User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: One on One: Desert Reign and Lon - Openness vs. Reformed hermeneutics

  1. #1
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549

    One on One: Desert Reign and Lon - Openness vs. Reformed hermeneutics

    In the 'Death of God' thread Lon proposed a hermeneutic for interpreting the Bible as follows:

    1) these are 'story' (story is awesome but we are doubly-careful not to over-extrapolate) and in fact 2) we rather depend heavily upon pedantic books for giving us clear (pedantic) teaching rather than traipsing off through narrative on our own where we will surely get off-track. Let God define Himself and one won't be tempted to try and do it for Him from story passage. Those are there in conjunction with explanation passages to show you how truth works in action. Pedantic (explanation/teaching) drives story, story does not drive pedantic literature. In other words explanation (truth) is the driver, story is the vehicle, not the other way around.
    I have challenged Lon to justify this hermeneutic and he has accepted. We have agreed that the debate will follow along the following lines:

    1. Lon will post first, stating his hermeneutical principle along with general justifications of it, including why in particular the 'pedantic trumps story' is a valid priority. Lon has already defined 'pedantic' as

    Pedantic is anytime God says something about Himself. Story/narrative is anytime you assume a point from a story.
    I would be prepared to work with this unless Lon wants to expand it in his first post.

    2. Lon will then (either in his first post and/or in subsequent posts) apply this principle to a number of passages from the Old and New Testaments. A minimum of 25 passages from each. These will be such passages as in his view support reformed theological positions, however he sees this. For each passage, he will explain how the passage supports that position.
    3. DR will respond to each post, Lon then has the right of reply, with one further possible response by DR and one final reply by Lon. Lon's posts detailing scripture passages for consideration must include between 5 and 10 passages each.
    Certain rules of the debate apply:
    1) Any arguments made on the basis of some nuance of the original language must be accompanied by quoting the text in the original language.
    2) No non-Biblical authorities may be cited in support of an interpretation if it is dated after ad 130.

    I look forward to Lon's first post and wish to thank him for agreeing to take part in this debate. I also look forward to it for the reason that scripture is wonderful and discussing it is one of my chief joys.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; March 23rd, 2012 at 04:50 PM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  2. #2
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Thanks DesertReign and forum followers. Discussion for this One-On-One may be found here. Thanks AMR.

    I appreciate the one-on-one and Battle Royales on TOL because they tend toward formal debate which is polite and informative.

    They also stand for a length of time and are points of referal for forum threads as anchors of truth. In that vein, we will discuss a normative view of scripture interpretation. Though I represent a Reformed doctrine This specific discussion is not exclusive.

    Truth and relationship
    I live by a paradigm of truth and relationship.
    Truth without relationship is merely an intellectual assent that dissects life.
    Relationship without truth is fluffy feel-good meaninglessness.
    Given the choice of the two above, we must choose both, however it is this second danger, a danger of relative truth, that is the impotus for this one on one debate: Eph 4:14 "...so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine..."
    There is a normative approach to every language that truth is given straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc.
    Story, rather illustrates the relation of truth in the happenings and events portrayed. Without pedantics (clear teaching of truth), we are left to every wind of many doctrines and interpretations. *

    A short illustration:
    One time I had students read TellTale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. Without giving them the structure with which to analyze the story, the assignment was more of a "What it means to me" where every opinion was graded simply by it's expression rather than the veracity in which they understood the story. Such is an artistic goal where the actual story took backseat to how it made each and every student feel.

    Such an assignment is legitimate and meaningful and individually assertive for each student, however, such is not used with historical literature by and large. The same student, going to his social studies class, will be graded not on how the reading makes him 'feel' so much as 'what actually happened.' For that, He must employ a different 'hermeneutic,' that is, a different way of understanding the text. He is given a tightly bound set of rules for reading this literature and must come to a group consensus or miss the point of the lesson entirely. If he comes away from his reading the differing one of thirty five students, he will not pass the class and will have to take it over. These rules are straightforward:
    1. Read the story as true
    2. Pay attention to any figure of speech
    3. Listen and discern commentary from those who went through this event
    4. Memorize facts, people, and events and etc.
    Story is easy when we are asking 'what happened?' It is harder when we ask "what did it mean?"
    Unless the student is equipped with such guidance as will help him understand that the Boston Teaparty both instilled courage in the colonies and began tensions that would lead to war, he may come up with various asundry implications of his own, but these two consequences were the two necessary events that students must understand from their reading. Consider:
    There emerged a] kind of unformed nationalism...growing up with more and more men in more and more colonies speaking and writing of an American cause that they largely defined in terms of protecting American liberties against British tyranny."R.C. Simmons
    The student nor even the teacher can rightly answer the question of 'what happened as a result' without the outcomes clearly given and explained. Without the commentary, we'd all merely be guessing as to what the Boston Tea Party accomplished and whether that was the goal.
    The pedantic writings of exactly what it accomplished, give us the clear answer that is obscurred from the whole and general consensus of the class.
    With such important events and the direction that steered our country, there can be no less historical importance to getting it right than God's commentary upon Himself and His actions. Without those pedantics, every believer is left to his own adept ability to understand a passage of history. It is therefore, my held belief and collegiate understanding that unless a passage has such pedantic commentary, then the reader is left to the winds of doctrine(s) where he will choose what seems best to him or her.
    Bob Enyart, author of The Plot agrees with this. He says:
    The Bible presents its message through the vehicle of a true story (although it does of course contain parables). To understand the moral of a story, one must understand the story itself. Misunderstanding the story by missing the plot or a vital plot twist makes it difficult to ascertain the moral of the story. How can someone see all the details in a murky big picture?
    He generally says our theological understanding of the Bible brings out the points of a story and I agree with him.
    Further, (whether Enyart agrees I don't know)we must have theology developed from what is clear from scripture. Enyart, himself argues for a guiding hermenuetic and illustrates in several ways, the problem of deriving truth from story without an overarching principle and truth for discerning story. The point of this debate is to show that something (whatever that may be) must interpret story.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enyart
    ...the Apostle Paul's handling of early doctrinal disagreements provides the guidance to resolve today's debates. The Epistles become the compass, the whole Word of God the map, to traverse the terrain of human existence.-Bob Enyart.
    Mr. Enyart makes a distinction here of Epistles which I term under the broader heading of "pedantic (clear teaching) literature because story can record these pedantic lectures/instructions as can any form of literature we find in scripture. Enyart and I may or may not disagree on that which is considered pedantic, but the principle of it is shared. He rightly says that God knows what all scripture means because He is the author. I would expect, wherever God has been pedantic, we would all agree. In my estimation, it is specifically story-doctrine where we most diverge.

    One incident:
    In Open Theism 2 and 3 I've come across several individuals (names are unnecessary)who believe emphatically from Genesis 3, that God had no idea where Adam was hiding when He said "Adam, where are you?" They see this from the text specifically because God asked the question "Where?" They believe, in fact that God would have had to lie to ask the question if He did know. The problem is, they are 'deducing' this from the story.
    This illustrates a point: where do we find if God knew indeed where Adam was or not, if we do not have passages that expressly (pedantically/clearly) tell us "Nothing is hidden from God's eyes?" Hebrews 4:13
    The way (rules we follow in reading scripture) we read and understand scripture is called exegesis, or hermenuetics.

    This understanding of interpretting scripture is widely held and understood.
    Google hermenutics. For instance "Sound Biblical Hermenuetics" brings up the following sites:

    Talmudic hermeneutics :
    The gezerah shavah... attaches to the word in the one passage the entire sequence of ideas which it bears in the other. Such a gezerah shavah is purely lexicographical, as seeking to determine the exact signification of a word by comparison with another passage in which the full meaning of such word is clear. The rule thus demonstrates itself.
    (The passage that defines a term more clearly, is the one generally used to define the other within a text)
    In "binyan ab mi-katub echad" ("A standard from a passage of Scripture") a certain passage serves as a basis for the interpretation of many others, so that the decision given in the case of one is valid for all the rest.
    (echoing the pendantic vs. story rule for scripture interpretation)
    The Scholasticism of Christianity(2nd link from Goodle) has concured
    The Agreement Principle: "The truthfulness and faithfulness of God become the guarantee that he will not set forth any passage in his word that contradicts any other passage."
    Special literary analysis: There are several special literary aspects to look at, but the overarching theme is that each genre of Scripture has a different set of rules that applies to it. Of the genres found in Scripture, there are: narratives, histories, prophecies, apocalyptic writings, poetry, psalms and letters. In these, there are differing levels of allegory, figurative language, metaphors, similes and literal language. For instance, the apocalyptic writings and poetry have more figurative and allegorical language than does the narrative or historical writing. These must be addressed, and the genre recognized to gain a full understanding of the intended meaning.
    2. Always examine closely the context of any given passage.
    All literature, including the Bible, must be read or studied in light of its context. To do otherwise, will only cause confusion and misunderstanding on the part of the reader.
    Doctrinal passages teach doctrine, historical passages teach 'what happened.'

    A Guide To Basic Bible Interpretation:
    Allow clear or plain passages of the Bible to explain those which are obscure or doubtful.
    9. Don't build a doctrine upon an uncertain textual reading.
    13. Be alert to figurative language. The Bible is filled with figurative language and, because of its presence in the Scriptural text, it should cause the interpreter to be even more careful in his treatment of the Bible, making certain to not interpret literally that which was intended to be understood metaphorically or figuratively.
    (extreme theology.com)
    Principle #3 - Scripture interprets scripture and the less clear or plain passages of scripture MUST be interpreted in the light of the clearer passages.
    This website lays this out much more clearly and specifically that Pedantic passages rule over ones less so (such as story or poetry).

    The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermenuetics
    Article X
    WE AFFIRM that Scripture communicates God's truth to us verbally through a wide variety of literary forms.
    WE DENY that any of the limits of human language render Scripture inadequate to convey God's message.
    The Chicago Statement (given by a majority view of conservative evangelicals) implicitly says that each form of literature carries its own sets of interpretation rules.
    This Affirmation is a logical literary extension of Article II which acknowledges the humanity of Scripture. The Bible is God's Word, but it is written in human words; thus, revelation is "verbal." Revelation is "propositional" (Article VI) because it expresses certain propositional truth. Some prefer to call it "sentential" because the truth is expressed in sentences. Whatever the term--verbal, propositional, or sentential--the Bible is a human book which uses normal literary forms. These include parables, satire, irony, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, poetry, and even allegory (e.g., Ezek. 16-17).
    As an expression in finite, human language, the Bible has certain limitations in a similar way that Christ as a man had certain limitations. This means that God adapted Himself through human language so that His eternal truth could be understood by man in a temporal world.
    Thus pedantic is a clearer form of communicative facts than story.
    My warning that we must be doubly careful when deriving ideas from any unclear passage, including story, stands.
    Despite the obvious fact of the limitations of any finite linguistic expression, the Denial is quick to point out that these limits do not render Scripture an inadequate means of communicating God's truth. For while there is a divine adaptation (via language) to human finitude there is no accommodation to human error. Error is not essential to human nature. Christ was human and yet He did not err. Adam was human before he erred. So simply because the Bible is written in human language does not mean it must err. In fact, when God uses human language there is a supernatural guarantee that it will not be in error.

    It is not only educationally founded and sound that we apply 'rules' we've learned since grade school when reading for comprehension. It is logical and academically sound. We know in order to understand a story about a man working in dentistry, facts and information about dentistry will enhance and help us interpret the story correctly.
    What is true of Language Arts must be true of Scripture, for God speaks to us in the language of scripture, which must necessarily follow rules, both for doctrine and story. Where ever God plainly tells of Himself in scripture, such will guide and help our understanding of any other passage.
    When God implicitly tells us directly, that He does not change, when we come to a passage that says "And God relented," we dare not interpret such a passage as a "change of God's mind."


    Three reasons:
    1) This is not God saying "I changed my mind" but rather Samuel saying "God relented."
    2) God "Changing His mind" is an idea derived from "God relented" and not the actual words of the scripture passage. We call such 'deductive' or 'drawn from' the text, ideas that are not explicit. An idea is simply that. A truth stands regardless of an impression or idea. No deduction from a text can stand against what is implicite from scripture.
    3) The scripture that teaches "God relented" must not be pitted against a passage that clearly states "...the same yesterday, today, and forever."
    A deduced idea about a scriptural passage as "God changed His mind" must agree with clear teaching of God's immutable (unchanging) character (Regardless of the extent of immutability we might alternately hold to).

    Furthermore, a derived idea should leave as little imposition upon the pedantic truth given, because it is a reader's deduction that comes more from his perception than the passage being read. This is most true when reading story where every reader will come away with a personal interpretation that is diverse from other readers. Without using clear passages concerning God and man's character and nature, we may be read wrongly between the lines of a given story.
    In other words, it is exactly as the examples given between literature and social studies classes above. The first example was of Edgar Allen Poe's TellTale Heart where students had as many interpretations as nearly as there were students in the class. I could have pooled them together by interpretation and had them debate one another but it was Poe's habit of wanting precisely this kind of abstract derivement that produced those kinds of results.

    Conversely, Social studies is about what things happened and the meaning behind the actions. Students don't come up with assundry meanings because there are specific ones given by those who witnessed those events and these are pedantically (taught/given clearly) expressed so that all readers are on the same page.
    Question: Which of these does God employ? Is He a God of disorder and Chaos or one of Order and unity? If you believe it is the latter, you believe with me that pedantic passages (clear teaching passages) tell us how to read all others.
    Last edited by Lon; March 27th, 2012 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Link added for 1-on-1 discussion thread
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  3. #3
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    Thank you Lon for this first post. I am not sure that the texts you have embedded are intended to count as the first 5 or 10 passages for analysis. I will therefore respond to the various points below in a general sense and post separately detailed responses to certain specific texts.

    Also, it was a rule of this debate that no authorities are quoted beyond 130 ad. Where possible, I have tried to assume that what you cite is 100% your own view and thus I've made at least some comments rather than ignore these citations completely, which would be unhelpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    There is a normative approach to every language that truth is given straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc.
    Story, rather illustrates the relation of truth in the happenings and events portrayed. Without pedantics (clear teaching of truth), we are left to every wind of many doctrines and interpretations. *
    I do not agree with this at all. Although you have given no evidence for this at all and have failed in your argument to fulfil your onus of proof, I will try to make some constructive responses. Your analysis of what is normative may be true in some cultures but not in others. And in the case of ancient Hebrew, the very language most of the Old Testament is written in, I would argue that it is certainly not normative. Generalisations are uncommon in the Old Testament. One particular illustration is the way parallelism is woven into the fabric and syntax of the language. Parallelism is not merely a poetic device but a way of thinking.

    By the way, when you say "truth is given straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc.", I take this to mean that generalisations are given in commentary, etc. I will expand on this later but for the time being, it is necessary to state that it is not a given that any statement is true. Lies can also be 'given in straightforward commentary etc.' I take it from your opening statements, that you intend to distinguish between narrative accounts (whether history or other type of story) and generalisations about events or principles, which you call 'pedantic'.

    I also want to make it very clear that whether or not we are left "to every wind of many doctrines and interpretations.", is not at all the issue here. If a text is unclear in meaning, then that is what it is. Any rule that suggests we should add clarity to a text that is inherently unclear simply because we want it to be clear will constitute a distortion of the text itself. Later in your post you assert that the Bible is comparable to other literature in terms of the interpretive principles governing it and that one of those principles is that context governs meaning. Well, if this is true and you do not understand a passage of non-Biblical literature, what you do not do is make up whatever meaning you feel makes sense (whether this be a meaning picked arbitrarily by you or some best guess or some other meaning derived from something you have read elsewhere. Rather, what you do is you make further enquiries into the context of the passage to see if that resolves your lack of understanding. And if you still fail to understand it then you park it. What doctrines we care to glean from or read into a text are our own concern and my purpose in suggesting this debate is to discuss how we interpret those texts, not what theologies we can draw from the interpretations (unless of course that theology is self-evident from the text).

    Here , then are some examples of parallelism for the record:
    Deuteronomy 6:5
    You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

    This scripture does not teach that there are three parts of a person: the heart, the soul and the might. All these are synonymous terms, used for emphasis.

    Psalm 19:1-2
    1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    2 Day to day pours forth speech,
    And night to night reveals knowledge.

    Here we have 'heavens' in parallel with 'expanse' and 'glory of God' in parallel with 'work of his hands' in verse 1 and day and night in parallel in verse 2.

    The Old Testament is replete with parallelism. There are many different kinds. The intention is to steer away from generalisation, allowing the reader to make his own generalisation if the reader wants but more particularly because the Hebrew mind simply did not naturally make generalisations. All that is necessary is to give a minimum of two examples of something and you have the equivalent of a generalisation in Hebrew thought. This kind of thought has the advantage over generalisation in that it has a ready made context for interpretation whereas a generalisation must be re-applied to any given context in order to be meaningful. But since the generalisation is completely devoid of context, there is no guarantee that any application to a given context will be a valid one. Of course, the Hebrew realist thought process (for that is what it is usually known as) also has the disadvantage that a wrong generalisation can be inferred from the examples or more than one conflicting generalisation.

    My purpose in discussing this is to add depth to your understanding of Hebrew thought, rather than to debate its advantages and disadvantages. Whilst there are occasions where generalisations are made in the Old Testament, these are not the norm. Only one conclusion is necessary and that is that your contention that all languages normatively convey truth "straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc." is false.

    These rules are straightforward:
    1. Read the story as true
    2. Pay attention to any figure of speech
    3. Listen and discern commentary from those who went through this event
    4. Memorize facts, people, and events and etc.
    Story is easy when we are asking 'what happened?' It is harder when we ask "what did it mean?"
    I am not sure what the point you are making is here. When reading accounts of history, I would certainly concur with points 1 - 3. (I have no comment on point 4.) In the Old Testament, often the narrator of a historical passage adds comment to the account so there is no need for us to read anything into it. Where this does not happen, normal methods of discourse analysis usually reveal the meaning of the story.

    However, you appear to be setting up the reader for an appeal to "you don't really understand the meaning of this story, let me tell you what it is, you could easily be wrong." This would then be an attempt to emotionally undermine the normal reader of the text. After all, we are not all graduate students and we do not need to be afraid that if we read a text normally, we will automatically misunderstand it unless we have been to your classes. On the contrary, well-written historical narratives usually speak for themselves and it is my experience and that of most Christians, that the Bible is of the highest quality.

    This leads me to state what must surely be one of the first principles of hermeneutics:

    When interpreting a passage, if it is comprehensible in its proper local context, then that comprehension is the meaning of the passage. No other considerations need to be applied and if that comprehension is in conflict with some other passage or some other principle, then that conflict should remain rather than reinterpret the passage to mean something other than what it clearly means in that proper local context.

    It is the job of the theologian or Bible teacher, etc. to make sense of the conflict, if any; it is not his job to make the passage mean what it does not.

    I would add that as we read the Bible, it is the sum total of all the passages and their own local meanings, that inform us as a whole as to the nature of our faith and of our God. It is that sum total that then builds us up reliably because it is based on the real meaning of the whlole Bible. However, if every passage must subsequently be re-interpreted because it happens to be in conflict with some other passage or some other principle, then the revised sum total of meanings is no longer the sum total of all that the Bible means. Since then the sum total is different to what it previously was, the whole Bible will have moved away from what it actually does mean. You might describe this as shifting sand.

    With such important events and the direction that steered our country, there can be no less historical importance to getting it right than God's commentary upon Himself and His actions.
    I see the above as highly subjective. Quite apart from my argument above that the Hebrew language of the Old Testament is not normatively 'pedantic' it contains no argument as to why what God says about himself should be any more important than anything else in the Bible. It also presupposes that some parts of the Bible carry more weight than others and it also presupposes that some parts of the Bible are not in themselves revelations of God to us about his nature or about some other truth or principle that he wants to reveal.

    I would categorically deny all these presuppositions. I would also add that these presuppositions seem more likely to have been derived from the writings of Plato, who was much more in favour of the generalisation, the ideal that was divorced from the real world and of which the real world was a poor example, than that of the apostle Paul, who said that "all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; ", not that some parts of Scripture carried more weight than others. And Paul of course was ony reiterating what Jesus himself had said, laying out dire penallties for anyone who dared change just one dot or dash of the Scriptures. Re-interpretation of a passage to mean something other than its meaning in its proper local context is surely tantamount to doing at least that.

    Without those pedantics, every believer is left to his own adept ability to understand a passage of history.
    Again, per my comments above, this seems more along the lines of an emotional ploy than anything of substance.


    It is therefore, my held belief and collegiate understanding that unless a passage has such pedantic commentary, then the reader is left to the winds of doctrine(s) where he will choose what seems best to him or her.
    This does seem quite totalitarian: what you are saying is that whenever someone reads a passage of narrative, they are not allowed to have any reaction to it at all unless that reaction is endorsed or inspired by a passage in the form of a 'pedantic commentary'.

    So for example, when Miriam waxes musical after the parting of the Red Sea (Ex.15:1)

    20 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. 21 Miriam answered them,

    “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
    The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.”
    you would be suggesting here that the ordinary reader is not allowed to treat that as an invitation of the believer to rejoice and be musical at the goodness of the Lord for no other reason than that the passage does not have a pedantic commentary attached to it ("Let all believers likewise rejoice with music at God's great deeds") and that to do so might result in acquiring a wrong doctrine or commit some sin or immorality?

    I feel it is safe to assure you that if you try to prevent people from coming to an understanding of a passage on their own and from forming their own personal reaction to it, whenever there is no comment on it that would spoon feed them, then the very stones would take their place and jump with amazement at the depth of wisdom contained in every line of the Bible.

    I have made no responsive comment to your discussion of Bob Enyart's views because your citing him was a breach of the rules of the debate. I would be grateful, for the sake of good order, if you would consider removing your comments from your post.

    I would expect, wherever God has been pedantic, we would all agree. In my estimation, it is specifically story-doctrine where we most diverge.
    As you say, that is your estimation of the situation. Personally, I would expect that those brought up to think in terms of the idealism that derives from Plato would tend to agree with you because they would be uncomfortable with the methods of communication used in large parts of the Bible, which was after all written largely by people who were certainly not well versed in that idealism.

    I'll make no comments on your links to hermeneutics as, once again, they are outwith the terms of the debate. If you want to cite a specific Talmudic source that is dated prior to 130 ad, then please feel free to do so.



    All literature, including the Bible, must be read or studied in light of its context. To do otherwise, will only cause confusion and misunderstanding on the part of the reader.
    I am glad we agree on this. It is indeed a good reason in my view as to why I should be mystified that you should advocate that passages that do not contain 'pedantic' explanations should be read in the light of other passages that are nota part of the context of the passage in question.

    Doctrinal passages teach doctrine, historical passages teach 'what happened.'
    This is surely a gross over-simplification. I surely do not need to give examples of passages which have many purposes, including doctrine, history and so on.


    The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermenuetics
    The Chicago Statement (given by a majority view of conservative evangelicals) implicitly says that each form of literature carries its own sets of interpretation rules.
    Again, please, we agreed that we would not cite authorities beyond ad 130. It is of no concern of mine how many evangelicals or Roman Catholics or professors or street cleaners thought something. These are all ad hominem approaches and the rule I suggested and which you agreed to was designed mainly to eliminate this kind of approach from the debate and so raise its quality.

    Thus pedantic is a clearer form of communicative facts than story.
    My warning that we must be doubly careful when deriving ideas from any unclear passage, including story, stands.
    I refer you to my earlier comments.

    It is not only educationally founded and sound that
    This seems rather superfluous because if it has any substance, then you should cite references to back it up. However, since we have already agreed not to cite references beyond ad 130 then it adds nothing to the debate.


    we apply 'rules' we've learned since grade school when reading for comprehension.
    I don't know why you have put 'rules' in inverted commas here. I would rather state, whilst not entirely disagreeing with you, that most people when reading, interpret intuitively and do not apply explicit rules. Doing so, generally tends to slow down the pace of reading and render the reading experience considerably less enjoyable. But I daresay that a minority of people get a better experience from applying explicit rules.

    It is logical and academically sound.
    Again, I don't feel that this adds anything to the debate.

    We know in order to understand a story about a man working in dentistry, facts and information about dentistry will enhance and help us interpret the story correctly.
    Agreed. 'Correctly' meaning as the original author intended his intended audience to understand it.

    What is true of Language Arts must be true of Scripture, for God speaks to us in the language of scripture,
    Well, of course. I would stop at saying that language was an art, though much language is very artistic and language is certainly a medium for art; you can paint a house but you can also paint a picture, if you see what I mean. The Bible is not all art.

    which must necessarily follow rules, both for doctrine and story.
    I don't think it has to follow rules. And your own use of the term 'art' to describe this would surely tend to contradict you. Artists often make up their own rules, which are really no rules at all and it is often the fun of an artist to play with cultural norms and icons, invent something new, mock or criticise existing norms, etc., etc. Literature is no different from this.

    And besides, as I have previously stated, you have failed to justify any kind of distinction between doctrine and story.

    Where ever God plainly tells of Himself in scripture, such will guide and help our understanding of any other passage.
    When God implicitly tells us directly, that He does not change, when we come to a passage that says "And God relented," we dare not interpret such a passage as a "change of God's mind."
    I will comment on specific Bible passages in a separate post. On a general note, this principle is in direct conflict with your own statement above that everything should be interpreted in its context.

    Furthermore, a derived idea should leave as little imposition upon the pedantic truth given, because it is a reader's deduction that comes more from his perception than the passage being read. This is most true when reading story where every reader will come away with a personal interpretation that is diverse from other readers.
    As I stated at the beginning, it should not be an interpretive consideration that a passage conflicts in meaning with another passage. There is no ground whatsoever for changing the meaning of a passage that is already clear in its own proper context.

    I'd just like to clarify that I do consider that the New Testament does make many more generalisations than in the Old Testament. But I am sure we will discuss this in more detail when you present specific scriptures for debate.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; March 27th, 2012 at 03:35 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  4. #4
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    In this post I shall deal with some issues from the specific scriptures Lon posted in his first post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    One incident:
    In Open Theism 2 and 3 I've come across several individuals (names are unnecessary)who believe emphatically from Genesis 3, that God had no idea where Adam was hiding when He said "Adam, where are you?" They see this from the text specifically because God asked the question "Where?" They believe, in fact that God would have had to lie to ask the question if He did know. The problem is, they are 'deducing' this from the story.
    This illustrates a point: where do we find if God knew indeed where Adam was or not, if we do not have passages that expressly (pedantically/clearly) tell us "Nothing is hidden from God's eyes?" Hebrews 4:13
    Firstly, in the context of Genesis 3, the story of Adam and Eve is obviously allegorical. In allegory, words are imbued with sometimes many meanings, double entendres and at least enhanced or exaggerated meanings. In terms of the allegory, although we read God as saying "Where are you?" it is surely realistic to interpret this rhetorically or more widely such as "Adam, what have you become?" or "Adam, what state of mind are you in?". Perhaps there is also a note of poignancy such as "Where is the Adam I had such sweet fellowship with previously?" or "Adam, I expected to find you in the open but now you are just hiding?" That is how I roughly interpret it. It never occurred to me until it was pointed out to me recently that this was in conflict with some supposed principle that God sees everything, even though I was quite aware of the Hebrews passage.

