Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Notes from Tim Weldon's Book About Duns Scotus (Pages 43-53)

When I used to lecture about John Duns Scotus by using Tim Weldon's book, I would use these notes. They seem fragmented, but I could follow them with ease (normally):

1) Scotus' argument for the existence of God (Pages 43-44)

a) essentially and accidentally-ordered causes (vertical represents hic et nunc, but horizontal signifies ad infinitum)

Triple primacy-efficient cause, final cause, and in preeminence. These three are coextensive.

2) Faith seeking understanding (page 44). "Fides quaerens intellectum."

3) Love and time-page 47 (Quid est tempus?)

What is love? (Quid est amor?)

4) Faculty of will (voluntas)

5) Plato and three parts of the soul (47-48)

Is it possible to have a rational will?

6) Contrast A. Schopenhauer-p. 49 of Weldon (blind striving)

Cf. F. Nietzsche-p. 50-51 (compare Scotus)

See pp. 52-3 of Weldon.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tower of Babel (Modified Talk Notes)

According to some counts, more than 6,800 languages exist, and they each have their own unique grammatical features. However, for at least 17 centuries, people spoke just one language. So what happened? And is it possible for any language to unite humankind?

Read Genesis 11:1-4

The popular cause to be advanced by the tower and city construction was, not the exaltation of God’s name, but that the builders might “make a celebrated name” for themselves. The ziggurat towers uncovered not only in the ruins of ancient Babylon but elsewhere in Mesopotamia would seem to confirm the essentially religious nature of the original tower, whatever its form or style.

Whereas the Hebrew name given the city, Babel, means “Confusion,” the Sumerian name (Ka-dingir-ra) and the Akkadian name (Bab-ilu) both mean “Gate of God.” Thus the remaining inhabitants of the city altered the form of its name to avoid the original condemnatory sense, but the new or substitute form still identified the city with religion.

The Genesis account describes the uniting of some part of the post-Flood human family in a project that opposed God’s will as stated to Noah and his sons. (Ge 9:1) Instead of spreading out and ‘filling the earth,’ they decided to centralize human society, concentrating their residence on a site in what became known as the Plains of Shinar in Mesopotamia. Evidently this was also to become a religious center, with a religious tower.​

Notice Jehovah God's response to this presumptuous project:

Read Gen. 11:6-9

The confusion of their language would also hinder or slow down future progress in a wrong direction, a God-defying direction, since it would limit mankind’s ability to combine its intellectual and physical powers in ambitious schemes and also make it difficult to draw upon the accumulated knowledge of the different language groups formed​—knowledge, not from God, but gained through human experience and research. (Compare Ec 7:29; De 32:5.) So, while the confusion of Babel introduced a major divisive factor into human society, the confusion of human speech actually benefited human society by slowing down the attainment of dangerous and hurtful goals. (Ge 11:5-9; compare Isa 8:9, 10.) One only has to consider certain developments in our own times, resulting from accumulated secular knowledge and man’s misuse thereof, to realize that what God foresaw long ago would develop if the effort at Babel were allowed to go unhindered.

Discuss picture, and Zeph. 3:9; Rom. 12:2.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Genesis 19:24 Comments

KJV: "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;"

Nahum Sarna (Genesis, page 138): ":the LORD . . . the LORD The repetition, like the phrase 'out of heaven,' dramatizes the conviction that what occurred was not a meaningless accident of nature but a purposeful event, the expression of God’s direct intervention in human affairs in order to redress the balance of justice."

Septuagint (LXX), The German Bible Society: καὶ κύριος ἔβρεξεν ἐπὶ Σοδομα καὶ Γομορρα θεῖον καὶ πῦρ παρὰ κυρίου ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ

Brenton Septuagint: "And the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven."

NET Bible: "Then the Lord rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the Lord."

NET Note: Heb “from the Lord from the heavens.” The words “It was sent down” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. sn The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord. What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, “The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,” BA 6 (1943): 41-54.

Claus Westermann Translation: "when Yahweh rained brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah, from Yahweh in the heavens"

Targum Jonathan on Genesis: "Behold, then, there are now sent down upon them sulphur and fire from before the Word of the Lord from Heaven."

John Calvin Commentary:
And it was not the will of God that those cities should be simply swallowed up by an earthquake; but in order to render the example of his judgment the more conspicuous, he hurled fire and brimstone upon them out of heaven. To this point belongs what Moses says, that the Lord rained fire from the Lord. The repetition is emphatical, because the Lord did not then cause it to rain, in the ordinary course of nature; but, as if with a stretched out hand, he openly fulminated in a manner to which he was not accustomed, for the purpose of making it sufficiently plain, that this rain of fire and brimstone was produced by no natural causes. It is indeed true, that the air is never agitated by chance; and that God is to be acknowledged as the Author of even the least shower of rain; and it is impossible to excuse the profane subtlety of Aristotle, who, when he disputes so acutely concerning second causes, in his Book on Meteors, buries God himself in profound silence. Moses, however, here expressly commends to us the extraordinary work of God; in order that we may know that Sodom was not destroyed without a manifest miracle. The proof which the ancients have endeavored to derive, from this testimony, for the Deity of Christ, is by no means conclusive: and they are angry, in my judgment, without cause, who severely censure the Jews, because they do not admit this kind of evidence. I confess, indeed, that God always acts by the hand of his Son, and have no doubt that the Son presided over an example of vengeance so memorable; but I say, they reason inconclusively, who hence elicit a plurality of Persons, whereas the design of Moses was to raise the minds of the readers to a more lively contemplation of the hand of God.

Victor Hamilton Transalation: "Then Yahweh deluged Sodom and Gomorrah with sulphurous fire from Yahweh in heaven."

Hamilton Remarks: "The actual description of the catastrophe is limited to two verses, 24 and 25. To be more precise, v. 24 relates the event and v. 25 relates the consequences. The repetition of the tetragrammaton at the end of the verse should not be dismissed as a doublet or a gloss. The twofold use of the tetragrammaton reinforces the fact that the disaster that struck Sodom and its environs was not a freak of nature. Rather, it was sent deliberately by Yahweh himself. The verse adds further that the disaster was sent from Yahweh in heaven. Throughout chs. 18-19 Yahweh has been pictured as moving to and fro on the earth. He rests under a tree near Mamre and has a meal. He engages in conversation with Abraham. His angelic entourage are overnight guests of Lot. Now suddenly Yahweh, from his heavenly position, unleashes a catastrophe on Sodom."

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

John 13:33--"My Little Children"

Jesus emphasized love on the night before his death in his "farewell discourse." He loved his own to the end (John 13:1), and taught his disciples a new commandment, namely, to love one another as he loved them (John 13:34-35). Compare 1 John 3:16.

In John 13:33, the Son of God uttered some interesting words:

Greek: Τεκνία, ἔτι μικρὸν μεθ' ὑμῶν εἰμί· ζητήσετέ με, καὶ καθὼς εἶπον τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὅτι Ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω ὑμεῖς οὐ δύνασθε ἐλθεῖν, καὶ ὑμῖν λέγω ἄρτι.

ESV: Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’

I now post comments pertaining to this fateful verse:

J. Ramsey Michaels (NICNT):
Only here in the entire Gospel does he address them as “Children,”⁴⁷ that is, as actual small children, not simply offspring. This is perhaps a corollary of their characterization earlier as “his own” (v. 2), whom he loved. The affectionate address softens the bad news, that “yet a short time I am with you,” that “You will seek me,” and that “Where I am going you cannot come.”

Craig Keener (The Gospel of John, Baker Academic):
Jesus addresses his disciples as “children” in 13:33 (cf. παιδία in 21:5), which figures in the Jesus tradition[238] as well as being a standard title for disciples in John’s circle (1 John 2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21; παιδία in 2:14, 18). This title should not be thought to betray a confusion between the roles of Father and Son; apart from its application to Jesus, one would not even need to assume divine implications in Jesus being their implied “father” here.[239] Fictive kinship terminology based on active rather than genetic relationship was common (e.g., Phaedrus 3.15.18), and “father” was a title of great respect.[240] Ancients employed such fictive kinship terminology in an honorary manner, sometimes in direct address (e.g., 2 Kgs 5:13; 13:14; Diodorus Siculus 21.12.5); for example, they employed titles such as “father of the Jews” (2 Macc 14:37), “fathers of the world” for the first-century schools of Hillel and Shammai (Gen. Rab. 12:14),[241] “father of his country” or of the state for the emperor,[242] “fathers” for Roman senators,[243] for triumphant generals,[244] for other societal leaders or benefactors,[245] for rescuers in battle (Polybius 6.39.6–7), and for older mentors.[246] “Father” could apply to any respected elders;[247] thus, for example, the honorary title “father of a synagogue.”[248] Age by itself was grounds for respect,[249] so from the earliest period younger persons could address older men respectfully as fathers,[250] and older men could address younger men as sons,[251] as could leaders their followers (e.g., Virgil Aen. 1.157). One could address even an older stranger as “father” (cf. 1 Tim 5:1–2).[252]

After quoting numerous references, Keener concludes:

Thus Jesus’ use of the title “children” for his disciples is more the language of a teacher and mentor than of a surrogate for the Father (cf. 16:27); the author of 1 John employs the same language (1 John 2:1, 12–13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21; 3 John 4), and presumably elders in his community would do the same (1 John 2:13– 14; 2 John 1, 4, 13).

