Friday, August 30, 2019

Short Note on the Contingent Universe

I believe that the universe is contingent. One thing you need to ask yourself is whether the universe necessarily exists. Is its non-existence a logical possibility? Is it possible that the cosmos did not exist at one time? If the answer is "yes" then the universe is not metaphysically necessary, but it is contingent. So then, one could reason:

1) If it is possible that the universe did not exist at one time, then the universe is contingent. (If p, then q)
2) It is possible that the universe did not exist at one time. (p)
3) Therefore, the universe is contingent. (therefore, q)

This argument is logically valid.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Paul Ellingworth's Commentary Regarding Hebrews 1:5

I apologize that some of the characters became unintelligible because this file is an epub format:

On (b), angels are called sons of God collectively, not only in the MT (Jb. 2:1; 38:7) but even in the LXX (Gn. 6:2, 4; Dt. 32:43; Pss. 29[LXX 28]:1; 89[LXX 88]:7). The tendency to translate "sons" as "angels" is found both in the LXX (see especially the addition to Dt. 32:43; - Heb. 1:6) and in Philo (Gig. 6f.; Deus Imm. 1.2.3; Quaest. in Gn. 1.92; cf. Jos. Ant. 1.73). In such contexts, "angels" reflects the interpretation of "sons" in hellenistic settings in which Jewish monotheism needed to be protected. At an earlier stage in the Hebrew tradition, the concept of an assembly of divine beings, subordinate to Yahweh, may have been influential (Cooke 1964). In Dn. 3:92 MT 3:25), where the LXX has oµoutu. ayye)ov 9eov, Theodotion reproduces the MT more closely with oµoia vt4 eEov. Even if the writer of Hebrews was using a Theodotionic Vorlage, his argument would not be ruined by this text, since it is a simile and not a divine declaration. More difficult is Ps. 82(LXX 81):6, where the existence of pagan gods is assumed (cf. v. 1), and an unidentified speaker declares, in language similar to that of Ps. 2:7:

ἐγὼ εἶπα· θεοί ἐστε καὶ υἱοὶ ῾Υψίστου πάντες

Since the first line is quoted in Jn. 10:34, it is possible that the writer of Hebrews would have considered it. If so, he probably understood it ironically, as the context suggests. His argument may thus be considered valid within its own terms of reference: the OT contains no statement about any individual (τίνι) angel in which God on any occasion (ποτε) declared him to be his Son.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Violence in the Bible?

I've been reading plenty of resources about biblical violence here lately, and my desire is to post some works that deal with the issue. At the outset, I would like to point out that just because Scripture describes violent acts, that doesn't mean violent acts are prescribed or approved by God. Nevertheless, we have to deal with instances where YHWH commands Israel to annihilate the Amalekites. Furthermore, lots of blood is spilled by the heavenly armies in Revelation and people become bird food. Yet the psalmist writes that Jehovah's soul hates the one who loves violence. More to come.


The Deictic/Anaphoric Use of Greek Articles

Greek articles can be used deictically or anaphorically, but NT Greek tends to use demonstratives to signify "this" and "that" as we find with Acts 2:32-36. Additionally, it seems that the articles in Jn. 20:29-30 are not anaphoric.

The target audience most certainly affects the writing of texts, just like it does with our multiple genres and media sources today. But we must have some precedents on which to base our judgments: we need examples of some kind to justify our grammatical claims. Furthermore, I would question what basis we have for thinking that one of the NT writers used the article demonstratively/anaphorically to communicate unique ideas with the recipients of his letter.

I emphasize that the article can be used demonstratively/anaphorically; however, we normally have good reason for thinking that a certain use of the article is anaphoric or not.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Logic Websites (Intro Concepts)

The last time I checked, all of these links worked. I hope they assist those interested in the rudiments of formal logic.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Richard Longenecker and Romans 12:2--"But be transformed"