    I accept the general interpretation of Hebrews 4:13 that everything is laid bare before God, however the context of the passage indicates that the purpose of declaring this is to apply it to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The text does not support a general theology of omnipresence, though I would accept that a general theology of omnipresence was not inconsistent with this particular passage. As I said in my previous post, my concern is what the particular passage means in its proper context, not with what theologians make of it at a more general level. The Greek text

    και ουκ εστιν κτισις αφανης ενωπιον αυτου

    should be read as "There is nothing created that is hidden when before his face." In other words nothing can be hidden from him when he scrutinises it. "To his eyes" in the next phrase should be interpreted in the same way. But as I say, this is not incompatible with a general theology of omnipresence, it is just that the passage itself does not teach that, being more concerned with the immediate issue of the inescapable judgement of God.


    When God implicitly tells us directly, that He does not change, when we come to a passage that says "And God relented," we dare not interpret such a passage as a "change of God's mind."
    On the contrary. To relent means to change one's mind. There is no other way of looking at that.

    But a little clarification. I am not sure which verse or which translation you are referring to so I am assuming it is the following, which I have taken from the KJV and where of course the same comment would apply to the word "repent":

    35And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
    But even if it is not this verse that you are referring to, there are other similar verses and my comments would still apply mutatis mutandis.



    Three reasons:
    1) This is not God saying "I changed my mind" but rather Samuel saying "God relented."
    In your first post you made much of the concept of a passage of historical narrative which was (or was not, as the case may be) qualified by a 'pedantic' comment. Surely by your own definition of 'pedantic', this is exactly and indubitably such a passage.

    Or perhaps we should apply the same logic to the passage you quoted above from Hebrews: 'This is not God saying that all things are uncovered before his eyes, it is just the author of Hebrews'?

    2) God "Changing His mind" is an idea derived from "God relented" and not the actual words of the scripture passage. We call such 'deductive' or 'drawn from' the text, ideas that are not explicit. An idea is simply that. A truth stands regardless of an impression or idea. No deduction from a text can stand against what is implicite from scripture.
    It is not merely derived from 'God relented', it is exactly the same thing. Relented is actually a more specific meaning, indicating a change of mind from hard to soft but it is still unquestionably a change of mind.


    3) The scripture that teaches "God relented" must not be pitted against a passage that clearly states "...the same yesterday, today, and forever."
    The two passages are not in conflict in any way. If you think they are, then I would invite you to give evidence for that.

    A deduced idea about a scriptural passage as "God changed His mind" must agree with clear teaching of God's immutable (unchanging) character (Regardless of the extent of immutability we might alternately hold to).
    Personally, I think that you are trying to read too much into the passage from Hebrews, which I assume to be:

    Hebrews 3:8 Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and for ever.

    Apart from the fact that this verse is referring to Jesus Christ and not to God, there is nothing here which states that Jesus (or God) cannot change his mind, as Jesus appears to have done in John 7 or in Matthew 15:21-28. Perhaps a more appropriate text for you would have been Malachi 3:6:

    6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

    (By the way I have no objection to thinking of Jesus as God but it is still an exegetical jump from 'Jesus Christ is the same...' to 'God is the same...') It is obviously consistent with God's character to change his mind at appropriate times according to the circumstances. This is explicitly stated in Jeremiah 18:7:

    7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

    You stated that it was unimportant which version of immutability one subscribed to (for the purposes of the debate). I do however feel that it is very important. Because I would certainly concur that God's character is unchanging. But if you feel that this extends to God never changing his mind, then this is not the kind of immutability that I or the Scriptures support.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  5. #5
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Thank you Lon for this first post. I am not sure that the texts you have embedded are intended to count as the first 5 or 10 passages for analysis. I will therefore respond to the various points below in a general sense and post separately detailed responses to certain specific texts.
    Hello DR. Thanks for your response.
    I will redress these then post the 25.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Also, it was a rule of this debate that no authorities are quoted beyond 130 ad. Where possible, I have tried to assume that what you cite is 100% your own view and thus I've made at least some comments rather than ignore these citations completely, which would be unhelpful.
    Call them added support and move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I do not agree with this at all. Although you have given no evidence for this at all and have failed in your argument to fulfil your onus of proof, I will try to make some constructive responses. Your analysis of what is normative may be true in some cultures but not in others. And in the case of ancient Hebrew, the very language most of the Old Testament is written in, I would argue that it is certainly not normative. Generalisations are uncommon in the Old Testament. One particular illustration is the way parallelism is woven into the fabric and syntax of the language. Parallelism is not merely a poetic device but a way of thinking.
    The illustrations were evidence.
    Try this:
    1) What, if any, is the moral of Hansel and Gretel?
    How do you know this?
    2) "One if by land, Two if by sea" means?
    How do you know this?
    3) Who or what was the talking serpent in Genesis 3?
    How do you know this?

    I'd expect
    1) "I don't know, I'd be guessing."
    2) "The British are coming, because I'm told this implicitly (pedantically/clearly)."
    3) Either "I don't know" or "Satan" and "I'm fairly confident Revelation says so." (or something similar)

    So, if you didn't say 'guessing' on the first, I'd have a problem. Unless you are told to come up with a point, I'd expect "I don't know" or "I think" for the Hansel and Gretel story and something a bit firmer for Genesis 3 whereas the British are coming is the only answer and it is quite pedantic.

    This all of course proving a quite pedantic point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    By the way, when you say "truth is given straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc.", I take this to mean that generalisations are given in commentary, etc. I will expand on this later but for the time being, it is necessary to state that it is not a given that any statement is true. Lies can also be 'given in straightforward commentary etc.' I take it from your opening statements, that you intend to distinguish between narrative accounts (whether history or other type of story) and generalisations about events or principles, which you call 'pedantic'.
    Remember you said this...Is God capable of lying? Is Samuel capable of lying when writing God's words down? Pedantic passages do not lie. They may record a lie, but will immediately deal with it. Story can often record a lie but you are left wondering if it was right or wrong. Rahab comes to mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I also want to make it very clear that whether or not we are left "to every wind of many doctrines and interpretations.", is not at all the issue here.
    Yeah, it is. We disagree and strongly on what "God 'relented'" means.
    Me, because straightforward doctrine from God Himself, directly to us, tells us what it can and cannot mean. This is the entire point of this One-On-One. There is no other topic on my agenda but this one. I want to make very clear that every free-wheeler bible interpreter can deduce about anything from a passage unless there are normative rules God has given us.
    As I already stated, He speaks to us in language and that language has rules for interpretation and it is the same or nearly so in every language as far as interpetation is concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    If a text is unclear in meaning, then that is what it is. Any rule that suggests we should add clarity to a text that is inherently unclear simply because we want it to be clear will constitute a distortion of the text itself. Later in your post you assert that the Bible is comparable to other literature in terms of the interpretive principles governing it and that one of those principles is that context governs meaning. Well, if this is true and you do not understand a passage of non-Biblical literature, what you do not do is make up whatever meaning you feel makes sense (whether this be a meaning picked arbitrarily by you or some best guess or some other meaning derived from something you have read elsewhere.
    Answer the serpent question above and get back to me. I will post shortly here 20 of the 25 passages that prove the point.
    There is agreement if both passages aren't clear, but that too is my point.
    In fact, agreeing with you further:
    "...what you do not do is make up whatever meaning you feel makes sense...."
    Interesting you should say this for 1) it clearly supports a normative interpretation of scripture and 2) is the very reason we are in this debate in the first place. You took a passage that was unclear and tried to make it say something that was speculative 1 Samuel 15 that God "changes His mind." I said, unless you have a clear passage (and there isn't one) you can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Rather, what you do is you make further enquiries into the context of the passage to see if that resolves your lack of understanding. And if you still fail to understand it then you park it. What doctrines we care to glean from or read into a text are our own concern and my purpose in suggesting this debate is to discuss how we interpret those texts, not what theologies we can draw from the interpretations (unless of course that theology is self-evident from the text).
    First of all, assuming you have the ability to do so to the fullest extent. If you do not, you listen to those who do instead of trying to disagree with them for the mere fact that there is a barrier to how far you can investigate.
    Second, once that threshold is hit and you are no nearer to your understanding than an assumption, it remains an assumption. To toss it out there as if it were a revealed truth is a commitment theological priori rather than what the text says.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Here , then are some examples of parallelism for the record:
    Deuteronomy 6:5
    You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

    This scripture does not teach that there are three parts of a person: the heart, the soul and the might. All these are synonymous terms, used for emphasis.
    You don't need to come up with those, that is my task. This doesn't do a lot for our discussion imho. You might bring in the NT here to suggest a quartet of heart/soul/mind/strength, but I don't see how that helps interpret Deuteronomy so it doesn't illustrate either of our points that I can tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Psalm 19:1-2
    1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    2 Day to day pours forth speech,
    And night to night reveals knowledge.

    Here we have 'heavens' in parallel with 'expanse' and 'glory of God' in parallel with 'work of his hands' in verse 1 and day and night in parallel in verse 2.
    The Old Testament is replete with parallelism. There are many different kinds. The intention is to steer away from generalisation, allowing the reader to make his own generalisation if the reader wants but more particularly because the Hebrew mind simply did not naturally make generalisations. All that is necessary is to give a minimum of two examples of something and you have the equivalent of a generalisation in Hebrew thought. This kind of thought has the advantage over generalisation in that it has a ready made context for interpretation whereas a generalisation must be re-applied to any given context in order to be meaningful. But since the generalisation is completely devoid of context, there is no guarantee that any application to a given context will be a valid one. Of course, the Hebrew realist thought process (for that is what it is usually known as) also has the disadvantage that a wrong generalisation can be inferred from the examples or more than one conflicting generalisation.
    I see this as tangential to our discussion.
    I've had a half year of Hebrew so you aren't telling me anything here I don't know (well actually 1 sememster, 1 quarter).
    We are specifically talking about how to rightly interpret/understand unclear narrative and other unclear passages. My stance continues to be that if you do not have normative scripture that clarifies an unclear passage, like that the serpent in the Garden in Genesis 3 is Satan, you are left guessing. A guess would go: I think the serpent is Satan because Revelation tells us that the fault of our fall is the serpent Satan's fault.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    My purpose in discussing this is to add depth to your understanding of Hebrew thought, rather than to debate its advantages and disadvantages. Whilst there are occasions where generalisations are made in the Old Testament, these are not the norm. Only one conclusion is necessary and that is that your contention that all languages normatively convey truth "straightforward in commentary, lecture, summary, and etc." is false.
    Hebrew words often have multiple meanings making it difficult to translate because exactness is a contextual practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I am not sure what the point you are making is here. When reading accounts of history, I would certainly concur with points 1 - 3. (I have no comment on point 4.) In the Old Testament, often the narrator of a historical passage adds comment to the account so there is no need for us to read anything into it. Where this does not happen, normal methods of discourse analysis usually reveal the meaning of the story.
    I agree, especially with 'usually.' If the passage does not give it, we can make tentative assumptions but those must agree with all of scripture.
    Our disagreement started when you claimed God was powerless.
    My contention was that such a 'derived' idea doesn't agree with the rest of scripture Genesis 17:1, Revelation 1:8

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    However, you appear to be setting up the reader for an appeal to "you don't really understand the meaning of this story, let me tell you what it is, you could easily be wrong." This would then be an attempt to emotionally undermine the normal reader of the text. After all, we are not all graduate students and we do not need to be afraid that if we read a text normally, we will automatically misunderstand it unless we have been to your classes. On the contrary, well-written historical narratives usually speak for themselves and it is my experience and that of most Christians, that the Bible is of the highest quality.
    Rather, I'm not so interested in telling you what "I" think it means but telling you that's what you think it could possibly mean. It is my way of throwing off speculations that are not implicit in the text. I may quote the passage or another that states otherwise to contest the idea. Again, this is the point of this one-on-one. If you do not have a clear point directly given by a passage, you don't get to make-it-up. You just agreed with this above. There is no such thing as "God changed His mind" ever given anywhere in scripture. That is how this 1-on-1 was started.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    This leads me to state what must surely be one of the first principles of hermeneutics:

    When interpreting a passage, if it is comprehensible in its proper local context, then that comprehension is the meaning of the passage. No other considerations need to be applied and if that comprehension is in conflict with some other passage or some other principle, then that conflict should remain rather than reinterpret the passage to mean something other than what it clearly means in that proper local context.
    "Yes" to the first half, a qualified "no" to the second. The reason we know the talking snake is Satan does not come from Genesis 3. So your second rule must accomodate this and it doesn't as it is currently worded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    It is the job of the theologian or Bible teacher, etc. to make sense of the conflict, if any; it is not his job to make the passage mean what it does not.
    Which is what this debate is about. It would seem it is over at this point with you agreeing with me. Unless a passage makes the conflict clear, it remains unclear. I agree. You said "God changed His mind"previous.
    You are right here, disagreeing with your own previous exegesis.

    /Debate?
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  6. #6
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I would add that as we read the Bible, it is the sum total of all the passages and their own local meanings, that inform us as a whole as to the nature of our faith and of our God. It is that sum total that then builds us up reliably because it is based on the real meaning of the whlole Bible. However, if every passage must subsequently be re-interpreted because it happens to be in conflict with some other passage or some other principle, then the revised sum total of meanings is no longer the sum total of all that the Bible means. Since then the sum total is different to what it previously was, the whole Bible will have moved away from what it actually does mean. You might describe this as shifting sand.
    Exactly. There is no passage in all of scripture that says "God changed His mind." Therefore, to make a passage that says "God relented (literally just "sighed") say "God changed His mind" when there are passages that teach clearly otherwise, is a violation of this rule. It seems to me at this point, you actually agree with interpretation rules but are not following those in practice. In other words, this whole one-on-one seems a debate over your [in]consistency rather than the rules themselves.
    It is special pleading asking for leeway with the text in my estimation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I see the above as highly subjective. Quite apart from my argument above that the Hebrew language of the Old Testament is not normatively 'pedantic' it contains no argument as to why what God says about himself should be any more important than anything else in the Bible. It also presupposes that some parts of the Bible carry more weight than others and it also presupposes that some parts of the Bible are not in themselves revelations of God to us about his nature or about some other truth or principle that he wants to reveal.
    Well, as I posted several sites that said so, your disagreement isn't just with me, but perhaps you are misunderstanding. Let me illustrate from our initial disagreement:
    In 1 Samuel, we have God saying He doesn't relent and 7 verses later Samuel tells us God relented He made Saul. I disagreed with you above that Hebrew is all that precise all the time because many Hebrew words are categorical, meaning they can convey any number of different words. One of those possibilties is "God relented." The word is literally "to sigh."
    Story is about teaching an overall idea concerning God and His people. It is not there to have us nitpick between "God relented/God didn't relent."
    This wasn't the purpose. It does not surprise me that Open Theism, primarily concerned with God's relationship with man, would be built off of narrative passages that primarily illustrate God as relational. What does surprise me rather, is that these are very difficult passages to find clear (pedantic) doctrine. "God relented," is a poor place to see if God is immutable or not; or even to see which parts of His character are immutable because 1) the passage wasn't written for that express purpose and 2) because we do have clear passages where God teaches us about His immutable character in clarity.
    In fact, it is my estimation you've violated interpretation rules you yourself have set out above, to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I would categorically deny all these presuppositions. I would also add that these presuppositions seem more likely to have been derived from the writings of Plato, who was much more in favour of the generalisation, the ideal that was divorced from the real world and of which the real world was a poor example, than that of the apostle Paul, who said that "all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; ", not that some parts of Scripture carried more weight than others. And Paul of course was ony reiterating what Jesus himself had said, laying out dire penallties for anyone who dared change just one dot or dash of the Scriptures. Re-interpretation of a passage to mean something other than its meaning in its proper local context is surely tantamount to doing at least that.
    Of course all scripture is inspired and is profitable. Rather, I said, quoted, found others who agreed,and etc;
    that story will be vague on specific doctrinal points like clearly telling us about God's immutable nature, yet clear on relational aspects for which reason they are conveyed. My point? 1) That you don't go looking for God 'changing His mind' in a passage not meant to express that goal. 2) That you follow your own advice and not over-extrapolate meaning from vague passages. The passage in 1 Samuel means 'too sigh.' Poor exegesis would builds almost all of their doctrine off of deduction from unclear passages, violating all of these observed rules, most of which you have agreed with me upon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    This does seem quite totalitarian: what you are saying is that whenever someone reads a passage of narrative, they are not allowed to have any reaction to it at all unless that reaction is endorsed or inspired by a passage in the form of a 'pedantic commentary'.
    No, rather I am saying that such is not, in fact, pedantic (clear). That is, it is an assumption. Doctrine is rather weak and suspect when built off of things unclear. If it isn't pedantic (clear) it is always suspect. And quite rightly so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    So for example, when Miriam waxes musical after the parting of the Red Sea (Ex.15:1)

    you would be suggesting here that the ordinary reader is not allowed to treat that as an invitation of the believer to rejoice and be musical at the goodness of the Lord for no other reason than that the passage does not have a pedantic commentary attached to it ("Let all believers likewise rejoice with music at God's great deeds") and that to do so might result in acquiring a wrong doctrine or commit some sin or immorality?
    You may rejoice. That isn't a 'doctrinal' assumption pitted against the rest of christianity. God "changing His mind" is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I feel it is safe to assure you that if you try to prevent people from coming to an understanding of a passage on their own and from forming their own personal reaction to it, whenever there is no comment on it that would spoon feed them, then the very stones would take their place and jump with amazement at the depth of wisdom contained in every line of the Bible.
    Why is it that you feel only a small handful of like minds would get that peculiar and particular amazement and wisdom, rather than the amazement and wisdom the rest of us received? We again are talking about normative interpretations of scripture and ensuring that whatever we pull from less clear literature such as story, must agree with what is increasingly clear from other passages. They cannot be said to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I have made no responsive comment to your discussion of Bob Enyart's views because your citing him was a breach of the rules of the debate. I would be grateful, for the sake of good order, if you could remove your comments from your post.
    You may ignore them but my point again, is to gird up my statements with information for the reader, regardless if they are admissable to you (I didn't read it as completely prohibitive and wouldn't agree of course). Albeit, leave them and ignore them. The arguments stand with or without them. They merely add as far as I'm concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    As you say, that is your estimation of the situation. Personally, I would expect that those brought up to think in terms of the idealism that derives from Plato would tend to agree with you because they would be uncomfortable with the methods of communication used in large parts of the Bible, which was after all written largely by people who were certainly not well versed in that idealism.
    Sure. Western thinkers are...er...westernized and hellenized to an extent but I don't uncritically buy into one directly influencing the other where theology is concerned (it'd take more rabbit-trail than assertion here, despite your suspicions).

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I'll make no comments on your links to hermeneutics as, once again, they are outwith the terms of the debate. If you want to cite a specific Talmudic source that is dated prior to 130 ad, then please feel free to do so.
    No problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    This is surely a gross over-simplification. I surely do not need to give examples of passages which have many purposes, including doctrine, history and so on.
    Let's use the Hebrew's understanding then: Wisdom passages teach wisdom, history passages convey a story. There is some simplification but gross, I do not think so. I said as much in my first post. Story may contain doctrinal teachings and vise versa. Thus, it was not a huge over-generalization on my part.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Again, please, we agreed that we would not cite authorities beyond ad 130. It is of no concern of mine how many evangelicals or Roman Catholics or professors or street cleaners thought something. These are all ad hominem approaches and the rule I suggested and which you agreed to was designed mainly to eliminate this kind of approach from the debate and so raise its quality.
    Neither here nor there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I refer you to my earlier comments.
    I'm not seeing how they have substantially rebutted the fact that clearer passages give doctrine more clearly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Well, of course. I would stop at saying that language was an art, though much language is very artistic and language is certainly a medium for art; you can paint a house but you can also paint a picture, if you see what I mean. The Bible is not all art.
    What you and I used to call English is now Language Arts, but I might actually agree with you on this particular

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I don't think it has to follow rules. And your own use of the term 'art' to describe this would surely tend to contradict you. Artists often make up their own rules, which are really no rules at all and it is often the fun of an artist to play with cultural norms and icons, invent something new, mock or criticise existing norms, etc., etc. Literature is no different from this.
    I somewhat agree here too. Again, I wasn't the one renaming English and would not have done so, however, even artistic expression follows rules. They are followed more loosely. Language rules, however, are much more precise. Each language carries there own set of rules. English is horrible about breaking those rules, but most others do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    And besides, as I have previously stated, you have failed to justify any kind of distinction between doctrine and story.
    This hardly needs any. There is intuitively a difference between reading Hansel and Gretel or the Lord of the Rings, and the declaration of independence. There is a difference in reading the Kings of Israel and Philippians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I will comment on specific Bible passages in a separate post. On a general note, this principle is in direct conflict with your own statement above that everything should be interpreted in its context.
    No, not at all. I said there is no scriptural passage in all of the Bible that says "God changed His mind." Therefore, I cannot say "God changed His mind" if I have actual words from God that say "I will not change my mind" or "I change not." My 'idea' from a passage as "God relented" somehow meaning "God changed His mind" is not scripture.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    As I stated at the beginning, it should not be an interpretive consideration that a passage conflicts in meaning with another passage. There is no ground whatsoever for changing the meaning of a passage that is already clear in its own proper context.
    Exactly. "God changed His mind" is nowhere in all of the Bible. It is rather, an idea/impression from reading a story. Should we build theology off of 'our' ideas?

    Thank you again for your debate here with me over these important matters.

    -Lon
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  7. #7
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Romans 10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the
    truth.
    Joh 4:23 But a time is coming — and now is here — when the true worshipers will worship the Father
    in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers.
    Normative interpretation means both how we'd see a 'normative' or regular pattern to the scriptures
    making themselves clear and the way most christians reading scripture would interpret the passage.

    I've looked for scriptures that I've seen often taken from both immediate context and biblical
    context that do not all reflect any one group. I have chosen a few that I hope DesertReign can
    relate to because our disagreement is specific and so necessarily oriented toward the Open View he espouses (which is how this debate started and also one similar with other TOL OVer's in the past).
    I am not picking on any particular, purposefully other than using genuine examples from my debates on this matter found at TOL.
    The first item then, is "Interpretation" because these are actuals given. The correction is given as "Normative." I expect a great amount of agreement on most.
    ************************************************** *******
    1)
    Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And
    Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God in the middle of the trees of the
    garden.
    Gen 3:9 And Jehovah God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?
    Interpretation: God had no idea where Adam was.
    Joh 21:17B And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things
    Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness does not hide from You; but the night shines as the day; as is the
    darkness, so is the light to You.
    Psa 139:7 Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
    Normative interpretation: God simply asked Adam to acknowledge where He was.

    2)
    Genesis 3:1
    Interpretation: The talking serpent was Satan
    John 8:44
    Revelation 12:9
    Normative interpretation: Tradition gives the serpent as Satan. Several passages tell us that
    Satan is also called the serpent but we are left with a process of tradition and deduction to a certain degree.

    3)
    Gen 22:12 "Do not harm the boy!" the angel said. "Do not do anything to him, for now I know that
    you fear God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me."
    Interpretation: God hadn't a clue what was in Abraham's heart nor if he would carry out his intentions.

    Psa 139:1 O LORD, you examine me and know.
    Psa 139:3 You search my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Psa 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Jehovah, You know it altogether.
    Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot go up to it.
    Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts,
    Psa 139:24 and see if any wicked way is in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
    Psa 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I get up;
    even from far away you understand my motives.
    Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises,
    yet he was ready to offer up his only son.
    Heb 11:18 God had told him, "Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,"
    Heb 11:19 and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead
    Normative interpretation: "Lo, Yadda" "I know". Hebrews 11 makes it clear God knew Abraham's thoughts and intentions else it could not be written hundred of years later what Abraham was
    reasoning in his heart and mind. God already knew. Even if such isn't agreed upon, it must be acknowledged that the passage does not explicitly state God didn't know, even if someone is to assert that it is strongly implied to them.

    4)
    Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become a waste, and
    the beast of the field multiply against you.
    Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased,
    and inherit the land.
    Exo 23:31 And I will stretch your bounds from the Red Sea even to the Sea of the Philistines, and
    from the desert to the river. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and
    you shall drive them out before you.
    Interpretation: God promised unconditionally to drive out the people of the lands.
    Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods.
    Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve
    their gods, it surely will be a snare to you
    Num 33:52 then you shall drive out all those who live in the land from before you, and destroy all
    their carved images, and destroy all their molded images and pluck down all their high places.
    Num 33:53 And you shall possess the land, and live in it. For I have given you the land to possess
    it.
    Num 33:55 But if you will not drive out the people of the land from before you, then it will be,
    those of them whom you let remain shall be goads in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they
    shall trouble you in the land in which you live.
    Num 33:56 And it shall be, as I thought to do to them, so I shall do to you.
    Jos 1:5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses,
    so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.
    Jos 1:6 Be strong and of good courage. For you shall divide for an inheritance to this people, the
    land which I swore to their fathers, to give it to them.
    Jos 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous so that you may be careful to do according to all the
    Law which My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that
    you may act wisely wherever you go.
    Heb 11:33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice,36 gained what was
    promised,37 shut the mouths of lions,
    Normative Interpretation: It is clearly given that this promise is conditional because Hebrews
    tells us pedantically (plainly) they gained what was promised.

    5)
    Isaiah 5:4 Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?
    Interpretation: God didn't know He was going to get bad grapes. It was totally unexpected

    John 21:17 1 John 3:20 God knows all things
    1 Kings 13:2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: "O altar, altar! This is what
    the LORD says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the
    priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.
    Normative Interpretation: "Expect" is in translation. The Hebrew word is simply "to gather"
    "...when I went to gather, the grapes were worthless..."
    This is Isaiah's song concerning God, to God and His people. It is poetic.
    God was not caught surprised. A farmer would certainly know at the time he went to gather,
    whether he would step outside the door or not. The grapes didn't change over night and the
    condition was hardly surprising to him. God knows our hearts. He knew what 300 years in advance
    of the name of a young king named Josiah and what he would do beforehand. He cannot be thought of
    as surprised by a single season's lousy grapes. It is figurative, Israel isn't even a bunch of
    grapes.

    ************************************************** *******
    6)
    Jer 7:31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth in the Valley of Ben
    Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never
    commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing!
    Interpretation: God was found unaware of the depravity of man

    Hebrews 4:13 Nothing is hidden from God's sight
    Normative interpretation: must not show a lack in God's ability to know all that is knowable.
    Rather, this word means 'center of my being' thus 'mind' is a good translated idea unless one takes
    that to mean God was clueless. Nothing allows for this.

    7)
    What do all scripture directives amount to, what do they mean?
    Interpretation: any idea other than what is given clearly in scripture
    Mat 22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
    Normative interpretation: That which Jesus has pedantically given.

    8)
    Deu 25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man's wife
    must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband's brother must go to her,
    marry her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law.
    Mat 22:28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had
    married her."
    Interpretation: We could come up with a lot of plausible ideas

    Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like
    angels in heaven.
    Normative interpretation: Marriage in heaven doesn't exist to worry about.

    9)
    Mat 22:23 The same day Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection...
    Interpretation: Many claim the Hebrews did not believe in a resurrection but that they went to the worms in the ground and thats the end.

    Mat 22:29 Jesus32 answered them, "You are deceived, because you don't know the scriptures or the power of God.
    Mat 22:32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living!"
    Normative interpretation: The Pharisees disagreed and argued with the sadducees.
    Act 23:6 I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead!"
    Act 23:7 When he said this, an argument began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the
    assembly was divided.
    Whoever says all of the Jews believed or believe in cessation based off of their O.T. study alone,
    are clearly incorrect.

    10)
    Psa 45:6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the staff of Your kingdom is a staff of righteousness.
    Psa 45:7 You love righteousness, and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
    with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.
    Interpretation: "Elohim can" mean Lord or King.

    Hebrews 1:5,8,9
    Normative: Hebrews leaves no doubt it means deity.

    ************************************************** *******
    11&12)
    Col 1:15 who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation.
    Interpretation: Jesus is a 1) created being 2) born first and is merely made in God's "image"
    Gen. 41:51, 52 w/Jeremiah 31:9b
    Normative interpretation: Ephraim was called 'first-born' In order to be so according to the idea above, he'd have to have been born first (he was born, actually second).
    Php 2:5 For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
    Php 2:6 who, being in the form of God...
    Normative interpretaton: Jesus is an exact image because He is the morph[e] (same exact taking on
    another form) as God.

    13)
    Genesis 1:1 In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth
    Interpretation: Only the Father God was involved in creation.
    Col 1:16 For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the
    earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all
    things were created through Him and for Him.
    Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And
    the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
    Normative interpretation: All of God was involved.

    14,15)
    Isaiah 43:24 You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,
    Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
    But you have burdened Me with your sins,
    You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
    Interpretation: God can 1) grow tired of us and lose patience and
    2)desires sacrificed fat.

    Isaiah 1:11 "The multitude of your sacrifices--what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more
    than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the
    blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
    Psalm 136:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.
    Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of
    the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
    Normative interpretation: God does not eat. 1)He doesn't need sacrifices, we do.
    2) He does not grow tired it is a figure of speech, not literal.

    ************************************************** *******
    16)
    1Sa 15:35 And Samuel never again saw Saul until the day of his death, for Samuel mourned for Saul.
    And Jehovah repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.
    Interpretation: God changes His mind.
    1 Samuel 15:29 the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He
    should change His mind.”
    Normative Interpretation: "relent" here cannot mean changes His mind, because we are told just 7 verses earlier, God doesn't and nowhere do we find the words "God changed His mind."

    17)
    Psa 2:1 Why do the nations rebel?
    Why are the countries devising plots that will fail?
    Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth form a united front;
    the rulers collaborate
    against the LORD and his anointed king.
    Interpretation: this applies only to King David
    Act 4:25 who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather,
    'Why do the nations rage,
    and the peoples plot foolish things?
    Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood together,
    and the rulers assembled together,
    against the Lord and against his Christ.
    Normative Interpretation: Though this prophecy had fulfillment immediately, it was yet messianic and was fullfilled in Christ.
    Act 4:28 in order to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel determined before to be done.
    God knew what kings and religious leaders would do to Christ before it came to pass.

    18)
    Gen 18:21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of
    it, which has come to Me. And if not, I will know.
    Interpretation: God does not know current happenings on the earth and is not everywhere.
    Psa 33:13 The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people.
    Pro 15:11 Hell and destruction are before Jehovah; even more the hearts of the sons of men.
    Col 1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
    Normative Interpretation: God sees everywhere at once. Because all things are sustained by Him,
    nothing can happen without His notice.

    19)
    Gen 2:19 The LORD God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird
    of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called
    each living creature, that was its name.
    Interpretation: God didn't know what Adam would name the animals.
    John 21 God knows all things.
    Normative interpretation:"God watched what Adam called the animals" is a good tranlation.

    20)
    Jer 49:22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and
    at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
    Interpretation: God flies.
    Psa 33:13 The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people.
    Normative interpretation: This is a symbolic passage simply trying to convey that God is ever
    present and close to His people.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  8. #8
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Hello DR,

    Let me quickly address this. If you want to hold off till later or ignore this particular one, that is fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    In this post I shall deal with some issues from the specific scriptures Lon posted in his first post.



    Firstly, in the context of Genesis 3, the story of Adam and Eve is obviously allegorical. In allegory, words are imbued with sometimes many meanings, double entendres and at least enhanced or exaggerated meanings. In terms of the allegory, although we read God as saying "Where are you?" it is surely realistic to interpret this rhetorically or more widely such as "Adam, what have you become?" or "Adam, what state of mind are you in?". Perhaps there is also a note of poignancy such as "Where is the Adam I had such sweet fellowship with previously?" or "Adam, I expected to find you in the open but now you are just hiding?" That is how I roughly interpret it. It never occurred to me until it was pointed out to me recently that this was in conflict with some supposed principle that God sees everything, even though I was quite aware of the Hebrews passage.

    I accept the general interpretation of Hebrews 4:13 that everything is laid bare before God, however the context of the passage indicates that the purpose of declaring this is to apply it to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The text does not support a general theology of omnipresence, though I would accept that a general theology of omnipresence was not inconsistent with this particular passage. As I said in my previous post, my concern is what the particular passage means in its proper context, not with what theologians make of it at a more general level. The Greek text

    και ουκ εστιν κτισις αφανης ενωπιον αυτου

    should be read as "There is nothing created that is hidden when before his face." In other words nothing can be hidden from him when he scrutinises it. "To his eyes" in the next phrase should be interpreted in the same way. But as I say, this is not incompatible with a general theology of omnipresence, it is just that the passage itself does not teach that, being more concerned with the immediate issue of the inescapable judgement of God.
    Er...except that God doesn't have a face. You are inadvertently, imho, humanizing in your scriptural expectation. I disagree with your general assessment, it looks rather specific to me both in Greek and English.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    On the contrary. To relent means to change one's mind. There is no other way of looking at that.
    No, it can mean a change in action without a change of mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    But a little clarification. I am not sure which verse or which translation you are referring to so I am assuming it is the following, which I have taken from the KJV and where of course the same comment would apply to the word "repent":
    35And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
    But even if it is not this verse that you are referring to, there are other similar verses and my comments would still apply mutatis mutandis.
    Yes. We can forgo it when you come to the 20 posted passages.




    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    In your first post you made much of the concept of a passage of historical narrative which was (or was not, as the case may be) qualified by a 'pedantic' comment. Surely by your own definition of 'pedantic', this is exactly and indubitably such a passage.
    Yes, seven verses prior, we have the pedantic given. Seven verses later (the one we are looking at) is a commentary. There is a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Or perhaps we should apply the same logic to the passage you quoted above from Hebrews: 'This is not God saying that all things are uncovered before his eyes, it is just the author of Hebrews'?
    And which verse would you use to justify that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    It is not merely derived from 'God relented', it is exactly the same thing. Relented is actually a more specific meaning, indicating a change of mind from hard to soft but it is still unquestionably a change of mind.
    And again, no. This is what you'd 'like' it to say or the 'idea' it springs to your mind. It is not in fact, what the passage says. In fact, the passage simply says "God sighed." Every idea after that, is a translated one, and not one translators'd appreciate you wrestling over, for they were all traditional theists and knew what they meant even if you don't. In fact, we should go back and read the Hebrew words to make sure as you've done above with Greek. You seem to know these exegetical rules as I do and even apply them, yet observe them inconsistently. If they are rules for me, they are consistent rules for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    The two passages are not in conflict in any way. If you think they are, then I would invite you to give evidence for that.

    Personally, I think that you are trying to read too much into the passage from Hebrews, which I assume to be:

    Hebrews 3:8 Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and for ever.
    Or how about even seven verses before that states it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Apart from the fact that this verse is referring to Jesus Christ and not to God...
    Er...you are not a trinitarian?
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    ...there is nothing here which states that Jesus (or God) cannot change his mind, as Jesus appears to have done in John 7 or in Matthew 15:21-28. Perhaps a more appropriate text for you would have been Malachi 3:6:
    Or 1 Samuel 15:29 for that matter. I already gave that so thought I'd pull yet another.

    Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    (By the way I have no objection to thinking of Jesus as God but it is still an exegetical jump from 'Jesus Christ is the same...' to 'God is the same...') It is obviously consistent with God's character to change his mind at appropriate times according to the circumstances. This is explicitly stated in Jeremiah 18:7
    Aren't you writing my own argument here by saying pedantic passages 'explicitly' tell us what we must think about narrative ones? How is this not an example of exactly what you are supposed to be rebutting?

    /debate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Jeremiah 18:7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
    As stated above, relenting isn't automatically a 'mind change.' That is an assumption whether you admit it or not. Any readers will see it.
    2nd, it is the same word nacham from Samuel that means to sigh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    You stated that it was unimportant which version of immutability one subscribed to (for the purposes of the debate). I do however feel that it is very important. Because I would certainly concur that God's character is unchanging. But if you feel that this extends to God never changing his mind, then this is not the kind of immutability that I or the Scriptures support.
    If you think God changes His mind, you believe His nature and character changes. This is not immutability, biblical or otherwise. So, regardless of disagreement about immutability one might hold from another, they will not hold to counter doctrines against any kind of immutability.

    You can address this separately or add it in to the list already given.

    -Lon
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  9. #9
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    The illustrations were evidence.
    A lot of this was lost on me because I am not an American and American history has not been ingrained in me since I was young. However, I shall try to make some sense of it.
    What you seem to be saying is that because someone made a general statement about the Boston Tea Party, then the event of the Boston Tea Party must be understood in terms of that statement and because that statement was in your view correct, then anyone who forms a different idea about the significance of the Boston Tea Party has to retake their class.
    I may have misunderstood something but I fail to see how this justifies the priority of analysis over story. I can, though, see how it would be evidence of the existence of the two types of writing.


    Try this:
    1) What, if any, is the moral of Hansel and Gretel?
    How do you know this?
    Hansel and Gretel is a story written specifically for young children. Young children generally don't know the difference between right and wrong and stories such as these can help them in certain respects. These stories fire their imagination and lead them to take sides against wrongdoing. The story of Hansel and Gretel in particular acknowledges poverty and abuse as circumstances that children have to cope with and offers them a happy ending through it, which bolsters their confidence and hence helps them to grow up well and psychologically strong.
    I know this because I have four children and I have read numerous stories with them. Little Red Riding Hood could be said to be another story with similar motifs.
    The fact that I know this because I have read other such stories, suggests the significance of researching the context of ancient literature. I have never read as far as I can remember any explanation of the story. If I were to write my explanation per the above and publish it, that does not mean that my 'hermeneutic' would be authoritative.

    2) "One if by land, Two if by sea" means?
    How do you know this?
    As I say, I am not an expert on American history. I had to look this up'; that is how I know what I am about to say. This phrase comes from a poem by Longfellow. It is a symbol of American independence, a rallying call if you like.

    I don't see what your point is other than to emphasise, as I am only too eager to agree with you on, the importance of understanding the context. No one can give an authoritative analysis of the meaning because only Longfellow himself has the right to authoritatively interpret his works. Although many people have commented, it seems, that the poem was far from historical. It had a kernel of truth but was really a myth in the making, though I am sure you already know all that.

    3) Who or what was the talking serpent in Genesis 3?
    How do you know this?
    The serpent doesn't need to symbolise any particular entity. In the Gilgamesh epic, the hero Gilgamesh discovered a plant that would give him eternal life but a snake came along and ate the plant up before Gilgamesh could take it. The role the serpent plays in Genesis is more than sufficient to give closure to the narrative: as in Gilgamesh, he thwarts the 'happy ever after' ending. In Genesis he is specifically ultra crafty and that is all that needs to be known about the symbolism to make the story complete. Other passages in the Bible attributing Satan to the serpent are too far removed to actually be part of the proper context of Genesis 3. Those additional passages, should therefore be considered as new information for exegetical purposes.


    I'd expect
    1) "I don't know, I'd be guessing."
    2) "The British are coming, because I'm told this implicitly (pedantically/clearly)."
    3) Either "I don't know" or "Satan" and "I'm fairly confident Revelation says so." (or something similar)

    So, if you didn't say 'guessing' on the first, I'd have a problem. Unless you are told to come up with a point, I'd expect "I don't know" or "I think" for the Hansel and Gretel story
    Then you have a problem. Because whilst I don't claim my commentary on it to be authoritative, no authority is needed because my commentary is clearly based squarely on context. My commentary may differ from someone else but so long as the two are consistent with each other, we can agree that we are along the right lines. We do not need anyone to make an authoritative pronouncement because the explanations we already have are satisfying. If another expert were to bring additional context that showed that my opinion was clearly wrong then that would be a different matter.

    and something a bit firmer for Genesis 3 whereas the British are coming is the only answer and it is quite pedantic.
    Or something along those lines. From what I've read, it doesn't mean that exactly. It was the instruction given for the signal to be lit ifthe British came by land or sea, as the case may be. It would later (i.e. after publication of the poem) become a rallying call. So there would be two related but distinct contexts.

    This all of course proving a quite pedantic point.
    You could say that.


    Remember you said this...Is God capable of lying?
    It depends on what you mean by lying. If you mean deliberate false speaking to take advantage of the innocent, then I would agree he doesn't do this. But clearly God does deceive those who are set on evil. (e.g. 1 Kings 22) and in a similar vein a case could be made for God being a thief as he takes away what little the wicked have. (Matthew 13:12).

    Is Samuel capable of lying when writing God's words down? Pedantic passages do not lie. They may record a lie, but will immediately deal with it. Story can often record a lie but you are left wondering if it was right or wrong. Rahab comes to mind.
    I will deal with Samuel in the specific scripture section. As to Rahab, I am not sure what you are getting at. Obviously she deceived the people of Jericho and betrayed her own people. Now I would say that she lied, because I don't make a hard distinction between lying to a wicked person and lying to an innocent person. And I think I am in the majority in that. However, I would be prepared to make that distinction for the sake of this debate. And in that case, it is clear that she did nothing wrong.

    Yeah, it is. We disagree and strongly on what "God 'relented'" means.
    Me, because straightforward doctrine from God Himself, directly to us, tells us what it can and cannot mean. This is the entire point of this One-On-One. There is no other topic on my agenda but this one. I want to make very clear that every free-wheeler bible interpreter can deduce about anything from a passage unless there are normative rules God has given us.
    As I already stated, He speaks to us in language and that language has rules for interpretation and it is the same or nearly so in every language as far as interpetation is concerned.
    I will answer this in the specific scripture sections.


    Answer the serpent question above and get back to me. I will post shortly here 20 of the 25 passages that prove the point.
    See above.


    There is agreement if both passages aren't clear, but that too is my point.
    In fact, agreeing with you further:Interesting you should say this for 1) it clearly supports a normative interpretation of scripture and 2) is the very reason we are in this debate in the first place. You took a passage that was unclear and tried to make it say something that was speculative 1 Samuel 15 that God "changes His mind." I said, unless you have a clear passage (and there isn't one) you can't.
    If you are prepared to make the distinction between changing one's mind and changing one's character in the same way that I have been prepared to distinguish between lying to a wicked person and lying to an innocent person, then I feel we could make progress. In my experience the phrase 'to change one's mind' most often refers to changing a plan and sometimes to changing an opinion. Neither of these has in mind a change of personality. If you don't agree with that then I would invite you to be more explicit as to what you mean when you say that God does not change his mind. Because it is clear from scripture (example verses already quoted) that God does change his plans. If it is the mere coinage that offends you then surely you can accommodate that?


    First of all, assuming you have the ability to do so to the fullest extent. If you do not, you listen to those who do instead of trying to disagree with them for the mere fact that there is a barrier to how far you can investigate.
    Agreed, but this wasn't the point. The point is how do we do good interpretation. If we ourselves as individuals do not have the tools to do it, then the same question still arises for those who do have those tools. The question is what are those tools and what should they be?

    Second, once that threshold is hit and you are no nearer to your understanding than an assumption, it remains an assumption. To toss it out there as if it were a revealed truth is a commitment theological priori rather than what the text says.
    Well, isn't that what I just said? I said

    And if you still fail to understand it then you park it.
    You don't need to come up with those, that is my task. This doesn't do a lot for our discussion imho. You might bring in the NT here to suggest a quartet of heart/soul/mind/strength,
    Not sure what passage you are referring to. I would think that the use of such concepts were reliant on the OT anyway.

    but I don't see how that helps interpret Deuteronomy so it doesn't illustrate either of our points that I can tell.
    It was you who said "You might bring in the NT here..." - it wasn't my idea. I wouldn't think of something like that and precisely because I would only look at the proper context to do interpretation.


    We are specifically talking about how to rightly interpret/understand unclear narrative and other unclear passages.
    No. We were talking about general principles of interpretation. To say that they are unclear is to assume the conclusion. Whether they are unclear or not is to be determined and at that from the local context.

    My stance continues to be that if you do not have normative scripture that clarifies an unclear passage, like that the serpent in the Garden in Genesis 3 is Satan, you are left guessing. A guess would go: I think the serpent is Satan because Revelation tells us that the fault of our fall is the serpent Satan's fault.
    And my concern over this stance is that your application of what you call a 'normative scripture' will be arbitrarily chosen and made to apply to a passage in breach of the proper context of that passage. In this way you can make what are clear passages change their proper meaning. And it is my concern that the reason why you would judge a passage unclear is none other than it disagrees with your interpretation of some other passage. So the mechanism for indoctrination begins here. You take a passage that verbally supports your position and so is easy to justify superficially, then when another passage conflicts with this, you re-interpret it according to the first interpretation, rather than re-examine your first interpretation.

    Hebrew words often have multiple meanings making it difficult to translate because exactness is a contextual practice.
    I don't know how this affects the debate because any professional translator or bi-lingual person will tell you that every language has its distinctive structures and it is a truism to say that it is difficult and often problematical to translate. That's what makes it a foreign language at all.


    I agree, especially with 'usually.' If the passage does not give it, we can make tentative assumptions but those must agree with all of scripture.
    No. The dogma that all scripture is self-consistent is one derived from experience, not from a priori assumptions. One reason why I find the Bible so wonderful is because it is self-consistent. But I have never made the assumption that it is. I have only ever interpreted each passage in its local context but I have never found any example of inconsistency. This is the basis of my confidence that there is no need to interpret passages in the light of other passages outside their own proper context. And it is this that leads me to suspect that there are hidden agendas in operation when others try to do just that.


    Our disagreement started when you claimed God was powerless.
    My contention was that such a 'derived' idea doesn't agree with the rest of scripture Genesis 17:1, Revelation 1:8
    This is in direct conflict with what you are saying in the very next paragraph that no verse in the Bible actually said that God changed his mind. Well, here are two verses you have quoted and neither of them actually says that God's plans can never be thwarted (which was the context of my saying that God was powerless to get the inhabitants of Jerusalem to come to him as their comforter.) Your reading of these passages is every bit as derived as you claim of me.


    Rather, I'm not so interested in telling you what "I" think it means but telling you that's what you think it could possibly mean. It is my way of throwing off speculations that are not implicit in the text.
    Again, if this is true then there should be no need to adduce other texts to clarify them. Let every passage speak for itself. Surely that is the safest way to read the Bible, is it not? Or is it that you are saying that I am simply not allowed to interpret the texts? And if I am not allowed then who is?

    "Yes" to the first half, a qualified "no" to the second. The reason we know the talking snake is Satan does not come from Genesis 3. So your second rule must accomodate this and it doesn't as it is currently worded.
    I see nothing in Rev 20:2 that states that the serpent of Genesis 3 is Satan. All it says is "that ancient serpent". So if this is the meaning, then it must be a derived meaning per your own definition and therefore would not take priority over Genesis 3.

    But even if its meaning does refer to Genesis 3, then it does not change what is in Genesis 3, which is already clear enough on its own. It just adds new meaning to our general understanding and hence is its own context.

    Which is what this debate is about. It would seem it is over at this point with you agreeing with me. Unless a passage makes the conflict clear, it remains unclear. I agree. You said "God changed His mind"previous.
    You are right here, disagreeing with your own previous exegesis.
    Of course I wouldn't disagree with my own previous exegesis. I feel you are putting words into my mouth here. I do not advocate using a passage which is outside the proper context of the subject passage, to clarify its meaning.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; March 28th, 2012 at 07:48 PM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  10. #10
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    Lon, I got the following from three different dictionaries:

    change (one's) mind To reverse a previously held opinion or an earlier decision.
    change
    1. To become different or undergo alteration

    (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)

    change
    1. to make or become different; alter
    change one's mind to alter one's decision or opinion

    (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged)

    change

    9. to become different
    37. change one's mind, to change one's opinions or intentions.


    (Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary)

    I would be grateful for your confirmation that when you use the terms 'change one's mind' and 'change' in respect of the relevant scriptures, that you mean as per the above, which is exactly how I mean these terms. I would hate to think that your vociferous and longstanding denials that God changes his mind are nothing more than a straw man. I hope and expect that is not the case but I would be grateful for your confirmation for the sake of good order so that I can deal with the various scriptures more efficiently.

    Do you believe that God does not change his mind (alter his intentions or opinions)?
    Do you believe that God can undergo a change of his personality (to become different or undergo alteration)?

    It seems to me that you have spent a lot of energy insisting that open theists are wrong to claim that God changes his mind, whereas I hardly think any open theist would suggest or teach that God can or would undergo a change of his personality.


    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  11. #11
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post

    Do you believe that God does not change his mind (alter his intentions or opinions)?
    God does not change His mind. He has exactly the same mind about sin He always has had.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Do you believe that God can undergo a change of his personality (to become different or undergo alteration)?
    No.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    It seems to me that you have spent a lot of energy insisting that open theists are wrong to claim that God changes his mind, whereas I hardly think any open theist would suggest or teach that God can or would undergo a change of his personality.
    My point, in fact, is that this idiom: "God changed His mind," is nowhere in scripture. You are trying to tell me that God changed his mind about Saul. My question: Why? Didn't God know Saul's heart and mind way way before this?

    We have significant differences between the way you read scripture and the way I read scripture (hermenuetics). This is the whole point of this thread. There is no scripture that says God changed His mind, none.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  12. #12
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    I would like to take the Samuel passages in one post as it is likely to be long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    God does not change His mind. He has exactly the same mind about sin He always has had.
    This does not answer the question. It answers a different, more specific question. I'd be grateful if you could answer the question as put. It is quite possible that a person has the same overall intention but is flexible as to how he carries out that intention. For example If I want to do a certain jigsaw puzzle. I know I want to complete the puzzle. I start by finding all the edge and corner pieces and it is my usual method to do that first. However, in this particular puzzle I happen to come across some very distinctive pieces that I know can be fitted together right away. So I do those instead of the edges. I have in effect changed my mind (change of plan or opinion) about the particular method to be adopted. I also quoted the passage from Jeremiah on the potter where God states that he will definitely change his plans if people change their attitudes. Please answer this question.

    No.
    So we agree at least that there is a level of the character or personality of God that is constant.

    My point, in fact, is that this idiom: "God changed His mind," is nowhere in scripture. You are trying to tell me that God changed his mind about Saul.
    The idiom 'God changed his mind' is an English idiom. This discussion is not about idioms but about meaning. The idiom 'change one's mind' does appear in the translation you have yourself cited in scripture no. 16 which I discuss below. It might be in the negative but the idiom exists. The phrase 'Jesus Christ' is also nowhere to be found in scripture.

    My question: Why? Didn't God know Saul's heart and mind way way before this?
    I don't need to answer this as it is a rhetorical question assuming the conclusion. Minds are not static things like a set of data on a computer drive. I deny your presupposition that it is possible to know a person so completely that you can predict everything they will ever do. The very fact that you have posed this as a rhetorical question demonstrates that you have brought this presupposition to the scripture. It is really the Platonic presupposition that the mind is something eternal and unchanging as against the natural intuition that life is dynamic and relational.


    We have significant differences between the way you read scripture and the way I read scripture (hermenuetics). This is the whole point of this thread. There is no scripture that says God changed His mind, none.
    I refer to the comment I made above.


    16)
    1Sa 15:35 And Samuel never again saw Saul until the day of his death, for Samuel mourned for Saul.
    And Jehovah repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.
    Interpretation: God changes His mind.
    1 Samuel 15:29 the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He
    should change His mind.”
    Normative Interpretation: "relent" here cannot mean changes His mind, because we are told just 7 verses earlier, God doesn't and nowhere do we find the words "God changed His mind."
    You've got a huge problem of inconsistency here. The fact is that in both these verses the same Hebrew word is used - nicham - which earlier you made a big point of in saying that it has a wide variety of meanings in Hebrew (and that therefore the idea of it meaning 'God changes his mind' is unsupported).

    It would surely be an example of special pleading of the first magnitude for you to argue that verse 35 cannot mean that God changes his mind because it states (as you suggest) only in verse 29 that God does not change his mind. If your argument were valid, then you would be arguing that nicham in verse 29 means to change one's mind and thus you are arguing against yourself.

    This is so significant that it conclusively disproves your interpretation. Whatever nicham means, it must mean the same thing in both verses. If you were to change your argument and backtrack to the position that nicham does not mean 'change one's mind' in these two verses then you no longer have an argument that verse 29 disproves the view that verse 35 implies that God changes his mind. Either way, your argument fails completely.

    And if you were to argue that nicham meant two completely different things in these verses, (special pleading) then the evidence is sorely against you. The septuagint translators translated this as metanoein in both cases, a word which you probably know has the root meaning of 'change one's mind'. The KJV translators used 'repent' in both cases, the NKJV uses relent in one case and regret in the other, which is more or less the same thing but more contextually nuanced.

    As to being contextually nuanced, this is just a question of the English language and I am quite happy that in terms of the original intentions of the passage, the same meaning applies to both uses.

    The conclusion of this part of the discussion is none other than that your own hermeneutic leads to a self contradiction in the Bible: You claim that these are 'pedantic' passages but by your method, there is nothing that can be brought to reconcile the apparent contradiction. You seem to imply that verse 29 (God does not 'nicham') takes precedence over verse 35 (God did 'nicham') but your only arguments rely on English translations, not on any consideration of the text itself, to establish this precedence. Your original rationale for saying that verse 29 has priority over verse 35 is that it is 'pedantic' i.e. "when God says something about Himself". However, in this case, it is Samuel saying something about God to Saul in a particular context (see below). Please explain to me why I would be unjustified in thinking that you are inventing your hermeneutic as you go along.

    On the other hand, my hermeneutic of local context only gives a ready and simple answer to this apparent contradiction. In fact, no contradiction would arise at all and the issue of contradiction is just an illusion created by your own false presuppositions and by taking the text out of its immediate context.

    The context makes clear that Samuel has already stated that Saul has been rejected as king and then Saul pleads for forgiveness (shallowly of course) and it is then that Samuel makes his statement that God will not change his mind.