Compare the NWT 2013 study notes for John 13:33.

Robert H. Mounce writes:

As noted, the expression “my [little] children” reveals a special tenderness, and if the experience in the upper room is taken as a Passover meal, this designation would be especially suitable, since on that occasion parents explained to their children the meaning of the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egypt (Ex 12:26–27; 13:8).

Mounce, Robert H. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 6851-6854). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The War to End All Wars (Amended Version of a Talk)

Jehovah is the God of peace, but during the war of Armageddon, he will become an awe-inspiring warrior: Jehovah and his Son will conduct the war to end all wars. One reason that God becomes a warrior at times is because of unrighteous conditions on the earth. If peace will ever fill the earth, the wicked must not be here (Psalm 37:10, 11). Proverbs 21:18 proclaims that the wicked serve as a ransom for the righteous. Destroying the wicked is a last resort for Jehovah since he desires that all people attain to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), but yet not all people choose to repent.

For us to learn more about the war to end all wars, let us read Revelation 19:11, 14-16.

In vision, the apostle John saw the glorified Jesus Christ riding on a white horse and along with him were angels also seated on white horses. This vision signifies the righteous and just warfare that Jesus Christ will wage on Jehovah's behalf. Earlier, John depicted Christ riding a white horse in Revelation 6:2-8: this figurative ride of the Lord will end with the conquest of his enemies (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Notice how this point is emphasized in Revelation 19:19-20.

John now sees the seven-headed, ten-horned wild beast from the sea, which represents Satan’s political organization, being destroyed, and along with the beast goes the false prophet, the seventh world power. In what sense are they thrown into the lake of fire while still alive? Is this a literal lake of fire? No, especially since the wild beast and the false prophet are not literal animals. Rather, the lake of fire depicts complete and final destruction, a place of no return. Remember that death and Hades, as well as the Devil himself, later will be hurled into the same figurative lake (Revelation 20:10-15). The very idea of eternal torment is something detestable to Jehovah (Jeremiah 7:31).

Not only will the religious and political elements of Satan's system be destroyed, but so will all humans who oppose God’s sovereignty.

Read Revelation 19:21

All others who were not directly part of government but who were nevertheless an irreformable part of this corrupt world of mankind are likewise “killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse.” Jesus will pronounce them deserving of death. Will these people have a resurrection since Revelation does not say they're cast into the lake of fire?

Nowhere are we told that those executed by Jehovah’s Judge at that time are to be resurrected. As Jesus himself stated, all those who are not “sheep” go off “into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels,” that is, “into everlasting cutting-off.” (Matthew 25:33, 41, 46) These events culminate in “the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.”

Discuss Picture

Friday, February 07, 2020

Philippians 2:6-7--The Son Did Not Consider A Snatching

The inspired apostle Paul writes: ouch harpagmon egesato to einai isa theo. What is the significance of this construction? The Greek noun harpagmos is derived from the verb harpazo. Harpazo can denote the act of stripping, spoiling, snatching, seizing with force or robbing someone. Greek writers also employ the signifier to describe "an open act of violence in contrast to cunning and secret thieving" (Zodhiates 892). Moreover, harpazo carries the sense of a forcible seizure, a snatching away or taking to oneself (see Dunn’s observations in Dodd and Martin 77). Early Christian writers employ harpazo at Mt. 11:12; 13:19; Acts 8:38; 2 Cor. 12:2, 4; 1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 12:5. The sense of the word in Phil. 2:6 is not so much retaining as it is that of forceful seizure:

Once we recognize that for Paul Christ did not possess equality with God in an absolute sense, for the very reason that he was the Son of God, the meaning of the problematic expression ouch harpagmon hegesato becomes clear. Every interpretation that assumes the essential equality of Christ with God is excluded. In spite of certain difficulties, the sense of ouch harpagmon hegesato must lie in the direction of res rapienda: the Son of God did not think equality with God something to be grasped. (Wannamaker 188)

Attributing a passive sense to harpagmos appears to be unwarranted (Hawthorne 84-85). Exploring this issue further before coming to any definite conclusions, however, we will now note the exegesis of Moises Silva:

The ambiguous phrase in v. 6, [ouch harpagmon hegesato], has created a literature far more extensive than it probably deserves. In particular, one is impressed by the futility of trying to reach a decision regarding Jesus' preexistence and deity on the basis of whether harpagmon has an active meaning or a passive meaning . . . if one opts for the passive idea, is the nuance positive ("windfall, advantage") or negative ("booty, prize")? Further, if it carries a negative nuance, we must decide whether it speaks of a thing already possessed, which one is tempted to hold on to . . . or a thing not possessed, which one may be tempted to snatch. (Silva 117)

Ultimately, Silva concludes that a sense of retaining may be the most likely meaning of harpagmos in Phil. 2:6. But he is forced to admit that such a conclusion is uncertain and not central to the "hymn" of Philippians 2:6-11 (117). Furthermore, Silva acknowledges that the few instances of harpagmos outside of Christian literature are all active and not passive (as is the case with harpagma). Consulting Abbott-Smith also reveals: "there is certainly a presumption in favour of the active meaning here" in Phil. 2:6 since the apostle does not use the LXX form harpagma. Paul thus speaks of an act of seizing: not of a thing seized or a thing retained (Abbott-Smith 60).

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Textual Variants for Matthew 6:13 (STEP Bible Apparatus Criticus)

τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ] ‭א (B τὴν δικαιοσύνην καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ) 57 (1646 copsa copbo ethro? ethpp? (itk itl vgst Tertullian Cyprian (Eusebius) Aphraates βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ) (Gregory-Nyssa) (Didymus1/2) Macarius/Symeon Augustine5/7 δικαιοσύνην τοῦ θεοῦ) Speculum WH (NR Riv) NM

τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ] E G K L N W Δ Θ Π Σ Φ 0233* (0233c omit αὐτοῦ) f1 f13 22 28 33 157 180 205 565 579 597 700 892 1006 1009 1010 1071 1079 1195 1216 1230 1241 1242 1243 1253 1365 1392 1424 1505 1546 2148 2174 Byz Lect ita itaur itb itc itf itff1 itg1 ith vgcl vgww syrc syrp syrh syrpal copmae arm (ethpp) geo1 geoA slav Clement1/3 Serapion (Hilary) Basil (Didymus1/2) Evagrius Chrysostom1/12 Chromatius Marcus Eremita Augustine2/7 Cyril Theodoret John-Damascus ς (NA [τοῦ θεοῦ]) CEI ND Dio Nv TILC

τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ] 301* 366 373 726 1272* 1590* l858 (Clement2/3 omit αὐτοῦ) Chrysostom1/12

τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ] 119 245 482 l184 l187 geoB Diatessaronsyr Chrysostom4/12 Jerome

τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν] Justin Chrysostom7/12

Saturday, February 01, 2020

John Lange Comments for Esther 7:6 ("wicked Haman")

Esther 7:6. Esther still hesitates to name Haman, but at last brings the predicate into prominence: The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.—She does not say: “The evil-disposed person,” viz. of whom she is speaking, but without the article, אִישׁ צַר, in order to make as strikingly prominent as possible the conception of the man so inimical. Haman trembled; for נִבְעַת means more than that he was simply alarmed (comp. 1 Chron. 21:30; Dan. 8:17, and בִּעוּתִּים, Ps. 88:17; Job 6:4).

Latin Vulgate: dixit Hester hostis et inimicus noster pessimus iste est Aman quod ille audiens ilico obstipuit vultum regis ac reginae ferre non sustinens

Sirach 15:14 and Free Will

Greek: αὐτὸς ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐποίησεν ἄνθρωπον καὶ ἀφῆκεν αὐτὸν ἐν χειρὶ διαβουλίου αὐτοῦ.

Translation of Sirach 15:14: "God in the beginning created human beings and made them subject to their own free choice." (15:14 NABRE)

Brenton LXX: "He himself made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his counsel"

In Thomas Aquinas' Summa Thelogica (Summa Theologiae), I.83.1, we find these words in the sed contra part of the question:

"On the contrary, It is written (Sirach 15:14): 'God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel'; and the gloss adds: 'That is of his free-will.'"

Then as part of Aquinas' response, he argues:

But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will.

Aquinas uses the term "free will/free-will" in a technical manner, but suffice to say that he interprets Sirach 15:14 as support for the concept. Much has been written about this passage. However, the salient issue for now is how we might understand Sirach 15:14, and to what extent it teaches free will.

Further Reading: