Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Wisdom of Solomon and Jesus

Christ Jesus undoubtedly knew about the sins of King Solomon and their causal conditions. As Nehemiah wrote, "Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin." (Nehemiah 13:26 ESV)

Solomon is identified as "king of Israel" because he ruled all twelve tribes before the split happened in the days of his son, Rehoboam. The language, "there was no king like him" and "he was beloved by his God" implies that Solomon had a good start in toto: he initially governed wisely and Jehovah blessed his reign. But then something happened--"foreign women made even him to sin." Solomon's wives (plural) worshiped numerous gods and they led him astray. However, could Solomon consequently stand before God, then use these women as scapegoats? I don't think Nehemiah was trying to make that point although he reasons a fortiori that if foreign wives by their idolatry caused Solomon to sin, then how much more will foreign women lead other men astray. Compare Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

Nevertheless, one point I want to make from today's reflection is that Jesus spoke about Solomon's wisdom, implying that he started out good before things went south. See Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Philippians 2:25 (Paul's Man, Epaphroditus)

Greek (NA28): Ἀναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην Ἐπαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου, ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου, πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς

Hawthorne translates
δὲ, "In the meantime." John P. Heil compares Ἀναγκαῖον in Philippians 2:25 with the word choice in Philippians 1:24 (Philippians, page 107); the designation τὸν ἀδελφὸν marks Epaphroditus as a "fellow Christian" of Paul and cements a nexus with Philippians 1:12 (Heil, Philippians, page 108) while the anarthrous συνεργὸν identifies Epaphroditus as a fellow worker of Paul in spreading the Christian good news; notice the sending language in 2:23 and 2:25 (πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς).

Ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην is evidently an "epistolary cliché," (Holloway) that details why Paul is writing the Philippians at this specific time, because he is sending back "their emissary." Epaphroditus was appointed by the Philippians to take a financial gift to Paul. Holloway favors the rendering, "I felt compelled and so I acted." This way of handling the Greek stresses the adjective Ἀναγκαῖον which Paul ostensibly fronted in order to supply emphasis. Compare Philippians 1:23-24.

ἡγησάμην is aorist middle indicative 1st person singular ("I think, consider"). For the word ἀπόστολον, Cousar adds: " 'Apostle' is used here in the sense of God’s messenger without extraordinary status or authority. Epaphroditus was a messenger, only in the sense of bearing the Philippians’ gift to Paul."

Charles Cousar and others refer to this section of Philippians as the travelogue portion of the letter. Within this section, Paul commends both Timothy and Epaphroditus. Regarding
ἡγησάμην, Cousar professes: "The aorist tense is likely an epistolary aorist, in which the writer takes the stance and time of his readers." Ralph Martin reckons that the aorist is probably epistolary, if one assumes that Epaphroditus bore the letter to the Philippian congregation as Paul's emissary although the NIV does not treat the verb that way: "But I think it is necessary to send back . . ." Martin points out that "send back" also does not occur in the Greek text and he considers it likely that the Philippians never meant for Epaphroditus to return (πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς). Commenting on "apostle" and shaliach, Martin offers this view: "This term [shaliach] underlies the word apostolos here, which is not used in this place in any technical sense but rather carrying the thought of John 13:16, ‘he that is sent.’ " Compare 2 Corinthians 8:23.

Holloway frames Philippians 2:25-30 as the fifth consolatory argument of the letter: Paul will supply consolation to the ecclesia by sending his emissary Epaphroditus: he dispatches his fellow worker with a missive to console and encourage those at Philippi. Lynn Cohick takes note of Paul's "glowing" language within the epistle. She offers these remarks:

“ 'Brother' is a generic term Paul uses to speak of other believers in the Lord. But to add 'my' is distinctive and suggests affection and personal commendation. 'Co-worker' is also a designation shared by several New Testament figures, including Euodia and Syntyche in 4:2–3. 'Fellow soldier' is used to praise Archippus in Philemon 2. Paul uses such military language to describe his ministry as a campaign (2 Cor 10:3–4; see also 1 Cor 9:7)."

Now what about the terminology
ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον? Cohick raises questions pertaining to the nature of Epaphroditus' office as an apostolos. Is he an "apostle" like the twelve and Paul or should we merely view him as a messenger appointed by the Philippians? Again, she points to a number of early Christians designated as "apostles" like Silvanus, Apollos, Barnabas, Junia, the group mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:23, and the "apostles" in 2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11. (See Revelation 2:2) Cohick reasons that a definite conclusion cannot be reached in this matter. Was Epaphroditus meant to serve Paul for life? Did he fail to achieve his goals as Paul's emissary? That is a conclusion I personally doubt. Cohick suggests that if Epaphroditus was appointed by the Philippians to serve Paul's needs, then maybe the congregation wanted him to serve in one place--no determinate conclusion is reached.

The final description of Epaphroditus in 2:25 is λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου. We learn that Paul uses a word which could mean "civic official." The apostle to the nations is possibly identifying Epaphroditus as a "public worker" in the sense that he ministers religiously as ancient leitourgoi did by officiating city festivals and presiding over thusia to their deities (compare Philippians 4:18). Martin mentions the NIV translation for
λειτουργὸν ("servant"): in the first century,[a] the term evidently has both sacred and solemn connotations (Romans 15:16):

"Such service is thus invested with an aura of special solemnity, and Paul views it as rendered to the Lord, as well as to himself."

Despite the "glowing" recommendation from Paul, Cohick raises questions about Epaphroditus' fitness as an emissary and leitourgos. Why does Paul encourage the Philippians to welcome him with joy? Why did he send Epaphroditus back in the first place? Did he not fulfill his mission? Despite the questions, she reckons that the emissary did his job: he was deathly sick and this might explain Paul's reason for returning him and why he asked the Philippians to honor this man. See Philippians 2:29. Epaphroditus did not fulfill all of his desires for the Kingdom, but he risked life and limb for the Christian congregation while doing his utmost to serve Paul's needs and those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although the name was common in the ancient world, Epaphroditus is only mentioned by name twice in the GNT: Philippians 2:25 and 4:18. Philip Comfort notes five ascriptions that Paul gives him: τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου, ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου . . .

Comfort does not think that
ἀπόστολον places Epaphroditus among the twelve intimate followers of Jesus: he is an apostle qua emissary for Paul. As for λειτουργὸν, Comfort explains:

The term was often employed in classical Greek to describe public service rendered at the expense of the citizen. In biblical Greek, as Plummer has noted (1896:18), it is used “of priestly service in the worship of God” (Heb 8:6; 9:21; Num 8:22; 16:9; 18:4; 2 Chr 31:2) and also of service to the needy (2 Cor 9:12; Phil 2:30).” Paul also used this word in urging Christians to present their lives as living sacrifices to God, which is their priestly service (Rom 12:1). (For a good discussion of the word, see EDNT 2.347-349.)
soldier and apostle/COs


[a]: I need to verify what Martin writes about the NIV translation for leitourgos.


Lynn H. Cohick. Philippians.
The Story of God Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2013.

Philip Comfort, Peter Davids, and Harold W. Hoehner.
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Philemon. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol. 16. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.

Charles Cousar. Philippians and Philemon: A Commentary. New Testament Library.

Louisville, Kentucky : Westminster/John Knox Press, 2009.

Gordon Fee. Paul's Letter to the Philippians. NICNT.
Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995.

Gerald Hawthorne.
Philippians. WBC 43; revised edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004.

John P. Heil. Philippians: Let Us Rejoice in Being Conformed to Christ. Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2010.

Paul Holloway. Philippians: A Commentary.
Hermeneia. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017.

Ralph P. Martin.
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester: Eerdmans; InterVarsity Press, 1959.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ways to Challenge An Argument in Logic

Two common ways to question an argument in logic: 1) challenge the argument's premises; 2) supply counterexamples that call into question the argument's validity. In logic, an argument technically has premises and a conclusion; without premises or a conclusion, statements are not arguments. Another feature of arguments is that when we're talking about deductive arguments, they're either valid or invalid, sound or unsound, not true or false. Statements or premises can be true or false, but not deductive arguments.

Take the following argument as an example. I'm going to make it a theological argument due to the blog's focus:

1) If Christ is the Son of God, then Christ is God.
2) Christ is the Son of God.
3) Therefore, Christ is God.

The argument is formally valid: it reasons that if p, then q in the first premise; the second premise affirms p, and the subsequent conclusion is q. It's an example of modus ponens and the conclusion simply is a deductive inference of premises 1) and 2). Yet there is a different point I'm trying to make in this case. How can I challenge this argument by employing the principles of logic?

First, I could question the premises. Why should I think the first premise is true? An adherent of the Trinity might try to convince me that 1) is true but the point is that I could challenge it: I don't have to accept the premise. Secondly, I could produce a counterexample to show that it's conceptually possible for the argument in question to be invalid. Producing counterexamples can become a complex and difficult process, but I want to keep it simple.


1*) If Adam is the Son of God, then Adam is God.
2*) Adam is the Son of God.
3*) Therefore, Adam is God.

I would like to get some thoughts from Trinitarians or some logicians on my counterexample, but even if we abstract from 1*) and consider the premise to be questionable--it is no more questionable than 1) above and 1* is a hypothetical statement, not an indicative utterance. However, 2*) is true, according to Luke 3:38, and I don't think any serious Bible student would deny that the Gospel of Luke identifies Adam as God's Son. Yet the conclusion (3*) is false: Adam is not God since he is a creature and there is only one God in Judaeo-Christianity, that is, one Supreme Being (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 42:8; 45:5; Ephesians 4:5-6; 1 Timothy 2:5). Ergo, 3*) does not follow necessarily from 1*) and 2*).

The point of this exercise has been to illustrate how one can challenge arguments in logic. To review, the two main ways are questioning the premises of an argument and producing counterexamples to show a deductive argument is likely invalid. We want to show that the conclusion of an argument is not necessarily true and may even be false, or the argument as a whole could be invalid.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Translating Exodus 19:9 (Robert Alter and the Cloud)

I've been working my way through Robert Alter's work, The Art of Biblical Translation. He has a number of interesting analyses pertaining to biblical translation and Hebrew philology. One example that he gives of so-called biblical inaccuracies is Exodus 19:9. Notice how some translations render this passage and specifically, what they state about the cloud:

Exodus 19:9 (ASV): "And Jehovah said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto Jehovah."

Exodus 19:9 (CJB): "ADONAI said to Moshe, 'See, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will be able to hear when I speak with you and also to trust in you forever.' Moshe had told ADONAI what the people had said;"

Exodus 19:9 (CSB): "The Lord said to Moses, 'I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear when I speak with you and will always believe you.' Then Moses reported the people's words to the Lord."

Exodus 19:9 (ESV) " And the LORD said to Moses, 'Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.' When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD,"

Exodus 19:9 (RHE): "The Lord said to him: Lo, now will I come to thee in the darkness of a cloud, that the people may hear me speaking to thee, and may believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord."

NET Bible:
"The Lord said to Moses, 'I am going to come[r] to you in a dense cloud,[s] so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so that they will always believe in you.'[t] And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord."

note [s]:
tn Heb “the thickness of the cloud”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT “in a thick cloud.”

As NET informs us, I found that most English Bibles say some version of "thick cloud."

NWT 2013: "And Jehovah said to Moses: 'Look! I am coming to you in a dark cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so that they may always put faith in you as well.' Then Moses reported the words of the people to Jehovah."

First, Robert Alter relates that "
A rough equivalent in English of the literal effect would be 'the thunderhead of the cloud.' "

Then, contrary to all of the foregoing Bibles, Alter writes: "so I propose rendering it as 'the utmost cloud.' The mistaken construction of ‘av as 'thick' does not entirely alter the moment, but it takes away something of its high solemnity."

He encourages Bible translators to consult Exodus 10:22 and think about the setting for the verse. To close, I've read five reviews of Alter's work, and have yet to find a scholar who criticizes "the utmost cloud." But frankly, I need to do more research on this issue.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Talk Regarding Leviticus 15 (Modified for this Blog)--The Holiness of Jehovah

Gaining Jehovah's approval and remaining in his love requires being clean inside and out. All of God's people must adhere to Jehovah’s standards of physical, moral, and spiritual cleanness regardless of how debased the world becomes (2 Timothy 3:5). Leviticus teaches all of us how to refrain from any unclean thing that would separate us from Jehovah, our holy God (Compare 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

For example, notice the standard that Jehovah expects of men serving him: Read Leviticus 15:13-15.

How do these verses testify to Jehovah's holiness and his high standards for cleanness?

Anyone who recovered from leprosy or who made contact with things touched by those with “a running discharge,” such as a man who had an emission of semen or a woman after menstruation or hemorrhaging, or anyone having sexual intercourse was ceremonially “unclean” and had to take a ceremonial bath. (Leviticus 14:8, 9; 15:4-27)

If anyone refused to comply with these regulations, Numbers 19:20 prescribed that he or she be cut off from the congregation of Israel. In other words, the person should be put to death. These points help us to understand why it's appropriate that the Bible uses washing in a figurative sense to denote a clean standing before Jehovah. (Psalm 26:6; 73:13; Isaiah 1:16; Ezekiel 16:9) Men in Jehovah's organization must be clean both inside and outside.

Jehovah's standard of purity equally applies to women in the congregation: please turn to Leviticus 15:28-30:

In ancient Israel, women were viewed as unclean for the duration of an irregular running discharge of blood or “a flow longer than her menstrual impurity,” at which time a woman might make the articles on which she sat unclean: others could also become unclean by touching these articles. Once the abnormal discharge stopped, Israelite women were supposed to count seven days, and then they would become clean. On the eighth day, they could bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, who would then make atonement for the woman by presenting one of the birds to Jehovah as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering.

These verses show that all of God's people must be clean and Leviticus 15:31 emphasizes this point further.

The entire arrangement of the tabernacle, including the courtyard of the tabernacle and the temple courts, was a holy place. (Exodus 38:24; 2 Chronicles 29:5; Acts 21:28) The primary items located in the courtyard were the altar of sacrifice and the copper basin: these were holy objects. Only ceremonially clean people could enter into the tabernacle courtyard at any time; likewise, no one could go into the temple courts in an unclean state. For example, a woman in an unclean state could not touch any holy thing or come into the holy place of Jehovah. (Leviticus 12:2-4) Those presenting offerings for cleansing from leprosy brought their sacrifice only as far as the gate of the courtyard. (Leviticus 14:11) No unclean person could partake of a communion sacrifice at the tabernacle or the temple, on pain of death.​—Leviticus 7:20, 21. These examples illustrate the importance of being clean before Jehovah.

[Pictures and application]

Picture number 1 has a military chaplain praying with troops; however, Jehovah's people have to remain clean and without spot from the world. We avoid getting involved in worldly politics.

Picture 2 illustrates same-sex marriage taking place: the couple is wed by another religious minister. Yet we cannot lower Jehovah's standards in any way.

Picture 3 depicts what we now see around us: the celebration of holidays and picturing Jesus in a manger although he's now earth's rightful king.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Arguments for God's Existence (Summary of Rauhut-Chapter 7)

Taken from Nils Ch. Rauhut, Ultimate Questions, 3rd Edition (Boston and Columbus: Prentice Hall, 2011). This is an outline of pages 156-188 interspersed with some of my comments. I want to make it clear from the outset that I'm mainly reviewing this chapter of Rauhut and offering some criticisms along the way. The views expressed by Rauhut do not represent my own beliefs or values.

1. Why is the question about God's existence important?

Fyodor Dostoevsky has one of his characters in The Brothers Karamazov to affirm that if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. Without God, there would be no absolute morals, no intrinsic purpose in life, and no ultimate meaning for humanity; however, will faith alone help us to arrive at the datum that God exists, as
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard suggests? John Locke argues for the primacy of reason to test religious claims while Thomas Aquinas favors a mix of reason and revelation, but he thinks that reason alone can demonstrate the existence of God even though it cannot demonstrate that God is triune. This debate illustrates that one of the most pressing questions for those who study God's existence concerns the relationship between faith and reason.

2. Yet another question that remains is what exactly do we mean by the term "God/god"? The fact of the matter is that there are different conceptions of God/god (page 158). Think about the deities of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Shintoism, and Daoism. Nevertheless, my comments
here primarily will deal with Judaeo-Christianity, a religious tradition which represents classical theism. One finds this kind of theism in the ancient western philosophers too (159). But what are some of the arguments for classical theism?

3. Rauhut mentions three basic arguments for classical theism: he then subdivides them in a diagram. They are a posteriori, a priori, and pragmatic arguments. By "a posteriori," he means empirical arguments; a priori arguments are rooted in the analysis of a perfect being like God and based on concepts. Finally, pragmatic arguments insist that we're better off believing in God, even if we lack sufficient evidence to prove his existence. Think of Pascal's Wager (Page 160).

I will not list all of the ways that these kinds of arguments can be developed, but two main types of argumentation are the ontological and cosmological arguments for God's existence. The first is an example of a priori reasoning whereas the second is a posteriori.

4. Pages 164-166 deal with the following subjects: the principle of sufficient reason, the cosmological argument, necessary and contingent beings, the concept of an infinite universe, natural numbers and the largest integer.

5. Rauhut next turns to the question of why the universe exists and he discusses Big Bang theory along with potential objections to arguments for the existence of God. Atheologians pose objections to the so-called design argument.

6. The design Argument, pages 169-170. To sum up the design argument, complex and organized entities could imply that an intelligent designer exists. Imagine encountering a house in the desert that is completely furnished: it has a working refrigerator filled with food and drink, running water, electricity, a functional toilet, HVAC and other amenities. Surely you would be justified in holding the belief that someone is responsible for arranging all those things, for putting them there, and making sure they work. Similarly, complex life forms on earth (biological organisms) make the intelligent design argument seem plausible and reasonable; nonetheless, certain thinkers have raised objections to the argument.

7. Criticisms of intelligent design thought-pages 172-173: Rauhut thinks that evolutionary theory is "more plausible" than what he calls "creationism" (i.e., the design argument). First, he claims that evolution comports with our scientific understanding of the world and planet earth. For instance, creationism asserts that the earth was created about six-thousand years ago, but modern science sets the date at circa five billion years old. Another objection to "creationism" is paleontological remains that indicate many life forms have become extinct and that evolution possibly happens with some regularity as part of the world's natural processes: Rauhut argues that paleontology thus makes creationism seem implausible. Third, he points to apparent imperfections in numerous species that apparently rebut creationism. For example, why do ostriches have wings if they cannot fly? Additionally, how does one explain "homologies" across species if there is a perfect designer, one who created everything ex nihilo? In this case, Rauhut has in mind the human hand which is similar to the leg of a horse or wing of a bat in terms of bone structure and its relative position on the body.

Three objections to naturalistic evolutionary theory are that it does not explain the origin of life, naturalistic evolution claims that random processes just happened although they were highly improbable, and the fossil record is incomplete. While there are counterarguments to each objection, I find the assertion that random processes just had to happen to be less than convincing. Why should we assume that the universe just had to exist apart from the work of an intelligent Creator? The claim is a mere assertion and I guess we're just supposed to accept it as brute fact.

8. Ockham's razor, pages 175-176 (principle of simplicity). Rauhut claims that defenders of the "naturalistic theory of evolution" have a robust argument on their side, known as Ockham's razor (the law of parsimony). Evolutionary theory is supposed to be a simpler explanation than "intelligent design creationism" because it does not invoke a transcendent or supernatural entity to explain our natural world:
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. Yet it is debatable at the very least to claim that evolution is simpler than creationism qua explanatory value; secondly, even Rauhut raises concerns about the applicability of Ockham's razor to this debate. A third response might be that "creationism" does not adequately represent the claims of classical theism or theism as a whole. For example, a theist may be committed to a God/creator God but theists are not committed to a young universe/earth.

9. Ontological Argument (177-178). Anselm of Canterbury produced one famous version of the ontological argument for God's existence: he reasoned that we can categorize existence in two fundamental ways, as existence in the intellect and existence outside of the intellect. From there, the ontological argument proceeds to set forth the idea that existence both within and outside the intellect is better than mere existence in intellectu. Since God is that being than which a greater cannot be conceived, God must exist not only in intellectu, but in re. Another way of formulating the argument is to say that if God exists potentially, then God exists actually. On the other hand, there is a famed objection to this line of reasoning associated with Kant and existence as a predicate.

Immanuel Kant makes a distinction between a real predicate and conceptual predicates: with real predicates, what's contained in the subject is not contained in the predicate. For instance, in the statement "The horse is black," the predicate adds something that is not in the subject. Hence, this is an example of real predication. However, if someone asserts that "Horses exist," is the predicate truly adding anything to the subject? Imagine someone describing their new beau: he's tall, got a full head of hair, toothy smile, comes from a good family, and by the way--he exists!

Do you see the potential difficulty with predicating existence of something? Of course, there are possible workarounds: one might treat existence as a second-order predicate instead of a first-order term of predication. Sir Anthony Kenny offers a way out of this problem and Peter van Inwagen has an extended reflection on existence in his introduction to metaphysics. At the end of the day, the problem with treating existence as a predicate could be more lingual than anything else.

10. Logical Problem of evil (pages 186-188): A final challenge to God's existence is the so-called problem of evil. Rauhut distinguishes between the logical problem and the evidential problem. I will focus on the first type of problem.

The Scottish thinker David Hume raised questions about God and evil although he was not the first to ask such questions. He seems to wonder about whether God is willing to prevent evil, but unable; or is God able to prevent evil but unwilling. "Is God both able and willing?" Hume asks. If he is able and willing to prevent evil, then why does evil exist? Why does it occur? This problem takes various forms, but we could structure the logical problem this way:

A. God is omnipotent

B. God is omnibenevolent

C. Evil exists

But Rauhut formulates the logical problem of evil thus:

1. Evil exists (i.e., innocent beings suffer terribly).
2. An all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God exists.

Regardless of how the problem is structured, the point is that these propositions are supposed to be inconsistent. Evil presumably cannot exist if an omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and omniscient being exists. There has been obvious pushback from classical theists and others, who seek to address the logical problem of evil. Rauhut discusses two ways that one could reply to the logical problem of evil and demonstrate that the "problem" does not generate an explicit contradiction. Alvin Plantinga and Peter van Inwagen have explained why the logical problem of evil is not a genuine difficulty for theists. I will offer material for further reading below, but I've attempted to show the range of information that one can find in Rauhut, chapter seven.

Further Reading:

Feser, Edward. Five Proofs of the Existence of God. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017.

Nowacki, Mark R. The “Kalām” Cosmological Argument for God. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2007.

Plantinga, Alvin, God, Freedom, and Evil. New York: Harper and Row, 1974.

Plantinga, Alvin, The Ontological Argument from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965.

Swinburne, Richard. The Coherence of Theism. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

BDAG Entry for Ἰουδαῖος (From the Third Edition)

Ἰουδαῖος, αία, αῖον (Clearchus, the pupil of Aristotle, Fgm. 6 [in Jos., C. Ap. 1, 179]; Theophr., Fgm. 151 W. [WJaeger, Diokles v. Karystos ’38, 134–53: Theophrastus and the earliest Gk. report concerning the Judeans or Jews]; Hecataeus of Abdera [300 b.c.] : 264 Fgm. 25, 28, 2a Jac. [in Diod S 1, 28, 2] al.; Polyb.; Diod S; Strabo; Plut.; Epict. 1, 11, 12f, al.; Appian, Syr. 50 §252f, Mithrid. 106 §498, Bell. Civ. 2, 90 §380; Artem. 4, 24 p. 217, 13; Diog. L. 1, 9; OGI 73, 4; 74, 3; 726, 8; CIG 3418; CB I/2, 538 no. 399b τ. νόμον τῶν Εἰουδέων [on . in ins s. RKraemer, HTR 82, ’89, 35–53]; Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 55; 56 [both III b.c.]; 57 [II b.c.]; BGU 1079, 25 [41 a.d.]; PFay 123, 16 [100 a.d.]; POxy 1189, 9; LXX; TestSol; AscIs 2:7; EpArist; SibOr; Philo, Joseph., Ar., Just., Tat. For a variety of synonyms s. Schürer III 87–91.). Gener. as description of ‘one who identifies with beliefs, rites, and customs of adherents of Israel’s Mosaic and prophetic tradition’ (the standard term in the Mishnah is ‘Israelite’). (Since the term ‘Judaism’ suggests a monolithic entity that fails to take account of the many varieties of thought and social expression associated with such adherents, the calque or loanword ‘Judean’ is used in this and other entries where . is treated. Complicating the semantic problem is the existence side by side of persons who had genealogy on their side and those who became proselytes [on the latter cp. Cass. Dio 37, 17, 1; 67, 14, 2; 68, 1, 2]; also of adherents of Moses who recognized Jesus as Messiah [s. Gal 2:13 in 2d below; s. also 2eα] and those who did not do so. Incalculable harm has been caused by simply glossing . with ‘Jew’, for many readers or auditors of Bible translations do not practice the historical judgment necessary to distinguish between circumstances and events of an ancient time and contemporary ethnic-religious-social realities, with the result that anti-Judaism in the modern sense of the term is needlessly fostered through biblical texts.)

pert. to being Judean (Jewish), with focus on adherence to Mosaic tradition, Judean, as a real adj. (Philo, In Flacc. 29; Jos., Ant. 10, 265) ἀνὴρ Ἰ. (1 Macc 2:23; 14:33) Judean Ac 10:28; 22:3. ἄνθρωπος 21:39. ἀρχιερεύς 19:14. ψευδοπροφήτης 13:6. ἐξορκισταί 19:13. γυνή (Jos., Ant. 11, 185) 16:1. χώρα Mk 1:5.—But γῆ J 3:22 is to be taken of Judea in the narrower sense (s. Ἰουδαία 1), and means the Judean countryside in contrast to the capital city. Of Drusilla, described as οὔσα Ἰουδαία being Judean or Jewish, but for the view that . is here a noun s. 2b.
one who is Judean (Jewish), with focus on adherence to Mosaic tradition, a Judean, Ἰουδαῖος as noun (so predom.). Since Jerusalem sets the standard for fidelity to Israel’s tradition, and since Jerusalem is located in Judea, . frequently suggests conformity to Israel’s ancestral belief and practice. In turn, the geographical name provided outsiders with a term that applied to all, including followers of Jesus, who practiced customs variously associated with Judea (note the Roman perception Ac 18:15 [‘Judeans’ at Corinth]; 23:28).
(ὁ) Ἰ. Judean (w. respect to birth, nationality, or cult) J 3:25; (Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 57, 5 [II b.c.] παρ’ Ἰουδαίου=from a Judean) 4:9; 18:35; Ac 18:2, 24; 19:34; Ro 1:16; 2:9f, 17, 28f (on the ‘genuine’ Judean cp. Epict. 2, 9, 20f τῷ ὄντι Ἰουδαῖος λόγῳ μὲν Ἰουδαῖοι, ἔργῳ δ’ ἄλλο τι); 10:12; Gal 2:14; 3:28; Col 3:11.—Collective sing. (Thu. 6, 78, 1 ὁ Ἀθηναῖος, ὁ Συρακόσιος; EpArist 13 ὁ Πέρσης; B-D-F §139; Rob. 408) Ro 3:1.
of Drusilla οὔσα Ἰουδαία being a Judean Ac 24:24, but for the simple adjectival sense s. 1 end.
(οἱ) Ἰουδαῖοι (on the use of the art. B-D-F §262, 1; 3) the Judeans οἱ Φαρισαῖοι κ. πάντες οἱ Ἰ. Mk 7:3; τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰ. J 2:13; cp. 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰ. (Appian, Mithrid. 117 §573 Ἰουδαίων βασιλεὺς Ἀριστόβουλος) Mt 2:2; 27:11, 29 (in these three last pass., . is used by non-Israelites; Mt’s preferred term is Ἰσραήλ); Mk 15:2 and oft. πόλις τῶν Ἰ. Lk 23:51; ἔθνος τῶν Ἰ. Ac 10:22; λαὸς τῶν Ἰ. 12:11. χώρα τῶν Ἰ. 10:39 (Just., A I, 34, 2; cp. A I, 32, 4 ἡ γῆ Ἰουδαίων). ἄρχων τῶν Ἰ. J 3:1; συναγωγὴ τῶν Ἰ. Ac 14:1a. Cp. J 2:6; 4:22; 18:20. Ἰ. καὶ Ἕλληνες (on the combination of the two words s. B-D-F §444, 2: w. τε καί) Judeans and Hellenes Ac 14:1b; 18:4; 19:10; 20:21; 1 Cor 1:24; 10:32; 12:13; PtK 2 p. 15, 7; ἔθνη τε καὶ Ἰ.=non-Judeans and Judeans Ac 14:5; cp. ISm 1:2. Ἰ. τε καὶ προσήλυτοι Judeans and proselytes Ac 2:11; cp. 13:43; οἱ κατὰ τὰ ἔθνη Ἰ. the Judeans who live among the nations (in the Diaspora) 21:21. Judeans and non-Judeans as persecutors of Christians MPol 12:2; cp. also 13:1; 17:2; 18:1; 1 Th 2:14 (Polytheists, Jews, and Christians Ar. 2, 1).—Dg 1.—Without the art. (cp. 19:3 φαρισαῖοι) Mt 28:15, suggesting that not all ‘Judeans’ are meant, and without ref. to Israel, or Jews, as an entity.
a Mosaic adherent who identifies with Jesus Christ Judean Gal 2:13; cp. Ac 21:20 and eα below. On Rv 2:9; 3:9 s. Mussies 195.
in J Ἰουδαῖοι or ‘Judeans’ for the most part (for exceptions s. a and c) constitute two groups
α. those who in various degrees identify with Jesus and his teaching J 8:52; 10:19–21; 11:45; 12:11 al.
β. those who are in opposition to Jesus, with special focus on hostility emanating from leaders in Jerusalem, center of Israelite belief and cult; there is no indication that John uses the term in the general ethnic sense suggested in modern use of the word ‘Jew’, which covers diversities of belief and practice that were not envisaged by biblical writers, who concern themselves with intra-Judean (intra-Israelite) differences and conflicts: 1:19; 2:18, 20; 5:10, 15f; 6:41, 52 (a debate); 7:1, 11, 13; 9:18, 22; 10:24, 31, 33 (in contrast to the πολλοί from ‘beyond the Jordan’, 10:40–42, who are certainly Israelites) 11:8; 13:33; 18:14. S. Hdb. exc. on J 1:19 and, fr. another viewpoint, JBelser, TQ 84, 1902, 265ff; WLütgert, Heinrici Festschr. 1914, 147ff, Schlatter Festschr. 1922, 137–48; GBoccaccini, Multiple Judaisms: BRev XI/1 ’95, 38–41, 46.—J 18:20 affirms that Jesus did not engage in sectarian activity. Further on anti-Judean feeling in J, s. EGraesser, NTS 11, ’64, 74–90; DHare, RSR, July, ’76, 15–22 (lit.); Hdb. exc. on J 1:19; BHHW II 906–11, 901f, 905.—LFeldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World ’93.—MLowe, Who Were the Ἰουδαῖοι?: NovT 18, ’76, 101–30; idem Ἰουδαῖοι of the Apocrypha [NT]: NovT 23, ’81, 56–90; UvonWahlde, The Johannine ‘Jews’—A Critical Survey: NTS 28, ’82, 33–60; JAshton, ibid. 27, ’85, 40–75 (J).—For impact of Ἰουδαῖοι on gentiles s. ESmallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule fr. Pompey to Diocletian ’81; SCohen, Crossing the Boundary and Becoming a Jew: HTR 82, ’89, 13–33; PvanderHorst, NedTTs 43, ’89, 106–21 (c. 200 a.d.); PSchäfer, Judeophobia, Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World ’97.—On the whole word s. Ἱσραήλ end. For Ἰουδαῖοι in ins s. SEG XXXIX, 1839. M-M. EDNT. TW.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

God, Atemporality, and Classical Theism

While I understand that there are various ways of delineating God's supposed atemporality, the theologians with whom I have interacted in writing formulate their theories of divine atemporality in terms of timelessness. Allow me to review some of these theories.

"Let them see than [sic] that there can be no time apart from creation, and let them cease to talk such nonsense. Let them stretch forth to the things that are before, and let them realize that before all times You are the Eternal Creator of all times, and that no times are co-eternal with You, nor is any creature, even if there were a creature above time" (Augustine, Confessiones 11.XXX).

"Thou wast not, then, yesterday, nor wilt thou be tomorrow; but yesterday and today and tomorrow thou art; or, rather, neither yesterday, nor today nor tomorrow thou art; but, simply, thou art, outside all time. For yesterday and today and tomorrow have no existence, except in time; but thou, although nothing exists without thee, nevertheless dost not exist in space and time, but all things exist in thee" (Anselm, quoted in Stephen T. Davis' Logic and the Nature of God, p. 9).

THomas Aquinas makes this affirmation about God and time: "For time, as is made clear in Physics IV [11], is 'the number of motion.' But God, as has been proved, is absolutely without motion, and is consequently not measured by time. There is, therefore, no before and after in Him; He does not have being after non-being, nor non-being after being, nor can any succession be found in His being. For none of these characteristics can be understood without time. God, therefore, is without beginning and end, having His whole being at once. In this consists the nature of eternity" (Summa Contra Gentiles 1.15.3).

Paul Helm wrote Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time. William Lane Craig critiques the book at

In part, he states concerning Helm's work:

"Writing in the spirit of Jonathan Edwards, Helm provides a philosophical defense of the coherence and plausibility of the view that God is a timeless, omniscient being whose existence is logically inconsistent with libertarian freedom in any of His creatures. As the title of the book suggests, the fulcrum of Helm's case is his defense of divine timelessness."

There are plenty of other sources that I could quote to substantiate my understanding of divine atemporality. However, my view is that possibly, a temporal mode of existence is the only mode of existence, for God and creatures. I'm trying to work out this idea in my mind, but I'm inclined to see this as possible at the moment. I will be reading more Ryan Mullins in the near future.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Luke 1:49: Mostly Syntax and Some Semantics

Greek (THGNT): ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός· καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ·

Martin M. Culy, Mikeal C. Parsons, and Joshua J. Stigall (Baylor Greek Handbook for Luke, pages 43-44 ):

ὅτι. Introduces a causal clause.
ἐποίησέν. Aor act ind 3rd sg ποιέω. On the second accent, see
1:13 on ἡ δέησίς.
μοι. Dative of advantage. On the word order, see 1:2 on ἡμῖν.
μεγάλα. The anarthrous substantival adjective functions as the accusative direct object of ἐποίησέν.

ὁ δυνατός. Nominative subject of ἐποίησέν.
καὶ. It is unclear whether the conjunction introduces the second of three conjoined clauses that together form a compound ὅτι clause (which would require changing the period after δυνατός to a comma), or it serves to introduce a new main clause. Given the semantics of this clause, ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, it seems less likely that it is part of a large causal construction (thus the translation).
ἅγιον. Predicate adjective of a verbless equative clause.
τὸ ὄνομα. Nominative subject of a verbless equative clause.
αὐτοῦ. Possessive genitive.

"ἐποίησέν aor. ποιέω. μεγάλα neut. pl. of μέγας. δυνατός powerful,
ὁ δυνατός the Almighty. καὶ co-ord. "and" instead of rel. prn "whose" sec.455epsilon."

Rogers and Rogers: "ἐποίησέν aor. ind. act. s. v. 25. μοι dat. sing. ἐγώ I. Dat. of
advantage, or personal interest."

Joseph Fitzmyer (Anchor Bible Gospel of Luke, page 367):
"for he who is mighty. This is the second reason for Mary's praise. Literally, it runs, 'for the Mighty One' (ho dynatos), a title used of Yahweh in the LXX of Zeph 3:17; Ps 89:9. The name of God is no longer used; instead there is a title recalling his exalted power, by which he has done great things for Mary-given her both a child who will be the Savior, Lord, and Messiah and a chance to express her faith in him."

Louw-Nida 74.3:
ὁ δυνατός: (derivative of δυνατόςb ‘able, can,’ 74.2; a title for God, literally ‘the one who is able’) one who is capable of doing anything - ‘the Mighty One, Mighty God, the Almighty.’ ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός ‘because the Mighty One has done great things for me’ Lk 1.49.

δυνατός, ή, όν (Pind., Hdt.+; loanw. in rabb.). pert. to being capable or competent

in general sense, able, capable, powerful of beings and their attributes, esp. political power or influence
α. of transcendent beings: God (Plut., Numa 65 [9, 2]; IG XII, 8, 74; ILydiaKP [s. δύναμις 5] no. 224 p. 117; Ps 23:8; 44:4, 6; Ps.-Phocyl. 54; EpArist 139; Just., D. 129, 1) D 10:4. God as ὁ δ. (Ps 119:4; Zeph 3:17) Lk 1:49. Of angelic beings Hs 9, 4, 1.
β. of humans: prominent people (Thu. 1, 89, 3; X., Cyr. 5, 4, 1; Polyb. 9, 23, 4; oft. LXX; Philo, Mos. 1, 49; Jos., Bell. 1, 242 Ἰουδαίων οἱ δυνατοί; Just., A I, 14, 4 δ. βασιλέων) Ac 25:5; 1 Cor 1:26; Rv 6:15 t.r. (Erasmian rdg.; s. RBorger, TRu 52, ’87, 57). Of pers. gener. (PsSol 5:3) δ. εἰμι I am empowered 2 Cor 12:10; 13:9; ἄνδρες λίαν καλοὶ καὶ δ. very handsome and powerful men Hs 9, 3, 1. Of women, fig. for virtues 9, 15, 3. Of faith w. ἰσχυρά Hm 9:10. Of the spirit 11:21.

Monday, July 05, 2021

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Most works are in German/Greek.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

1 Corinthians 11:3--To Whom Does ὁ ἀνήρ Refer?

Greek (WH): Θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ὅτι παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἡ κεφαλὴ ὁ χριστός ἐστιν, κεφαλὴ δὲ γυναικὸς ὁ ἀνήρ, κεφαλὴ δὲ τοῦ χριστοῦ ὁ θεός.

ESV: "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."

NET: "But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ."

NABRE: "But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ."

NWT 2013: "But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God."

David Bentley Hart: 
 "But I want you to know that every man’s head is the Anointed, and a wife’s head the husband, and the Anointed’s head God."

NIV:  "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."

Both the ESV and NET point out that γυναικὸς ὁ ἀνήρ possibly refers to a wife and husband rather than just any man and woman: they inform us that context must be taken into consideration. The NABRE obviously thinks Paul is discussing the husband and wife relationship in this context and that Bible comments on the hierarchical structure potentially mentioned in 1 Cor. 11:3. NWT sticks with "woman" and man here but is likely aware of the contextual nuances for "man" and "woman" in the GNT.

Mark Taylor (NA Commentary on 1 Corinthians):  "The Greek terms are νήρ and γυνή, which the NRSV translates 'husband' and 'wife' in 11:3 but as 'man'/'woman' in the rest of the passage. Blomberg (1 Corinthians, 209) notes that in every other place in Paul where the terms are paired the reference is to husband and wife with the possible exception of 1 Tim 2:8–15. Winter submits that the very notion of a veil 'would automatically indicate to the Corinthians that the females under discussion in this passage were married.' B. W. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 127. D. E. Garland argues for the generic 'man' and 'woman,' since women other than wives could pray and prophesy (1 Corinthians, BECNT [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003], 514).

Brian S. Rosner and Roy E. Ciampa (First Corinthians, PNTC): "It is not clear whether Paul has men and women in general in mind in these verses, or husbands and wives in particular. When the words for men/husbands and women/wives are found together and discuss the relationships between one and the other, usually husband-and wife relationships are being discussed, and that is probably Paul’s primary concern here, even though the dynamics of the marriage relationship in his context reflected (and influenced) the broader issue of how men and women were expected to relate within society."