    24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.” 26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”
    27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
    So having already been told once, Saul needs to be told again and then when Samuel leaves he still does not accept the judgement but tries a third time by pulling on Samuel's robe (he is portrayed as a pathetic creature) and it is on the third time of asking that Samuel makes his bold statement that God is not going to change his mind. Saul wanted the kingship, not the service of God. Had he accepted the ruling ('I am the Lord's servant; do with me whatever is pleasing to you') then perhaps God would have let him remain king.

    In the context Samuel's statement in verse 29 is addressed particularly to Saul, and its particular subject matter is the kingship; it is not a statement of general theological import.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; April 4th, 2012 at 04:30 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  13. #13
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    Normative interpretation means both how we'd see a 'normative' or regular pattern to the scriptures
    making themselves clear and the way most christians reading scripture would interpret the passage.

    I've looked for scriptures that I've seen often taken from both immediate context and biblical
    context that do not all reflect any one group. I have chosen a few that I hope DesertReign can
    relate to because our disagreement is specific and so necessarily oriented toward the Open View he espouses (which is how this debate started and also one similar with other TOL OVer's in the past).
    I am not picking on any particular, purposefully other than using genuine examples from my debates on this matter found at TOL.
    The first item then, is "Interpretation" because these are actuals given. The correction is given as "Normative." I expect a great amount of agreement on most.
    I disagree with your use of the word 'normative' because it assumes that your interpretation is the correct one. Normative means that it carries a prescription such as 'this should be done' and there is nothing prescriptive about an interpretation of the Bible. Your method of interpretation could be said to be prescriptive in that it dictates how the Bible should be interpreted, just as mine is, but the interpretations themselves are not.

    ************************************************** *******
    1)
    Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And
    Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God in the middle of the trees of the
    garden.
    Gen 3:9 And Jehovah God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?
    Interpretation: God had no idea where Adam was.
    Joh 21:17B And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things
    Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness does not hide from You; but the night shines as the day; as is the
    darkness, so is the light to You.
    Psa 139:7 Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
    Normative interpretation: God simply asked Adam to acknowledge where He was.
    I answered this one in an earlier post.


    2)
    Genesis 3:1
    Interpretation: The talking serpent was Satan
    John 8:44
    Revelation 12:9
    Normative interpretation: Tradition gives the serpent as Satan. Several passages tell us that
    Satan is also called the serpent but we are left with a process of tradition and deduction to a certain degree.
    As I previously stated, there is nothing in Genesis 3 which requires that the serpent be deemed to be Satan. The passage works as a whole, without ambiguity (at least as far as the snake goes) and therefore that is the meaning of that passage. There is of course an ancient tradition that the serpent was read as Satan, however all that says is that people happily read it as that. If the passages in Revelation/John refer to this (which is not certain anyway), then it is referring to the tradition of interpretation, not to the text itself. Let me put that another way in case I wasn't clear: the text itself, being allegory, is open to various interpretations. So long as those interpretations are consistent with one another, then they can be said to be valid. (Such as 'The Embodiment of Pure Deception' or 'Beelzebub'.) Many people in the tradition of interpretation interpreted the snake as Satan. That was a valid interpretation. There doesn't have to be one single correct interpretation of an allegory. It would even be a little pointless if the writer gave an explicit explanation in the text - a bit like when you explain the point of a joke to someone who is culturally deprived, the joke is no longer funny. The fact that a snake was chosen for the allegory is hardly an accident, given that snakes typically lie coolly in wait for their prey and then pounce suddenly.


    3)
    Gen 22:12 "Do not harm the boy!" the angel said. "Do not do anything to him, for now I know that
    you fear God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me."
    Interpretation: God hadn't a clue what was in Abraham's heart nor if he would carry out his intentions.

    Psa 139:1 O LORD, you examine me and know.
    Psa 139:3 You search my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Psa 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Jehovah, You know it altogether.
    Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot go up to it.
    Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts,
    Psa 139:24 and see if any wicked way is in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
    Psa 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I get up;
    even from far away you understand my motives.
    Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises,
    yet he was ready to offer up his only son.
    Heb 11:18 God had told him, "Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,"
    Heb 11:19 and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead
    Normative interpretation: "Lo, Yadda" "I know". Hebrews 11 makes it clear God knew Abraham's thoughts and intentions else it could not be written hundred of years later what Abraham was
    reasoning in his heart and mind. God already knew. Even if such isn't agreed upon, it must be acknowledged that the passage does not explicitly state God didn't know, even if someone is to assert that it is strongly implied to them.
    I'm not really sure where you get 'Lo yadda' from. The scripture is (reading left to right)

    'Ki atah yadati ki-ireh elohim atah...'

    But your answer lies in not reading the Hebrews passage correctly. You have ignored "when he was tested" ( πειραζομενος which is a present participle and could perhaps be rendered better with 'when he was being tested').

    There isn't some Platonic thing called 'Abraham' that God could pinpoint and say 'this is Abraham'. That is a presupposition. God knows Abraham - as we all know anyone at all - by experiencing him. There simply isn't any point in us existing if our existence is already encapsulated in some fixed ideal. We are not the outworking of an ideal, we are real people. We matter. The scripture doesn't imply that God didn't know what Abraham was before he tested him as if God was somehow lacking something. All that was happening was that God was experiencing Abraham as he was. And that was the point when God had experienced him sufficiently to declare that he was righteous. Your reading of Hebrews has obviously been contaminated by your Platonic presuppositions but I can pretty much assure you that the book of Genesis was not and any correct intrepretation of it should not be either.

    The other thing you are doing here is ignoring the genre of the passage. This is obviously written as a sermon to Jews with lots of references to the Old Testament scriptures. And like many sermons which comment on scripture, it is not intended to be the authoritative interpretation of that passage as if it were an extension of the Old Testament itself. The scripture was simply being used (in much the way that I guess Paul meant when he said all scripture was useful for teaching, etc.) And in the this sense, what the author of Hebrews is saying is something new, in its own right, not an authoritative interpretation of the original text. Your original hermeneutic stated that story/narrative was when something was assumed from a story (as contrasted with pedantic, meaning what God said about himself). However, it would perhaps be more basic to first insist that you read what is there in the story before worrying about making inferences from that story.

    I don't think I need comment in detail on Psalm 139. You haven't said anything about it that requires my particular response. What I will say though is that nothing in it says that God knows what the person is in his Platonic core. In fact the passage is replete with the writer asking God to search him, which would be quite unnecessary if God already knew him.

    4)
    Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become a waste, and
    the beast of the field multiply against you.
    Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased,
    and inherit the land.
    Exo 23:31 And I will stretch your bounds from the Red Sea even to the Sea of the Philistines, and
    from the desert to the river. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and
    you shall drive them out before you.
    Interpretation: God promised unconditionally to drive out the people of the lands.
    Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods.
    Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve
    their gods, it surely will be a snare to you
    Num 33:52 then you shall drive out all those who live in the land from before you, and destroy all
    their carved images, and destroy all their molded images and pluck down all their high places.
    Num 33:53 And you shall possess the land, and live in it. For I have given you the land to possess
    it.
    Num 33:55 But if you will not drive out the people of the land from before you, then it will be,
    those of them whom you let remain shall be goads in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they
    shall trouble you in the land in which you live.
    Num 33:56 And it shall be, as I thought to do to them, so I shall do to you.
    Jos 1:5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses,
    so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.
    Jos 1:6 Be strong and of good courage. For you shall divide for an inheritance to this people, the
    land which I swore to their fathers, to give it to them.
    Jos 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous so that you may be careful to do according to all the
    Law which My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that
    you may act wisely wherever you go.
    Heb 11:33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice,36 gained what was
    promised,37 shut the mouths of lions,
    Normative Interpretation: It is clearly given that this promise is conditional because Hebrews
    tells us pedantically (plainly) they gained what was promised.
    I agree with the idea that these promises are conditional. I do not agree that the reason for this is because Hebrews says so. The reason is because of the covenant context of the Israelites, the land and God, which is set out in no uncertain terms throughout the pentateuch.


    5)
    Isaiah 5:4 Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?
    Interpretation: God didn't know He was going to get bad grapes. It was totally unexpected

    John 21:17 1 John 3:20 God knows all things
    1 Kings 13:2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: "O altar, altar! This is what
    the LORD says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the
    priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.
    Normative Interpretation: "Expect" is in translation. The Hebrew word is simply "to gather"
    "...when I went to gather, the grapes were worthless..."
    This is Isaiah's song concerning God, to God and His people. It is poetic.
    God was not caught surprised. A farmer would certainly know at the time he went to gather,
    whether he would step outside the door or not. The grapes didn't change over night and the
    condition was hardly surprising to him. God knows our hearts. He knew what 300 years in advance
    of the name of a young king named Josiah and what he would do beforehand. He cannot be thought of
    as surprised by a single season's lousy grapes. It is figurative, Israel isn't even a bunch of
    grapes.
    I don't know if you are erecting a straw man here because I don't know who you think said that God was completely surprised to find bad grapes in his vineyard. What I would say though is that the following translation (NIV) looks ok to me:

    4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
    than I have done for it?
    When I looked for good grapes,
    why did it yield only bad?
    I would add that although the passage does not say that God expected to find good grapes, no one in his right mind would suggest that a farmer would plant a vineyard and do everything possible to produce a good harvest just for the exercise. God is asking a rhetorical question to the people of Jerusalem and Judah by way of an analogy. The point is "Does God have a right to be upset?" Septuagint has "emeina tou poiesai..." I waited for it to produce..." in verse 2. I don't see how anyone would quarrel with that.

    Time for bed.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; April 4th, 2012 at 04:36 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  14. #14
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 182 Times in 115 Posts

    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    451549
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    ************************************************** *******
    6)
    Jer 7:31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth in the Valley of Ben
    Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never
    commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing!
    Interpretation: God was found unaware of the depravity of man

    Hebrews 4:13 Nothing is hidden from God's sight
    Normative interpretation: must not show a lack in God's ability to know all that is knowable.
    Rather, this word means 'center of my being' thus 'mind' is a good translated idea unless one takes
    that to mean God was clueless. Nothing allows for this.
    Your Hebrew translation is a bit loose; it seems to add frills that are not in the original. The Septuagint is a lot closer to the Hebrew and I shall quote it in English for you:

    And they have built the altar of Tapheth which is in the valley of the sons of Ennom, to burn their sons and daughters with fire, which I did not command them, neither did I design it in my heart.
    You say 'this word means...' but you do not say which word you are talking about, leaving me to guess that it is the word 'al-levi', meaning 'in my heart'. I have never seen it translated 'center of my being'. However, I would agree that it does often mean mind.

    I do not see anything whatsoever that is ambiguous about this passage and Hebrews 4:13 adds nothing to it. I also have no idea why anyone would want to suggest that God 'was clueless' and I can only assume that you are raising a straw man or at least exaggerating where nothing of the sort existed before. The object of this discussion was for you to show passages where one passage shed light on another one and changed its meaning or gave it meaning where no meaning existed before or resolved an inherent ambiguity. And to show why one should take precedence over another when an apparent contradiction was at issue.

    7)
    What do all scripture directives amount to, what do they mean?
    Interpretation: any idea other than what is given clearly in scripture
    Mat 22:40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
    Normative interpretation: That which Jesus has pedantically given.
    This is too vague for me to give any informative answer. 'any idea other than what is given clearly in scripture' is obviously assuming the conclusion and you need to provide some concrete positive example. There is no point in me discussing the context of a hypothetical passage that has been misinterpreted.


    8)
    Deu 25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man's wife
    must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband's brother must go to her,
    marry her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law.
    Mat 22:28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had
    married her."
    Interpretation: We could come up with a lot of plausible ideas

    Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like
    angels in heaven.
    Normative interpretation: Marriage in heaven doesn't exist to worry about.
    The Sadducees' question was a new question and it shed zero light on the meaning of Deut 25:5, which has no bearing on the resurrection at all. You have not shown that Deut 25:5 needs Matt 22:30 in order for us to understand it properly. What you have shown - which was already patently obvious anyway - is that the Sadducees' question needs Matt 22:30 in order to properly answer it. In fact, Jesus' own answer also sheds no light whatsoever on Deut 25:5 but deftly side-steps the issue.

    9)
    Mat 22:23 The same day Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection...
    Interpretation: Many claim the Hebrews did not believe in a resurrection but that they went to the worms in the ground and thats the end.

    Mat 22:29 Jesus32 answered them, "You are deceived, because you don't know the scriptures or the power of God.
    Mat 22:32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living!"
    Normative interpretation: The Pharisees disagreed and argued with the sadducees.
    Act 23:6 I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead!"
    Act 23:7 When he said this, an argument began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the
    assembly was divided.
    Whoever says all of the Jews believed or believe in cessation based off of their O.T. study alone,
    are clearly incorrect.
    I agree with you, but your assertion and my agreement don't contribute anything to a discussion on hermeneutics because you are not offering any specific scripture to interpret in this regard: the reason they are incorrect is because they have not studied the Old Testament properly, not because the New Testament says something that contradicts them. Whatever statement they would make 'based off of their O.T. study alone' as you say, should be judged by their own words, not by the New Testament. You could make this argument about anything at all. You could say that anything that anybody says that contradicts the New Testament must be wrong. But that is no help to us.


    10)
    Psa 45:6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the staff of Your kingdom is a staff of righteousness.
    Psa 45:7 You love righteousness, and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
    with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.
    Interpretation: "Elohim can" mean Lord or King.

    Hebrews 1:5,8,9
    Normative: Hebrews leaves no doubt it means deity.
    Hebrews is only quoting from the OT, not commenting on it or adding to it or clarifying it. Your claim that Hebrews leaves no doubt (as if somehow Psalm 45 left some doubt) is therefore quite misapplied. If you think Hebrews is insisting that 'ho theos' means 'God' then it is really Psalm 45 itself that is doing that. The text Hebrews quotes from is almost word for word the text of the Septuagint and is clearly intended to be a quotation. So your hermeneutic is backfiring on you because your idea that Hebrews takes precedence is identical with the idea that Psalm 45 itself takes precedence.

    But it is backfiring on you in a more significant way because Jesus himself says that 'god' does not always mean 'God'. And you are surely not going to argue that Hebrews trumps what Jesus says. I don't see how you are going to escape from this if your aim is to protect Jesus' divinity from the Arians (which I guess is at the back of your mind here). The only way you are going to do it consistently is to adopt my hermeneutic - an open hermeneutic - by taking Psalm 45 in its proper context, Hebrews in its proper context and Jesus' statement that some uses of 'god' do not mean 'God' in its proper context. Your idea that one of them somehow trumps the other is simply bound to produce nasties.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

  15. #15
    TOL Subscriber Lon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    1,690
    Thanked 3,355 Times in 2,019 Posts

    Mentioned
    73 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Rep Power
    1670926
    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I would like to take the Samuel passages in one post as it is likely to be long.

    This does not answer the question. It answers a different, more specific question. I'd be grateful if you could answer the question as put. It is quite possible that a person has the same overall intention but is flexible as to how he carries out that intention. For example If I want to do a certain jigsaw puzzle. I know I want to complete the puzzle. I start by finding all the edge and corner pieces and it is my usual method to do that first. However, in this particular puzzle I happen to come across some very distinctive pieces that I know can be fitted together right away. So I do those instead of the edges. I have in effect changed my mind (change of plan or opinion) about the particular method to be adopted. I also quoted the passage from Jeremiah on the potter where God states that he will definitely change his plans if people change their attitudes. Please answer this question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon
    Hello DR,
    I am going to do a small bit of consolidating of this with the 1 Samuel 15 passage. I am longwinded here but will not do so in any ensuing posts.

    Bear with me? Here we go:
    I answered in clarity? The answer was "No." God does not change His mind and "No" it is not found anywhere in the Bible.
    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Do you believe that God does not change his mind (alter his intentions or opinions)?
    Do you believe that God can undergo a change of his personality (to become different or undergo alteration)?
    I'm having a hard time thinking you actually do not know or haven't understood my answer.
    ...Well, where did we go South?
    ... Why don't you think I answered clearly?

    I'm going to try and pick up the pieces...

    God has absolutely no reason whatsoever to ever need to change. He never need change. He's perfect.

    Let me start there.

    When working with beings that have imperfections, like sinful man, God (the perfect one) can mete out what is needed depending on what they do. God (being perfect), has absolutely no needs whatsover. Those imperfect creations, need Him.

    Example:
    Spoiler

    Example: 1) I tell my kids I'm going to spank them for fighting. 2) They stop. 3) I don't spank them.
    -observations:
    1. Good, bad, indifferent, doesn't matter.
    2. It is frankly stupid and insulting, after painstakingly laying out a program that I feel effective, to suggest that I've 'changed my mind." Why? Because I know exactly what I'm going to do no matter what.
    3. The only person that would say "I changed my mind" is somebody who has absolutely no clue whatsoever, how proficient I was.
    In fact, that's why they are being stupid and insulting.
    They are crackpots totally guessing at something they can only guess at.
    4. No change in me. Kids do one thing, I correct. They do the other? I support. end of story, I changed nothing. The way I was to respond was laid out before they did either.
    Spoiler

    God = no needs, none.
    We (in sin by our own foolishness)= HUGE needs.
    In otherwords, God doesn't need us, we need God and it is precisely because of our need for Him that necessitates our change and that He remain constant and consistent.


    God changing His mind 1) isn't in the Bible, 2) because He is perfect, and man isn't,3) because man has to change or he will never get to see his Creator. and finally 4) because in the text, we know that God has anticipated the possible and plausible outcome.
    1Sa 8:9,18 etc.
    That's the problem with trying to understand from the story that God has some changing to do.
    It was written to tell you that man in a sin dilemma is in great need and thus in great need of significant change. I read each and every story as another exclamation that man is desperately in need of a perfect, unfallible Savior. Story underscores that point: God is perfect, righteous and holy whereas man is in very great need of a Savior and significant change.

    What is the difference?
    Our "Hermenuetic." The very thing this thread is about. I approach scripture, way before you do, thinking "Saul, a man in desperate need of having his mind changed. A man of sin. A man who needs a Savior trying to lead a sinful people in desperate need of a Savior." After that I'm already seeing Saul's pride, stupidity, and poor attention to God and not seeing 'Oh this is going to turn out bad" as a big surprise for me, let alone God. In fact I see God already ready for this before chapter 15 comes.

    I don't read "God changed His mind" or has to change His mind. In fact, way before chapter 15, I read 1 Samuel 8 "Stop moping, Samuel! They haven't rejected you, they rejected Me! These people need nothing less than a perfect Savior!" They don't need a strong earthly king, they are in desperate need of having their souls redeemed!"

    The very last being who needs a 'mind-change' here would be God. Israel needs a change of mind about who would actually be a good king choice : God, who they already had and are rejecting. This exact point isn painstakingly given in this very story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    So we agree at least that there is a level of the character or personality of God that is constant.
    I don't know. I believe that but I'm not sure how you can. Your God seems in process of becoming something, changing His mind, not really sure of Himself, to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    The idiom 'God changed his mind' is an English idiom. This discussion is not about idioms but about meaning. The idiom 'change one's mind' does appear in the translation you have yourself cited in scripture no. 16 which I discuss below. It might be in the negative but the idiom exists. The phrase 'Jesus Christ' is also nowhere to be found in scripture.
    I'm not sure what to do now. You just agreed with me God doesn't change His mind. btw, the above is a name, not phrase? Matthew 1:1?
    Ἰησοῦς Χριστός ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I don't need to answer this as it is a rhetorical question assuming the conclusion. Minds are not static things like a set of data on a computer drive. I deny your presupposition that it is possible to know a person so completely that you can predict everything they will ever do.
    Psalm 139. Or that God knew of Josiah 300 years before He was born?that he'd be a good king? That He'd tear down altars to gods not even known to them? Maybe that was just Josiah? Peter, before the rooster crows? How about what an elder would do in a future that hasn't happened yet in Revelation? The jury is out whether all information is held in the brain but I kind of think that's where God puts it for a time. Regardless, if there is a pattern to us, that is, if we are design, then what is designed is knowable. Luke 12:7

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    The very fact that you have posed this as a rhetorical question demonstrates that you have brought this presupposition to the scripture. It is really the Platonic presupposition that the mind is something eternal and unchanging as against the natural intuition that life is dynamic and relational.
    Absolutely. This is a debate afterall. There should be absolutely no question whatsoever what the drastic difference is between our views. I'm telling you my view is the overall intelligent and cohesive plan to save all of mankind and that every narrative screams man's ineptitude where man must be saved and is completely incapable of saving himself. The very book of 1 Samuel, imho, illustrates this very point.


    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I refer to the comment I made above.

    You've got a huge problem of inconsistency here. The fact is that in both these verses the same Hebrew word is used - nicham - which earlier you made a big point of in saying that it has a wide variety of meanings in Hebrew (and that therefore the idea of it meaning 'God changes his mind' is unsupported).

    It would surely be an example of special pleading of the first magnitude for you to argue that verse 35 cannot mean that God changes his mind because it states (as you suggest) only in verse 29 that God does not change his mind. If your argument were valid, then you would be arguing that nicham in verse 29 means to change one's mind and thus you are arguing against yourself.

    Er, no. I said it means to sigh and that the second use also means the same thing. However, it is what those convey that is important. In fact, even in Greek, if you looked at the compound word in the LXX, it means the same thing. Regardless of what you think however, I've simply said that you can't force it to fit an 'idea' in your head that 'repent' means "Changed His mind."

    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    This is so significant that it conclusively disproves your interpretation. Whatever nicham means, it must mean the same thing in both verses. If you were to change your argument and backtrack to the position that nicham does not mean 'change one's mind' in these two verses then you no longer have an argument that verse 29 disproves the view that verse 35 implies that God changes his mind. Either way, your argument fails completely.

    And if you were to argue that nicham meant two completely different things in these verses, (special pleading) then the evidence is sorely against you. The septuagint translators translated this as metanoein in both cases, a word which you probably know has the root meaning of 'change one's mind'. The KJV translators used 'repent' in both cases, the NKJV uses relent in one case and regret in the other, which is more or less the same thing but more contextually nuanced.

    As to being contextually nuanced, this is just a question of the English language and I am quite happy that in terms of the original intentions of the passage, the same meaning applies to both uses.

    The conclusion of this part of the discussion is none other than that your own hermeneutic leads to a self contradiction in the Bible: You claim that these are 'pedantic' passages but by your method, there is nothing that can be brought to reconcile the apparent contradiction. You seem to imply that verse 29 (God does not 'nicham') takes precedence over verse 35 (God did 'nicham') but your only arguments rely on English translations, not on any consideration of the text itself, to establish this precedence. Your original rationale for saying that verse 29 has priority over verse 35 is that it is 'pedantic' i.e. "when God says something about Himself". However, in this case, it is Samuel saying something about God to Saul in a particular context (see below). Please explain to me why I would be unjustified in thinking that you are inventing your hermeneutic as you go along.

    No actually, let's stop. We don't need all this verbage. You said it right, we go with consistency (Even in the LXX). I'm good with that. That is again, the whole point. It is very simple: This is a story, therefore, if it is vague, the OV hermenuetic doesn't work. Why is that significant? Because it simply proves my whole point: We base good theology off of what we find that is sound (not what isn't). If the bible 'doesn't make it clear' we either take a careful 'unclear' stance (like "God relented") or we find a passage where such an idea is stated without the ambiguity. You certainly don't assert God changed His mind. That's an idea taken from a presumption. In otherwords, the only way to get "God changed His mind" is through you. It requires an Open View interpreter. Talk about your special pleading. I didn't, but you missed the whole point on this goose chase. My, my, no wonder your we are in this debate together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    On the other hand, my hermeneutic of local context only gives a ready and simple answer to this apparent contradiction. In fact, no contradiction would arise at all and the issue of contradiction is just an illusion created by your own false presuppositions and by taking the text out of its immediate context.
    Er...you just said it would remain consistent. Which is it? God relents? God doesn't relent? Nevermind. That doesn't matter. What matters is that it absolutely does not say "God changed His mind." We agreed, yes?
    Nothing else matters about this particular passage.

    /debate?

    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    The context makes clear that Samuel has already stated that Saul has been rejected as king and then Saul pleads for forgiveness (shallowly of course) and it is then that Samuel makes his statement that God will not change his mind.

    So having already been told once, Saul needs to be told again and then when Samuel leaves he still does not accept the judgement but tries a third time by pulling on Samuel's robe (he is portrayed as a pathetic creature) and it is on the third time of asking that Samuel makes his bold statement that God is not going to change his mind. Saul wanted the kingship, not the service of God. Had he accepted the ruling ('I am the Lord's servant; do with me whatever is pleasing to you') then perhaps God would have let him remain king.

    In the context Samuel's statement in verse 29 is addressed particularly to Saul, and its particular subject matter is the kingship; it is not a statement of general theological import.

    Why did you randomly pick the one you wanted to 'not be important?'

    Spoiler
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I disagree with your use of the word 'normative' because it assumes that your interpretation is the correct one. Normative means that it carries a prescription such as 'this should be done' and there is nothing prescriptive about an interpretation of the Bible. Your method of interpretation could be said to be prescriptive in that it dictates how the Bible should be interpreted, just as mine is, but the interpretations themselves are not.

    Of course you disagree. Again, this is what this debate is about. You are 'wrong' but simply asserting isn't doing anything. In fact I'll go a step further, unless you prove your own hermenuetic (and I'd sure like to see that hermenuetic) then the best you can do in this debate is simply say "your's is wrong." Mine isn't wrong, but I'm proving that at least what I think is your hermenuetic leaves a lot to be desired. It is inconsistent 1)with the main of christianity, 2) with scripture, and 3) even inconsistent with your own rules you are agreeing with and disagreeing with in this and other threads. Your bible-study is inconsistent.
    How can you agree in one-breath (nacham) that God changing His mind is an idiom not found in the bible, then try to say God did so when 1Samuel 15:29 says He does not?
    Such is the problem with trying to assert something from a story where other passages make these things clear. However, it is also my belief that the story itself cannot be rendered the way you are doing so. I read the story message as pointing against your assertion as well.
    1Sa 8:7 The LORD said to Samuel, "Do everything the people request of you. For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king.
    They weren't supposed to have a man for a king.
    1Sa 8:18 In that day you will cry out because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD won't answer you in that day."
    They were going to be stuck, yet because they were stubborn, God told them they were not going to get rid of a human king. BUT God already didn't want a human king. How could He possibly regret doing something 1) He already knew the outcome of and 2) He didn't want to give them in the first place?
    1Sa 15:35 Until the day he died Samuel did not see Saul again. Samuel did, however, mourn for Saul, but the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
    Even if you could somehow make this something to do with God "Changing His mind," as legitimate translation, the whole story is against that assertion from my hermenuetical perspective. In point of fact, we have a ton of scriptures that tell us God is consistent and competent (perfect).
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About us
Since 1997 TheologyOnline (TOL) has been one of the most popular theology forums on the internet. On TOL we encourage spirited conversation about religion, politics, and just about everything else.

follow us