Yet even more important than this negative injunction for believers in Jesus not to live their lives according to the ways of thinking and the practices of the people of “this present age,” Paul exhorts all his hearers and readers of that day — as well as all of us today who profess to be Christians — as follows: “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε [the form of the verb here being passive] τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοός). This remarkable “metamorphosis” that Paul speaks of here is not some pattern of external decorum or form of outward expression that believers in Jesus are to accept by way of a makeover of their lives and practices. Rather, it is a complete inner change of thought, will, and desires that Christians are to allow God by means of the ministry of his Holy Spirit to bring about in their lives, resulting in a recognizable external change of actions and conduct. It is a metamorphosis of a person’s inner being such as Paul evidently had in mind earlier in 8:12-13 when he wrote: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” It is, in fact, the renewal of a believer’s mind that is brought about by God’s Spirit, as also expressed in such later Pauline passages as Eph 4:23 (Christians are “to be made new” in their thoughts and attitudes); Col 3:10 (the believer’s “new self” is “being renewed [by God’s Holy Spirit] in knowledge in the image of its Creator”); and Titus 3:5 (God has “saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”). The result of this inner renewal of the believer’s mind, which is brought about by the work of God’s Spirit, is this: “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” This statement of result is grammatically introduced by Paul’s use of the preposition εἰς (“into,” “unto”) with the articular infinitive τὸ δοκιμάζειν (“to prove by testing” or “approve”) — with such a use of εἰς with an articular infinitive signaling the idea of purpose or result (literally translated “in order to”).

Quoted From: The Epistle to the Romans: A Commentary on the Greek Text, Richard N. Longenecker, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, GRAND RAPIDS, MI.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Scriptures About Christians Ruling as Kings-Priests/Judges (GNT)

Revelation 1:5; 5:9-10; 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 4:8-10; 6:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:10-12; Romans 8:14-17

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Contra Irenaeum--Part II (The Antichrist)

During the second and third century, there was a "continuing preoccupation with the figure of the Antichrist" (Pelikan 1:127 [1971]). Apocalyptic themes were rife among both the polemicists and apologists of the ancient ecclesia. Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Irenaeus all wrote about the Antichrist and applied the Biblical description of the Antichrist and other eschatological passages to their time:

"Irenaeus saw in Antichrist the recapitulation of every error and idolatry since the deluge; and, in accordance with the prophecies of both the Old and New Testament, as interpreted by the apostolic tradition of 'men who saw John face to face,' he believed that Antichrist would be a member of the tribe of Dan" (Pelikan 1:128 [1971] Cf. Also Haer. 5.30.1-2.

Was Irenaeus correct in his assessment of the Biblical Antichrist? I now ask you what exactly was his Biblical proof for such an assertion?

What about his view of apostolic succession? Irenaeus has been quoted as saying that "obedience is due to those presbyters who, as we have shown, are in the succession after the Apostles, having received, according to the will of the Father, certain charisma of truth" (Haer. 4.26.2).

W.H.C. Frend relates: "Irenaeus based this [apostolic succession] less on mechanical succession than on the fact that the Spirit had been present in the apostles and continued in these elders" (Frend 249-250 [1984]). Irenaeus further reports that the Church in Rome was especially prestigious, for Paul and Peter had preached there and the later elders of Rome were alleged successors of these preeminent apostles:

"Chief among these [elders who were apostolic successors] in authority and prestige was the church at Rome, in which the apostolic tradition shared by all the churches everywhere had been preserved," (Haer. 5.20.1).

Was Irenaeus adhering to the ipsissima verba of the Bible when he taught the validity of apostolic succession? Nowhere does the Bible say that Rome was/is the most prestigious Christian congregation; nor does the Bible support apostolic succession. We may also point out that Irenaeus is not on Scriptural ground when he contends that Peter went to Rome in order to preach; again, this statement cannot be proved from the Scriptures. The Bible simply reports that Peter preached in Babylon (1 Peter 5:13). N.B.: This is not a symbolic allusion to Rome. Even a cursory examination of how the word "Babylon" is used in Scripture will put this erroneous notion to rest. It is therefore apparent that Irenaeus is shown to be mistaken in at least some of his teachings. For more details on this subject, and the church politics that Irenaeus was involved in, see Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels. She provides evidence that the monarchical model espoused by both Ignatius and Irenaeus possibly was influenced more by politics than the Bible.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Revelation 2:20 Variants

Greek: ἀλλὰ ἔχω κατὰ σοῦ ὅτι ἀφεῖς τὴν [a]γυναῖκα Ἰεζάβελ, ἡ [b]λέγουσα ἑαυτὴν προφῆτιν, καὶ διδάσκει καὶ πλανᾷ τοὺς ἐμοὺς δούλους πορνεῦσαι καὶ φαγεῖν εἰδωλόθυτα. (SBLGNT)

[a] ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ 2:20 γυναῖκα WH Treg NIV ] + σοῦ RP
[b] ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ 2:20 λέγουσα WH Treg NIV ] λέγει RP

“The textual question may be summarily treated. Two uncial manuscripts (A and 046 == Q, of the 10th century) and many cursives and versions insert σοῦ [sou] [your] after τὴν γυναῖκα [tēn gynaika] [the woman/wife]. The decisive weight of textual authority however appears against this (א, C, etc.), and the addition is readily explained by dittography.”—Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 117.

NET Bible: tc The ms evidence for γυναῖκα (gunaika, “woman”) alone includes {א C P 1611 2053 pc lat}. The ms evidence for the addition of “your” (σου, sou) includes A 1006 2351 M pc sy. With the pronoun, the text reads “your wife, Jezebel” instead of “that woman, Jezebel.” In Revelation, A C are the most important mss, along with א P (which only reads in portions of chapters 9-17) 1006 1611 2053; in this instance, the external evidence slightly favors the shorter reading. But internally, it gains strength. The longer reading implies the idea that the angel in 2:18 is the bishop or leader of the church in Thyatira. The pronoun “your” (σου) is used four times in vv. 19-20 and may have been the cause for the scribe copying it again. Further, once the monarchical episcopate was in vogue (beginning in the 2nd century) scribes might have been prone to add “your” here.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pronouncing Pneuma

I would not say that it's wrong to pronounce πνεῦμα without the 'p,' (i.e., "neuma"); it's more a matter of linguistic convention and illustrates how phonemes come to be pronounced in another language. A variety of English dictionaries include pneuma--you can see their pronunciation schemes here:

For example, Merriam-Webster has ˈnü-mə for pneuma. Other works give comparable ways of pronouncing the word.

However, when it comes to the Greek, William Mounce writes:

Remember, in Greek there are no silent consonants, so the pi is pronounced; unlike in English where, for example, the "p" is not pronounced in the word, "pneumatic."


Either way, I'm not going to castigate or flog anyone who pronounces pneuma without the labial voiceless plosive.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Contra Irenaeum: Christological Recapitulation and Other Doctrines--Part I

While I do not condemn Irenaeus of Lyons ex toto, it is my impression that his teachings are skewed to some extent by the subtle philosophical inclinations that one encounters within his unique brand of "Christian" didache. For while Irenaeus supposedly bases his teaching on the Bible, he equally uses philosophical concepts as part of his theologia: one instance of this Tendenz is his theory of recapitulation (ἀνακεφαλαίωσις or recirculatio). See

Irenaeus bases his recapitulation idea on Eph. 1:9-10. Charles Ryrie explains his teaching in this way:

"Christ recapitulated in Himself all the stages of life including what belongs to us as sinners. His obedience substituted for Adam's disobedience, and this should affect a transformation in our life" (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 308 [1986]).

How does Ryrie view the recapitulation doctrine of Irenaeus? Under a section titled "Theories of the Atonement," Ryrie lists Irenaeus' idea as one "theory" among many, then he states:

"As one would expect, various views of the Atonement, both true and false, have been propagated throughout church history. A study of these, even in a summary manner, should do two things: it should help prevent one falling into the same errors others have made, and it should help one to state the truth more precisely because of errors that have been made" (Ryrie, 308 [1986]).
So Ryrie, while not condemning Irenaeus as a false prophet, does seem to affirm that his recapitulation theory is possibly erroneous or mistaken: it does not seem to communicate the truth of Scripture as precisely as one might desire. Yet why does Irenaean recapitulation theory fail to put across the full truth of God's Word concerning Christ's substitutionary act?

If one carefully scrutinizes Irenaeus' recapitulation theory, it quickly becomes apparent that there is a philosophical aura surrounding this idea. For while Irenaeus ostensibly employs Eph. 1:9-10 to buttress his atonement theory, he simultaneously utilizes Aristotle's famed concepts of potentiality and actuality as well. In other words, Irenaeus professes that humans were created with a certain God-given potentiality. But since Adam and Eve did not actualize their God-given potentiality, Christ came to actualize what Adam did not, and what the first human couple's progeny could not actualize. Irenaean theology is thus framed in hylomorphic/Aristotelian terms--not strict Pauline language. Nevertheless, it is not just the language that constitutes a problem; the very philosophical concepts that Irenaeus puts to work in this regard are problematic.

In view of how Christ supposedly actualized his God-given potential, Irenaeus avers, all humans should effect a spiritual transformation in their own lives (Cf. Iren. Haer. 2.22.4; 3.18.1-7; 5.16.2-3). The difficulty with this view, however, is that it skews the Biblical picture of humanity's fall; it also obscures the substitutionary gift of Christ Jesus. Moreover, while the recapitulation theory may not be totally erroneous, it still fails to "state the truth . . . precisely" (Ryrie). This is but one example of Irenaeus' theological misgivings, yet this is not the only scriptural faux pas that he commits. My next post will deal with Irenaeus and the Antichrist.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Trinitarian Parlance and Divine Personhood (Building on John 1:1)

A problem that Trinitarian theology has not addressed (satisfactorily) involves how it is possible to speak of the Son and holy spirit as Persons. To be sure, theologians attempt to cut the Gordian knot of this troublesome antinomy. Nevertheless, not one thinker has satisfactorily explained how Persons who are not Persons in the Cartesian sense (cogito ergo sum) can subsist with (pros) one another and enjoy meaningful communion and love one another. For instance, Robert Bowman (following earlier thinkers) suggests that "person" is analogical language when the term references God. But this explanation does not explain how one analogical divine Person can be with another analogical Person, then love and send that "analogical" person.

Friday, August 02, 2019

1 Timothy 6:9 (Determined to be Rich)

1 Timothy 6:9 (Greek): οἱ δὲ βουλόμενοι πλουτεῖν ἐμπίπτουσιν εἰς πειρασμὸν καὶ παγίδα καὶ ἐπιθυμίας πολλὰς ἀνοήτους καὶ βλαβεράς, αἵτινες βυθίζουσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους εἰς ὄλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειαν·

My Comments: πλουτεῖν is the present active infinitive of πλουτέω--translate "to be rich." Note also the way that Paul juxtaposes πλουτεῖν in 1 Timothy 6:9 and 1 Tim. 6:18 (be rich in good deeds); furthermore, the latter verse is addressed to those who are financially rich in this system of things.

From Zerwick and Grosvenor:

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Theos in John 1:1c (Yet Again)

It seems clear that the LOGOS cannot be the same QEOS that he is with (John 1:1b). Therefore, the preverbal anarthrous PN in 1:1c should be rendered "a god" since QEOS is a count noun and serves as an instantiation of the class, QEOI. We again encounter one of the major problems for Trinitarian theology, namely, explaining the Trinitarian relations within the Godhead.

Asserting that PROS implies being with or toward or even in close communion with someone else, certain scholars have tried to explain John 1:1 by resorting to a priori categories of person and substance. However, John McKenzie has pointed out that John the apostle did not differentiate between the divine substance and three Persons who are sharers in that divine substance. John simply used QEOS to describe the Being whom he identified as the only true God (John 17:3). This Being is distinct from the man who was called Jesus Christ on earth, and He is also set apart from the LOGOS who was with the only true God before the world existed (John 17:5). Granted, John used QEOS of the LOGOS in 1:1c, but it does not seem that he was trying to equate the Word with Almighty God (John 14:28; 20:17).

G.R. Beasley-Murray contends that PROS TON QEON means: "in the presence of God" or "in the fellowship of God." B.M Newman and E.A. Nida reject an "in the presence of God" understanding and opt for the notion of "a kind of interactive reciprocality between the Word and God."

Contextual and Extended (Principled) Applications

I found the WT article about contextual and extended (principled) applications. It's in the 8/15/1972 issue, see page 498ff.

Here is a quote provided from that article that's within the confines of "fair use law" in the USA:

A Scripture text may be quoted or cited and applied in a way that appears to contradict an application made in an earlier instance. In some cases this may be due to greater light of understanding, correcting a former view. In other cases you may be helped by considering whether the application is “contextual,” that is, whether the scripture is being discussed in the light of the context and setting. Or perhaps it is an “extended” application, that is, the principle of the text may be applied to some other circumstance.
An example of a text from which the principle is often forcefully applied is Hebrews 12:9, which reads: “We used to have fathers who were of our flesh to discipline us, and we used to give them respect. Shall we not much more subject ourselves to the Father of our spiritual life and live?”
The writer is here speaking of the “spiritual life” of the spirit-begotten brothers of Jesus Christ, who have heavenly hopes. (Heb. 12:22-24, 28) But the principle set out in this text may also be applied to the “other sheep,” who are prospective children of God, with hope of everlasting life on earth. (John 10:16; Rom. 8:21) These, too, have a “spiritual life,” inasmuch as they are living according to the direction of God’s Word and spirit alongside the spirit-begotten ones. They are not living ‘fleshly lives,’ lives devoted to pursuing “the works of the flesh.”—Rom. 7:5; 8:5-8; Gal. 5:19-21; compare 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Please see the WT for further information.

One example I discussed recently is 1 Cor. 10:21. According to the context, the table and cup of the Lord are references to the Lord's evening meal (supper), but the verse may have a wider application outside of that original context. Cf. the 7/1/1959 WT, page 410.