace in their land as David had done. The Israelites hope for a messiah; it involved the restoration of the nation in its land under a Davidic king.
Always trying to learn, thanks, Robert
God’s Reconciliation to Man, read more about at it http://godsreconciliation.blogspot.com/
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