Here’s a short video to follow up on my post about Michael Tellinger’s desire to be the next Sitchin. Not exciting – just searching in the Bible with my software to see if his claims have merit. You can download the video here (just over 16 minutes; 22 MB; have your speakers turned up).
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A premise that needs to be made manifest is that God didn’t write the Hebrew BIble — perhaps Moses created the Pentateuch, but even that’s iffy.
Some scribes but the thing together.
So the idea that God coveted gold merely means that God’s writers were obsessed with gold (or not).
About 30 years ago, we published a pamphlet, The Biblical Paradigm for Homosexuality.
In it we didn’t declare that God was gay — but, rather, that His writers were sexists.
You can find the pamphlet online (in its original format) at http://wildesociety.homestead.com
The point — my point — is that God’s dicta and preferences have to be interpreted as the dicta and preferences of those who professed to write on His behalf.
(Why God needed humans to write for him is another question altogether.)
So, the gold that Tellinger thinks God is obsessed with is gold that His writers were obsessed with, and that human obsession is rather limited, as you show in your video.
@rrrgroup: You might find the current discussion over on my Naked Bible blog of interest. It’s on inspiration of the Bible. I take a different view than is traditional. My view is that the human writers were the immediate source of the Bible (people wrote it) and God is the ultimate source (he was providentially in the process). This extends from some very simple (and philosophically unrefutable) premises:
1. Atheist materialism is less philosophically coherent than theism.
2. Theism contains the idea that God can interact with his creatures (this does not rule out evolution, as the intelligent design crowd has shown – they only object to purposelessness in evolution and total materialism as being the explanation of life’s complexity).
3. If God can create (by whatever means, including evolution) and can interact with his creatures (including humans) he is quite capable of influencing people to write something.
4. God’s influence can be by direct encounter (which is rare) or through providence in a person’s life, from cradle to the grave, so to speak.
Therefore, it takes little imagination and faith to believe that God was the ultimate source (but not the immediate) of this thing we call the Bible. It was light work for him.
I say all that so that you know I agree in principle with you about biblical authorship, but not in the details or (perhaps) the parsing of the details. I also don’t really care about Mosaic authorship, since the whole process of inspiration includes editing. It’s the way books were made (see my other blog and the post “I Don’t Believe in the Holy Stapler”).
Now here’s an abbreviated take on the other issue you noted. If we say humans were the authors of the Bible TOTALLY or in the way I described, then God CANNOT be sexist. The writers might be accused of that (as you point out) but they were people. Now, one could say, “Well, God approved of what was in there.” I’d agree, again in principle, but that doesn’t mean he endorsed or even cared about everything that was in there. God let writers write out of their own experience and culture, with all its scientific limitation and cultural baggage. He didn’t create patriarchalism; the people he influenced to write came from that environment, though, and God didn’t bother to change who they were. Who they were was sufficient to the task and their culture was incidental to the larger purpose of giving information about Himself – Who he was, what he did, salvation, etc. God used their culture in that their descriptions about him and his will derive from that culture – because that’s who they were. Put another way, if God decides to use people, that’s what he’s got to work with, and if he decides to take them as they are, ditto.
Now, I am not saying God has no morality or that he disagreed with the sexual morality of his writers (morality is one issue; punishment for violation is another – the latter arose out of patriarchalism; the former is based on creation order). When I say “creation order” I mean that homosexuality is aberrant with respect to the purpose of sex, which is reproduction. Just do the math; heterosexuality is overwhelmingly the norm among biological creatures. This is not to say that sex is ONLY for the purpose of reproduction, but that is its primary purpose in the order of creation. The Bible is pretty clear that sex is also for pleasure (Song of Solomon, 1 Cor 7) within the context of marriage. The larger point is that it is a misunderstanding and distortion of sex to exclude EITHER reproduction and pleasure. Only in heterosexuality are BOTH maintained, and that is the creation order. Any attempt to alter the creation order or circumvent either of its purposes apart from nature is immoral, since we ought to defer to the creation norm established by God. We may not like it, but that’s rebellion. If you believe in God, you have no right to rebel, though of course you can.
I didn’t mean to get into the morality of the Biblical stance about sexuality — since the natural law tells us that coitus is between a man and a woman and anything ouside that is a perversion as Aquinas elaborated upon and Freud agreed with also.
The law of God makes sense in the natural order of life among Earth’s creatures.
The thing that rankles me is why God needs to have men (or women) put down His laws for him, by writing them.
What’s interesting, to me, is that Joseph Smith had the good sense to have his Mormon God provide the Holy Writ already in situ — and transported by His angel, Moroni, to Smith.
Whether Smith was a contactee by God (or Moroni) or just a fraud is beside the point; Smith had the temerity to say that The Book of Mormon was a thing crerated by God, Himself.
That has a logic to it that intrigues.
Sure, God can work through man, but it’s a roundabout way of doing things, which goes to the heart of the Gnostic idea that the Godhead (demiurgos) was quite mad — insane, not angry, but anger was a trademark of God also….the God beneath God, as you know.
RRR: This is a fun post. I love the comments about Smith having the “good sense” to say God dictated everything through an angel. Over on my other blog (Naked Bible) I’ve been discussing inspiration for a few weeks, really trying to get people to see that the traditional articulation of inspiration is hard to distinguish from dictation (or automatic writing), which they want to reject – but the simultaneously don’t want to affirm that the words originated with humans in an immediate sense. Your comment would certainly draw ire! I have wanted to say the same thing, but use the Quran as an example – that would be even worse!
You say that Smith had the temerity to say the book of Mormon was from God. I’m more cynical here. I think he just wanted to sway weak minds, and was either being clever or manipulative. I don’t think the motivation was piety. It wasn’t about logic but about marketing his book.
The biblical pattern is to use people, and that extends from Gen 1:26, the democratization of the image of God, which isn’t a set of attributes given to humans, but rather a status (I base that on a point of Hebrew syntax I won’t bore readers with). In biblical theology, humans were created to act as God’s proxy on earth. Yes, God could have written out everything or dictated everything in some embodied encounter, but I actually think that would have led to bibliolatry (even the Bible we have gets put in that position by some). It was not meant to be the object of worship; the deity was. I also think that a more providential view does NOT result in a “deistic feel” to the Bible, but actually assumes more immanence.
On the angry God of the OT. Yes, he is angry in many passages. But he is also quite gracious in just as many, probably more. Don’t forget, too that the NT takes the divine warrior imagery of the OT God and applies it to Jesus. He isn’t coming back blowing kisses! There’s a good survey of the textual evidence for that issue on the web if you are interested. It’s by an OT prof named Tremper Longman:
Thanks for the Longman link — which I’ll peruse shortly.
I’m wondering if I need to dichotomize, further, my Gods (for discussions here).
The OT God, Yahweh — one of many tribal Gods, as you know — was troubled and troubling.
The ineffable God — God above god (Yahweh) — just is, and we humans have no way (as yet) to make contact with The God — until we die perhaps.
Teilhard deals with this, as do others, like Kung…but they use an intermediary, Jesus, to get to the ineffable Being.
There was a book, which I can’t fully recall or locate, by a Professor Butterfield or something like that, wherein the History of the Jews is intertwined with their God (Yahweh) which is a unique situation in all of religious history (or so the professor said — and he made an eloquent case).
Can that relationship, between Yahweh and the early Hebrews, be extrapolated for use for all mankind?
I’m thinking not.
The transcendent God is archetypally obscure. Yahweh was approachable, seen and heard by the Patriarchs and prophets of Judaism.
How does either relate to us?
Am I being existentially nihilistic, as you infer? Probably. But I don’t see how the intrusions by God (or gods — even Joseph Smith’s) — have been helpful, again, in practical terms.
I think something happened with Jesus, but He hasn’t returned as promised, and pleas to Him go unanswered — as noted (by some) in your UFO Religions blog.
God is dead — metaphorically or actually, and Jesus too, as I keep iterating at the rrrgroup blog.
Now the God above god, that’s a whole other matter, but we have no Bible from that God, so we are in the dark, as Richard Eliott Friedman tells us (The Hidden Face of God).
rrr: Your dichotomy fails to show how Yahweh can not be the ineffable God. In fact your definition of the ineffable God as the God that “just is” is the very definition of Yahweh! Therefore A=B.
As for Yahweh being seen and heard you seem to be unaware of Michael’s own work on the visible and invisible Yahweh in the OT.
Perhaps you should check out his Two Powers in Heaven blog before he takes it down. Although I wish he wouldn’t for this very reason.
@sid: boy, forgot all about the 2 Powers blog. I’m just too busy.
Thanks Sid (and Michael)…
I’ve captured the extant text at the 2 Powers Blog, and will give it an exegesis. (I kid).
Michael always provides enlightening and edifying blog material.
You seem to confuse a Universal Spiritual Consciousness with an extraterrestrial sentient species who were technologically advanced far beyond our current state. The fact appears, our Homo erector ancestors were artificially accelerated, in their biological evolution, through genetically engineering, by those “Anunnaki” (Those Who From Heaven To Earth Came”. In Hebrew, “Elohim” (also a plural noun), means The Lofty Ones. Flight was presumed to be a divine prerogative by pre-technical humans, who recorded the explanations and accounts of our “creators”, as they schooled us in the arts of civilization. If this sounds fantastic, those of you who possess a decent scientific education should study Genesis Reconsidred. Keep in mind, Sitchin is not a scientist, but the son of a rabbi, and he challenged the “holy writ” when, as a child in schul, he stated: Nefilim does not mean “giants”, it means “those who descended”, from the root word “nepha”, meaning to descend. Rabbi scolded: shut up and sit down, Sitchin! Never question Torah. Sitchin spent the rest of his days questioning scholarly interpretations of ancient scriptures, which he translated most proficiently.
I once asked a Russian scientist, who seemed to understand this material, why men believe blatant lies so readily. He responded: Don’t you know, we were created as a race of slaves? Thus, the appropriate title of Tellinger’s book.
Only the first sentence of this is worth consideration, as the rest of it is cluttered with academic twaddle (such as the “word and root meanings” offered). So, on the first sentence, had you read much of my UFO Religions blog you’d know I understand this distinction.