Sunday, November 15, 2015

Philippians 2:6

This scripture has the unfortunate combination of being theologically significant while also being hard to translate. Verses 5-7 in the King James version read as follows:

5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men"

Which implies that Jesus was equal with God.  Yet Jesus himself said: "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28).  Trinitarians wriggle around that in their usual pagan way but it is a pretty blatant contradiction.

And the whole interpretation depends heavily on the meaning of one Greek word: "harpagmon". It is mostly translated as "robbery" but it is a very rare word so firming up the meaning of it is difficult.  I have a list of 7 different translations of it from 7 different Bible scholars.

Thanks to the immense resources for Bible study that American Christians have put online, I was even able to check the translation of "harpagmon" in the Wycliffe Bible, the first translation of the Bible done in a vernacular language -- albeit in Middle English.  Its version is:

"which when he was in the form of God, deemed not raven, that himself were even to God"

But "raven" there is metaphorically equivalent to "robbery" in modern or Early New English so adds nothing to our present enquiries.

And, even more importantly, the KJV/Wycliffe translation "the form of God" above is misleading.  The original Greek is "morphe theou", literally "of god form".  The definite article is not used in the Greek so it is not the central God of the Christians that is being referred to at all.  The text simply says that Jesus was godlike or of divine essence -- "a god", if you like. There are many spirit beings in Heaven so it is implied that Jesus was simply one of them, not the big boss over all.

Even without relying on fine points of Greek grammar, however, it should be clear that when Paul said Jesus was "morphe theos" he was in fact making clear that Jesus was NOT God.  Jesus was simply in the form or shape of a god.  If Paul had wanted to say that Jesus WAS God ("ho theos") there was nothing to stop him.  But he was careful to claim only that Jesus had something in common with God  -- his form or shape, probably meaning only that he was a spirit being.  That Paul did believe in spirit beings we read at some length in 1 Corinthians 15.

Given all that, I think the meaning of the text as a whole is quite clear.  I would translate it as: "who, although being of divine form did not try to hang on to that but [became a man]"

So I translate "harpagmon" as "hang on to", which makes perfect sense of the passage as a whole. I interpret "harpagmon" in context, in other words.  And I am not going far out on a limb in doing that. "something to cling to", "something to hold on to" are used by other translators.  See here.

So there is no contradiction with John 14:28.  The humility of a spirit being becoming flesh is simply being pointed out.


The Leftist lies never stop

The latest Hollywood mythology is entitled “Truth.” But the film is actually a fictionalized story about how CBS News super-anchor Dan Rather and his “60 Minutes” producer supposedly were railroaded by corporate and right-wing interests into resigning.

In reality, an internal investigation by CBS found that Rather and his “60 Minutes” team — just weeks before the 2004 election — had failed to properly vet documents of dubious authenticity asserting that a young George W. Bush had shirked his duty as a Texas Air National Guard pilot.

The fabulist movie comes on the heels of the Benghazi investigations. An email introduced last month at a House Benghazi committee hearing indicated that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — just hours after the attacks on the consulate that left four Americans dead — knew almost immediately that an “al Qaeda-like group” had carried out the killings.

Clinton informed everyone from her own daughter to the Egyptian prime minister that the killings were the work of hard-core terrorists. Yet officially, she knowingly peddled the falsehood that a video maker had caused spontaneous demonstrations that went bad.

Apparently, the truth about Benghazi clashed with the 2012 Barack Obama re-election narrative about the routing of al-Qaeda. For days, Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the president himself likewise sold the fantasy of video-driven killings.

The Black Lives Matter movement grew out of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The protestors' signature slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” evolved from the belief that Brown raised his hands after Wilson had fired the first shot and told the officer, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting” in the seconds before his death.

Yet the Justice Department exonerated Wilson, concluding that Brown was shot after struggling with, and then charging toward, Wilson. Brown, who had allegedly stolen cigars from a liquor store shortly before his encounter with Wilson, neither put up his hands to surrender nor was shot in the back while fleeing, according to the Justice Department report.

Utter disregard for old-fashioned truth is now deeply embedded in contemporary America, largely because it advances a particular agenda. It reminds of an earlier age of politically correct fable, when evidence in the Alger Hiss case and the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case got in the way of ideologically useful mythologies.

In another example of fantasy reinvented as reality, a Texas teen, Ahmed Mohamed, brought a strange contraption with dangling wires to class. He was promptly detained, understandably so in a touchy post-9/11 climate.

Ahmed claimed that he was a young inventor and was just showing off his creation. He became a cause célèbre — an iconic victim of Texas-style anti-Islamic bigotry. President Obama invited him to the White House. Silicon Valley’s zillionaire techies pronounced him a budding genius.

But the bothersome truth again was not so glorious. A number of experts have shown how Ahmed had simply taken out the insides of an old Radio Shack digital clock, put it in a different case with some wires hanging out, and passed it off as some sort of new electronic timepiece.

No matter. The myth of supposed religious and racial bigotry thwarting a young, modern-day Alexander Graham Bell proved more powerful than the banal trick of repackaging a cheap clock.

Subsequent fact-finding does not seem to dispel these untruths. Instead, what could or should have happened must have happened, given that the noble ends of social justice are thought to justify the means deemed necessary to achieve them.

The “60 Minutes” memos about Bush’s Air National Guard service were never authenticated. Everyone now rejects the myth that the Benghazi attack was a result of a video. Investigators proved that Michael Brown was not executed by Officer Wilson. Ahmed was neither a young prodigy nor a victim of bias.

But the legends are created and persist because they further progressive agendas — and the thousands of prestigious and lucrative careers invested in them.

“Noble lies” alter our very language through made-up words and euphemisms. In our world of fable, there can be no such people as “illegal aliens” who broke federal laws by entering the United States. “Workplace violence” is how the Obama administration described the Fort Hood shootings, rather than calling it terrorism. American servicemen who shoot and die in Iraq are not supposed to be called “combat soldiers.”

The enlightened ends of seeking racial and religious tolerance, equality of opportunity and political accountability are never advanced by the illiberal means of lying. What makes this 2016 election so unpredictable are fed-up voters — in other words, Americans who finally are becoming tired of being lied to.



Vladimir Vladimirovich says that defeating ISIS is the first priority

Putin is a realist.  He thinks democracy is not a possibility in the Middle East. You just have a choice of tyrants  -- and ISIS is very clearly the worst tyranny of all.  From a recent speech:

    "I mentioned the situation in Syria and Iraq; they are the same as the situation in Afghanistan, in that they worry all of us. Please allow me to say a few words on the situation in this region, the situation around Syria.

    The state of affairs there is very serious. The so-called Islamic State controls significant stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria. Terrorists are already publicly stating that they have targets set on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Their plans include expanding activities to Europe, Russia, Central and Southeast Asia.

    We are concerned by this, especially since militants undergoing ideological indoctrinations and military training by ISIS come from many nations around the world – including, unfortunately, European nations, the Russian Federation, and many former Soviet republics. And, of course, we are concerned by their possible return to our territories.

    Basic common sense and a sense of responsibility for global and regional security require the international community to join forces against this threat. We need to set aside geopolitical ambitions, leave behind so-called double standards and the policy of direct or indirect use of individual terrorist groups to achieve one’s own opportunistic goals, including changes in undesirable governments and regimes.

    As you know, Russia has proposed rapidly forming a broad coalition to counteract the extremists. It must unite everyone who is prepared to make, or is already making, an input into fighting terrorism, just as Iraq and Syria’s armed forces are doing today. We support the Syrian government – I want to say this – in countering terrorist aggression. We provide and will continue to provide the necessary military technology assistance and urge other nations to join in.

    Clearly, without active participation by the Syrian authorities and military, without participation by the Syrian army, as the soldiers fighting with the Islamic State say, you cannot expel terrorists from this nation, as well as the region overall, it is impossible to protect the multi-ethnic and multi-faith people of Syria from elimination, enslavement and barbarism.

    Of course, it is imperative to think about the political changes in Syria. And we know that President Assad is ready to involve the moderate segment of the opposition, the healthy opposition forces in these processes, in managing the state. But the need to join forces in the fight against terrorism is certainly at the forefront today. Without this, it is impossible to resolve the other urgent and growing problems, including the problem of refugees we are seeing now.

    Incidentally, we are seeing something else: we are currently seeing attempts to practically put the blame on Russia for this problem, for its occurrence. As if the refugee problem grew because Russia supports the legitimate government in Syria.

    First of all, I would like to note that the people of Syria are, first and foremost, fleeing the fighting, which is mostly due to external factors as a result of supplies of arms and other specialized equipment. People are feeling the atrocities of the terrorists. We know that they are committing atrocities there, that they are sacrificing people, destroying cultural monuments as I already mentioned, and so on. They are fleeing the radicals, first and foremost. And if Russia had not supported Syria, the situation in that nation would have been even worse than in Libya, and the flow of refugees would be even greater.

    Second, the support of the legitimate government in Syria is not in any way related to the flow of refugees from nations like Libya, which I already mentioned, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many others. We were not the ones that destabilised the situation in those nations, in whole regions of the world. We did not destroy government institutions there, creating power vacuums that were immediately filled by terrorists. So nobody can say that we were the cause of this problem.

    But right now, as I said, we need to focus on joining forces between the Syrian government, the Kurdish militia, the so-called moderate opposition, and nations in the region to fight the threat against Syria’s very statehood and the fight against terrorism – so that together, with our efforts combined, we can solve this problem."



U.S. Political Reaction To Paris Attacks Split Along Party Lines

In the wake of controversy of any kind — even terrorist attacks, U.S. politics is never far behind.

The American political response — from President Obama to the candidates vying to replace him — in the hours following the Paris attacks have been unsurprisingly split along party lines.

What is interesting, however, is Democrats, who are set to debate Saturday night, have kept their responses generally to thoughts and prayers — with little in the way of policy prescriptions.

That's understandable, given that a Democrat currently controls the White House and the candidates wouldn't want to appear to undermine the current president of their own party, especially on matters of foreign affairs. But they will be pressed on foreign policy and national security as a result of the attacks at the outset of Saturday night's debate, according to a source with knowledge of debate preparations.

Republicans, on the other hand, are issuing lots of policy specifics and ratcheting up rhetoric, intimating that what's being done — and been done in the past seven years by President Obama — to keep the country safe is not enough. They are calling for increased U.S. footprint in the area, including "boots on the ground," a halting of plans to increase the numbers of Syrian refugees to the United States and increasing the role of the NSA in surveillance and intelligence-gathering capabilities.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: