Sunday, 23 September 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twenty

Hi, Everbody!

Sunday:


8 June 14

Dear Troy and Mia Thompson and David and Marie Birdsong:

It looks as if I was a little premature in saying that this week (and next week and the week after that) I would be discussing Job 38-41.  Should definitely have appended a "God willing" to that. 

In the interim, Friday, I got a letter from David Birdsong of Nashville, TN who wrote:

Speaking of the Word something happened when I was reading Ezekiel.  The entire book is full of "Lord" and "Lord God".  Then in chapter 28, the "Lord" is dropped, especially in verse 13 that begins "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God;…"

It was almost a "something fell" moment.  I have been seeing the God versus Lord parts of the Old Testament more and more these days.  I attend a Christian church, but I'm not sure I want to openly discuss how my theology is taking shape to everyone I worship with.  I believe that every person should read and study and draw their own conclusions.  I wonder if you have considered writing more commentaries at some point.  They are very thought provoking.  Your commentaries and Robert Alter's have been very helpful as I slow my pace down and actually study the Scriptures instead of just reading them.  Pastor Yates from the Nashville Cowboy Church is another wonderful teacher because he has an uncanny ability to take even the most familiar sections of the Bible and look at them in a way that no one has ever thought of before.  Maybe I should ask him to write a Biblical commentary as well.  He is only 70, plenty of time.

All right you three, git busy edumacatin' me.

Of course, David had no way of knowing that I've been writing to you, Troy and Mia, since December of '12 as an extension of your kind sponsorship and hospitality of that year's American Thanksgiving week in wanting to get my religious opinions on videotape. 

So I burned all of these current letters on THE GENESIS QUESTION onto a disk and mailed them to him.  If you're interested, David, I'll be glad to send you the 337 pages of letters to Pastor John Burke -- Troy and Mia's pastor -- about his book SOUL REVOLUTION.  They're all just my opinions .  I never heard back from -- and never really expected to hear back from -- Pastor Burke.  Troy wanted the two of us to meet and to videotape our discussion, which he did.  That didn't seem quite enough of a response to Troy's generosity, so that was when I decided to write the letters as part of my Sabbath observance. 

I'm very aware of the "comfort level" involved in any good Christian -- or Jew or Muslim -- discussing or even reading my theories on God and YHWH, which is why -- apart from Troy and Mia's sponsorship and in private correspondence -- I haven't made a great point of it.  My basic assumption is that it is only something that will be discussed long after I'm dead -- unless God wills otherwise. 

I was going to leave it at that and just pick up with my commentaries on Job -- as promised -- when, as it turns out, this morning's reading from the Torah turned out to be the last chapter of Jeremiah and the first nine chapters of Ezekiel.  You could call it coincidence, but -- where God is involved -- I think it's better to err on the side of calling it synchronicity.

My overall  response to Ezekiel is that it is a very edifying book.  In many ways more edifying (for me) than Isaiah and Jeremiah which are more well-regarded.  I only noticed this a couple of readings ago. 

Prior to that time, the first chapter of Ezekiel tended to overwhelm the rest of the book, for me, primarily because of the first chapter's association with CHARIOTS OF THE GODS, Erik Van Danekin (sp?)'s series of 1970s bestsellers which suggested that much Scripture and much pagan literature appeared to actually document UFO visitations and the inadequacy of then-current language to find a way to describe advanced technologies. 

The first chapter is still pretty overwhelming in that sense. 

But I tend to think that what it describes is, not so much UFO visitations (although I can't rule that out), as future technologies which will incorporate living tissue into machinery particularly as regards the development of weaponry.  Revelation 9:17-19, I think, reflects the same reality (the point of which, to me, is that this will be the most advanced scientific destructive power ever created by men that will kill a third of the earth's population but -- when compared with the fullness of consequences of The Last Day -- really only warrants three verses substantially before the mid-point of events).

As I was reading Ezekiel aloud this morning, I came to a point where it was time to turn the page. Which point was in the middle of verse 6 of chapter 5 where Lord GOD is commenting on Jerusalem and saying "And she hath changed my judgements into wickedness more than the nations…" And as I tried to turn the page, that page and the next stuck together.  And I tried to unstick them and it was one of those times where it just wasn't happening.  They wouldn't come unstuck no matter whether I tried to slide or shift of peel off the next page.  Finally, the pages did separate…

and in that exact instance a millipede about an inch long suddenly appeared scuttling away from me across the carpet.  I used to get one of those about every day or two in the summer but so far there have been very few this year.  I grabbed a post-it note and was "on it" in two steps.  But, weirdly, it took three or four "strikes" before I actually got the thing. 

That was, I think, when I decided that maybe I would leave Job 38-41 for another time and concentrate on Ezekiel this week instead. 

I'm enclosing the entry for The Book of Ezekiel from my NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY which condenses a lot of information and "best current theories" into two pages.  I won't try to paraphrase or condense the material, but leave it up to all of you to decide what you yourselves see there. 

My own assessment is that the treatment of the Book of Ezekiel is comparable to the treatment of the Gospel of John -- and Revelations -- when it came to both being established as canonical.

MY explanation of that is that it is the direct result of all three books -- which resemble each other distinctly -- being the unimpeded (or, perhaps, the less impeded) Word of God and, consequently, always "suspect" by religious authorities, steeped as those authorities tend to be in YHWHistic ideologies.  Not something that God can't work around, but worth, I think, calling attention to.  There are very few books in that category which, historically, bounced back and forth between canonical and non-canonical and are subject to such a myriad of interpretations before landing on their theological feet after a considerable length of time. And then still being more "suspect" than most Scripture even by the devout.  Very few Christian churches in our Feel Good era are going to preach a Sunday morning sermon from Revelations.

The first thing that I noticed in reading the first nine chapters this morning is what I think (I'd have to check) is an idiosyncratic-to-Ezekiel-only spelling of Lord God:  Lord GOD as opposed to LORD God.  Which makes sense to me.  As I tend to put it: God is your Lord, but the Lord is not your God.  This spelling seems to reinforce that. 

The first two verses of the first chapter Ezekiel says that the -- unnamed -- narrator saw "visions of God". 

Then in verse 3 it says "The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the Priest…and the hand of the Lord was there upon him".  So, to me, this is the YHWH (LORD) and the hand of God (Lord) expressing the primary participants.

(God is often expressed in terms of a hand only.  The "finger of God" in the creation of the lice in Exodus, the emergence of Zarah as opposed to Pharez in Genesis 38:29-30, etc.) 

It isn't until verse 24, as Ezekiel (or the unnamed narrator, not necessarily the same being) labours to describe the extraordinarily loud and powerful "living creatures"    
that there is a reference to the "voice of the Almighty", the Name suggesting God but it doesn't specifically SAY God. 

Verse 26-8

And above the firmament that over their heads the likeness of a Throne, as the appearance of a Sapphire stone and upon the likeness of the Throne the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it: from the appearance of his loins even upward and from the appearance of his loins even downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire & it brightness round about.  As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so the appearance of the brightness round about . This the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD

A Throne that looks like a precious stone and fire and brightness and a rainbow.  To me? Three guesses who this is and the first two don't count.

Chapter 2 verse 4

For they hard of face children and stiff hearted: I do send thee unto them and thou shalt say unto them Thus saith the Lord GOD. 

First example of the new spelling.  I suspect what we're reading is the meeting place between YHWH and God.  God has "issues" with YHWH, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't, in the main, agree with YHWH about Israel "that backsliding heifer".  Israel and Jerusalem are enactments, incarnations of the Larger Context of God's relationship with His creation, the YHWH.  The more the YHWH indicts Israel and Judah and Jerusalem the more the YHWH indicts his/her/its self, as I read it.  Which, also as I read it, is the point of the process. 

We can see this, I think, in Chapter three verse 7:

But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are stiff of forehead and hard of heart.

For the YHWH, it's a specific problem of rebellion against he/she/it.  For God, it's a more general condition of rebellion -- at all levels -- against Him.  And this is the only way to work through it.  To get ALL of his creations to recognize their own nature and, by indicting others, to indict themselves.  "First you have to admit that you have a problem…"  YHWH, like man, unless you work on it VERY hard is "stiff of forehead and hard of heart".

God, as I read it, continues in verse 11:

And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto thy people, and speak unto them and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

The YHWH, as I read it, chimes in in verse 12:

Then the spirit took me up and I heard behind me a voice of great rushing, Blessed the glory of the YHWH from his place.

Basically, "you tell 'em!"  from the YHWH deep within the earth.  And, at that point, as I read it, the YHWH is directing operations.  God actually moves Ezekiel, but at the YHWH's direction.  Which is why Ezekiel ends up "astonished among them seven days" in the captivity at Tel-abib.  The YHWH has missed the point.  This is the best you can do in terms of pointing out how wicked they've become?  These are just captives, mostly regular folks.  The YHWH finally "gets it" -- or stops pretending that he/she/it doesn't "get it" -- in verses 17-26.  But proposes to make Ezekiel mute --

I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they a rebellious house.

Which doesn't make sense.  The whole point is "reproving" them BECAUSE "they a rebellious house".  But the YHWH has "smelled a rat" and realizes that any reproving of Israel or Jerusalem also involves the reproving -- and, much worse, from the YHWH's perspective -- the self-reproving of the YHWH by the YHWH.

Which is when God provides the correction in the last verse of chapter 3:

But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD, He that heareth, let him hear, and he that forbeareth, let him forbear, for they a rebellious house.

Basically, picking up from the previous Lord GOD thought in verse 11.  Verses 11 and 27 are God. The only qualification that God has added is "hearing" or "forbearing" which, presumably, includes the YHWH.  "If you don't want to hear the indictment and take it personally -- which you SHOULD do and which you KNOW you should do -- that's fine. Choose to 'forbear' for now. But don't try to silence Ezekiel from delivering the indictment itself. That's not an option."

The rest of the chapter are the YHWH and his/her/its various "brightness and fire round about a spiffy Throne" digressions and attempted evasions -- basically of the fact that the "rebellious house" has a single point of origin.  Not naming any names.

Chapter 4, I read as further attempted evasions on the part of the YHWH.  Basically setting what is an arduous set of tasks before Ezekiel, lying on his left side for more than a year to bear the iniquities of Israel and then lying on his right side for forty days to bear the iniquities of Judah, all with a a very sparse diet and very little water.  This through verse 11.  And you can almost see the YHWH's frustration that there is no resistance on Ezekiel's part.  So far as Ezekiel knows, God is telling him to do these things, so Ezekiel is just thinking, Okay, this is what I have to do.  So the YHWH attempts to dissuade Ezekiel -- basically incite Ezekiel into his own rebellion -- by adding

And thou shalt eat it barley cakes, & thou shalt bake it with dung that commeth out of man in their sight. 

And Ezekiel does voice an objection, but his objection is based in Judaic dietary law rooted in the Law of Moshe and his objection -- notably -- is addressed to Lord GOD,

Then said I, Ah Lord GOD, behold my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now, have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces, neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. 

And God answers:

Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.

That is, as I read it, the YHWH is not going to get off on a technicality: painting Ezekiel as disobedient, and so, no different from the YHWH in being disobedient.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  You either eat the excrement of a man and are disobedient of dietary laws in doing so or you don't eat the excrement of a man and are disobedient of a direct order from God.  What the YHWH fails to see is that Ezekiel was chosen, specifically, for this purpose:  because there would be no way to dissuade him once embarked upon a course of reproving Israel, and the YHWH by direct implication. 

But IS it God who answers? 

Or is the "he" referred to still the YHWH? 

That's one of those multi-levelled "damned if you do, damned if you don't" questions, as I read it -- extending even to HOW one reads it. Was what was at stake important enough to God that He so needed Ezekiel's unquestioning -- and unquestioned -- obedience in the face of the YHWH's attempted "stumbling blocks" to the extent of allowing Ezekiel to be instructed to mix his bread with cow's dung?  Or is believing that a blasphemous idea?  Is even allowing for that construction blasphemous?  How can you believe that God would do that?  It's a theological hall of mirrors which reflects Ezekiel's own choice.  You could certainly argue that mixing cow's dung with your bread is "less abominable" than mixing man's dung with your bread.  But I have trouble believing that Ezekiel was untroubled by the instruction even as revised. As I'm troubled by even inferring from the text what the text appears to be implying.

Chapter 5:1-4, to me, is the YHWH.  This is basically "sympathetic magic" -- making Ezekiel's hair into a metaphorical construct for the Jewish people and for Jerusalem -- and instructing Ezekiel to accomplish the "sympathetic magic" involved and how to do it.  Which, it seems to me, is another YHWHistic stumbling block: Ezekiel can be compelled to commit an act of "sympathetic magic" so long as he thinks it's God telling him to do it. So, it isn't -- technically -- reproving.  Quite the contrary, it's compounding the backsliding by compelling one of God's prophets to backslide himself.  A great destruction is wrought against Israel, Judah and Jerusalem by Ezekiel's actions.  So they get punished for disobeying the YHWH and the YHWH basically gets off scott free. 

That's when God interrupts:

Thus saith the Lord GOD:  This Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries round about her. And she hath changed my judgements into wickedness more than the nations

(You can sort of see why the two pages stuck together here and why pulling them apart produced a little vile-looking insect this morning)

and my statutes more than the countries that round about her: for they have refused my judgements and my statutes, they have not walked in them.  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Because ye multiplied more than the nations that round about you, have not walked in my Statutes, neither have kept my judgements neither have done according to the judgements of the nations that round about you:  Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold I, even I, against thee, and will execute judgements in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.  And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish, neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.  A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee: and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. 

Basically, it's God confirming that this is His will and this will be done -- not as "sympathetic magic" which allows the YHWH to evade indictment, but as the meeting place of judgement between God and YHWH.  It's very matter of fact: God will bring it to pass because the cumulative actions and choices and decisions of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem have warranted it.  But, it's very dispassionate: it's a matter of "the punishment fits the crime".  The crime is large and abominable, so the punishment is large and abominable. 

But, for the YHWH, who then takes up the baton, it isn't dispassionate. 

Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall now that I the YHWH have spoken in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. 

Etc. Etc.  It's an attempted indictment of God -- that God is angry and furious and that God derives comfort from suffering.  It's a self-indictment of the YHWH, to be sure.  But it's a very different thing from the dispassionate administration of justice by an omniscient being.  It IS a meeting place of sorts:  God agrees with and acquiesces in the need for punishment on a Grand Scale, but doesn't do so in anger and in fury, nor does He derive comfort from it.  Except in the sense that in terms of the long-term fulfillment of justice the end will, ultimately, justify the means because the ultimate end -- The Last Day -- will see the administration of justice served upon ALL of God's creations, INCLUDING (and in many ways, specifically) the YHWH which isn't the case with this interim judgement. 

Chapter 6 is almost a complete overlap, with "the word of the YHWH" coming to Ezekiel in verse 1, pronounced by the Lord GOD in verse 3, and continuing with "I, the YHWH" in verses 7 and 10.  The Lord GOD is attributed in verses 11 and 12 and then verse 13 (and presumably verse 14) are attributed to the YHWH.

Chapter 7 follows the same "overlap" pattern.  "The word of the YHWH" comes to Ezekiel in verse 1.  The verdict pronounced in verses 2-4 begins with the Lord GOD and concludes "ye shall know that I, the YHWH".  5-7 are Lord GOD.  I infer that 8-9 are the YHWH because of the references to "fury" and "anger" which I don't see as Godly attributes.  Verses 10-13, I infer, are God -- or Lord GOD -- speaking because again they're matter of fact: cause and consequence.  Verse 14 I infer is the YHWH because of the reference to "wrath".  Verses 15 to 18 are also very matter of fact.  Verse 19 I would attribute to the YHWH because of the reference to "the wrath of the YHWH". 

Verse 20, I think is YHWH commenting on God's interruption/observation/defence of Jerusalem stated in 5:5, "This Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries round about her":

As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations, of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set if far from them.

This comes to unhappy fruition in Chapter 8, which -- God willing -- I'll discuss next week.

Best,
  
Dave   


Don't forget: Comics Link.

Next Time: I dunno, I'm writing ahead. Sumthin'.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

I'm a man of my word... ("A really GOOD trick")

Hi, Everybody!

First, Comics Link. I got all the Auctions in one link, you're welcome.

Second, Michael Hunt asked what's going on re: comicsgate. Quite simply, I subscribe to what Harlan Ellison said: "You're not entitled to an opinion, you're entitled to an INFORMED opinion!" And since I haven't found the time to fully inform myself about the doings of comicsgate or EVS yet, I haven't contacted Dave about it. I'm gonna try to do that tonight and tomorrow. Monday's post should hopefully be what I'm sending Dave, and then we'll all wait for a reply. I apologize if that's frustrating to anybody, but you could just skip the middle man (me) and go directly to Dave. 519-576-0610, 519-576-0955 (that's the fax number), or Box 1674 Station C Kitchener, Ontario Canada N2G 4R2.

Third, yesterday I said the today would be "Boobies." And damn it, I'm a man of my word:


Next Time: Sunday. So, Genesis Question commentary (I've got these Sunday posts "in the can" until like, February of next year.)

Friday, 21 September 2018

Crisis? What Crisis? (Dave's Weekly Update #253)

Hi, Everybody!

Before we get to the insanity, everybody at A Moment of Cerebus, so...me, would like to take a moment (heh.) to wish contributor and CerebusFanGirl, Margaret Liss a Happy Birthday! So, everybody sing the first two bars of "Happy Birthday To You" and then stop, or else we'll have to pay the licensing fees. I dunno how old she is, because it's not polite to ask a lady her age, and I've also seen photos of her holding assault weapons, so I ain't risking it...

Friend to the Blog and Usual Suspect, Steve Peters is doing a Kickstarter to restore his Rabbit Hell Digest books, (which celebrated it's 27th anniversary on August 17th.) The first one was issues 1 and 2. Now he's doing 3 and 4. The Kickstatrter ends in 9 days, and he's only looking for another hundred and seventy-five bucks, so maybe skip your choca-mocha b*llsh*t at Starbucks for a week and help a brudda out.

Anyway,

Heeeeeere's Dave:



Alright, Comics Link. I got all the Auctions in one link, you're welcome.

Next Time: Boobies. Or,ya know, not...

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Oscar's Cigarettes

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

The last time we looked at Dave Sim's fifteen Cerebus notebook was in April of 2017's Rick in a Can. Cerebus #118 to 122 are covered in the notebook's 98 scanned pages.

Looking through the pages, one jumped out at me.

Notebook #15, page 52
All that text at the top of the page - It is the Jaka panels that run along the top of pages 12 through 16 of Cerebus #120. On the bottom of those pages is Rick and Oscar talking. The actions don't all match up to the finished panels, but they are pretty dang close. Right down to the 'click clack' as Jaka opens the door from their bedroom to the main room.

Then where the circled 17 is with the 'click clack' is when Rick opens the main door out, and then the rest of the dialogue is between Jaka and Rick. I think the sketch of Jaka is of her rubbing her head after Rick hit her  with the door:

Cerebus #120, page 17 (aka Jaka's Story page 149)
To the left are what appears to be sketches of rain.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

BECAUSE JEFF DEMANDED IT! PART TWO!


Benjamin Hobbs:

Last week, Jeff wrote in the comments:

"Aww. Man! I been robbed!! Four damn weeks, I been waitin' fer this, gettin' tickled and teased at least once a week, sometimes twice, and *this* is what I get?!?

"Geez!"


Well, don't say I never give you anything Jeff! Here is an AMOC EXCLUSIVE CIH? STRIP!

It's so fresh, not even DAVE SIM himself has seen it!

 Well, he MAY have seen it by the time you're reading this. Faxes are slower than email, but not that much slower.


Next Week: A plug for CRISIS OF INFINITE CEREBI #1...ON SALE NEXT WEEK AT YOUR LCS!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

By Request: Effort For A

Hi, Everybody!

I've said it before, and I say it again, "What ever Dave wants, he gets."

Effort For A:
If you click them, they will get bigger...







Next Time: Now somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota,
There lived a young boy named Benjamin Hobbs,
And one day his woman ran off with another guy,
Hit young Ben in the eye,
Ben didn't like that,
He said I'm gonna get that boy,
So one day he walked into town booked himself a room in the local saloon...

Monday, 17 September 2018

Ya'll want a Cerebus #1?

Hi, Everybody!

AMOC's new friend Steven Swenson sent in:
First auction ended Sunday, pulling in a hefty $1323 ungraded; same seller had other early issues.

Second copy ends in a few days, a really nice looking copy!
So if you want a Cerebus #1, you got a few hours to rob a liquor store, or something...

Next Time: I'll probably post something else later today...  

Sunday, 16 September 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part nineteen

Hi, Everybody!

Sunday: Dave. Genesis Question:


1 June 14

Hi Troy and Mia!

I have to admit that I had never heard of the "gap theory" before reading Mr. Ross' book.  He writes:

The "gap theory" proposes that the beautiful universe and Earth God created "in the beginning" somehow became ruined (the most popular interpretations blame Satan and the rebel angels, or demons) and was later repaired by God as described in the six-day account.  According to this theory, astronomers, geophysicists, palaeontologists and anthropologists are measuring the ancient ruined creation, whereas the Bible addresses the recent, repaired creation.

The gap theory's resolution of the major contradictions between the scientific record and the twenty-four-hour creation days interpretation is one of silence only.  According to this theory, the Bible bears no testimony to natural history, and the record of nature bears no testimony to biblical history.  Thus, it makes a mockery of those Scripture passages commanding us to "test everything" and to look to the creation for evidence of God's existence and character.

On this latter observation, Mr. Ross offers twenty-four Biblical citations in support -- which I will be dutifully plodding through shortly. 

In support of what I'm really not quite sure.

Mr. Ross' assertion that  "the gap theory's resolution…is one of silence only" I'd be tempted to refute-- tongue-in-cheek -- with the  observation that "contradictions between the scientific record and the twenty-four-hour creation days interpretation are implied throughout." 

[On the basis that if the "sauce for the goose" of  "Thermodynamics, electromagnetism and gravity are implied throughout" (one of Mr. Ross' earlier bullet points) then it would seem to me that the "sauce for the gander" of asserting that a contradictory theory is "implied throughout" would have equal validity since, as far as I can see, Genesis 1-3's record on the subject of thermodynamics, electromagnetism and gravity "is one of silence only"]

The "gap theory" has the appearance to me of what I see as a "broken telephone cover story" on the part of the YHWH to explain why there is such a wide divergence between the God Narrative (which I see as consisting of Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-3) and the YHWH God narrative (which I see as consisting of Genesis 2:4-24 and Genesis 3 and 4).

I mean, if you actually read the text, Genesis 1:1-31 consists of a six-day account of the creation of the heaven and the earth, while Genesis 2:4 forward all takes place in a single day according to the text:

These the generations of the heavens & of the earth when they were created: IN THE DAY (singular: emphasis mine) that the YHWH God made the earth and the heavens

So, not only did YHWH God purportedly create both the earth and the heavens in a single day, YHWH God, evidently -- according to Genesis 2:5-6 -- began the creation of the heaven and the earth with…plants and herbs:

And every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field, before it grew: for the YHWH God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there not a man to till the ground.  But there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground

Not to be too jocose about all this, but you start with plants and herbs -- before they grew because YHWH God had not caused it to rain upon the earth (where did the earth come from all of a sudden?) -- and "there not a man to till the ground". 

As Allan Fotheringham used to say "That muddifies the fuzzification nicely". 

You could just add that "thermodynamics, electromagnetism and gravity are implied throughout" and you would have a very nice, tight, iron-clad "single day creation narrative". 

I say that "the gap theory" has a "broken telephone cover story" appearance to it because it would appear to want to serve as a bridge between the two narratives.  But not (I don't think) as Mr. Ross (this is where I see the "broken telephone" aspect) asserts it: his

somehow became ruined (the most popular interpretations blame Satan and the rebel angels, or demons) and was later repaired by God

I don't think was intended at all to refer to the six-day account of Genesis 1 so much as it was intended to explain that the six-day account "documents" the ruined creation of Satan (that is, God as seen from YHWH God's vantage point) which YHWH God then needed to repair, starting with the creation of plants and herbs and mist that rises up from the ground in Genesis 2.    

According to this theory, astronomers, geophysicists, palaeontologists and anthropologists are measuring the ancient ruined creation, whereas the Bible addresses the recent repaired creation

There's a peculiar internal logic there which is usually a property of a "cover story". 

What it does in the context of my own model is to attempt to render God's creation -- the six-day narrative of Genesis 1 -- irrelevant to the discussion.  It is simply declared to be "beside the point" because it was a ruin and a corruption that astronomers, geophysicists, palaeontologists and anthropologists persist in wasting their time in examining.  "Wasting" their time because the YHWH God -- starting with plants and herbs before they were in the ground -- fixed all that.

Okay. On to Mr. Ross' citations

Job 10:8-14:
Thine hands (Hebr.: take pains about me; KJV: have made me) and fashioned me together round about: yet thou doest destroy me.  [9] Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay, and wilt thou bring me into dust again? [10] Hast thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese?  [11] Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast (Hebr.: hedged KJV: fenced) me with bones and sinews.  [12] Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. [13] And these things hast thou hid in thy heart; I know that this with thee.  [14] If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity

Trying to see this from Mr. Ross' perspective, I have trouble seeing how this passage applies to the "gap theory" or his denunciation of it. 

Personally, I would fault Job's reasoning in a few areas here. 

"Yet thou doest destroy me".  Well, my observation would be, if you're able to enunciate the thought then it's premature:  you haven't been destroyed.  You have fallen a long way from where you had been in a materialistic sense and, in a materialistic sense, you are closer to destruction than would be popularly conceived to be otherwise by the general materialistic population.  But "destroyed" for the God-fearing is a very different concept from "destroyed" in the popular materialistic imagination.

"…and wilt thou bring me into dust again?" The short answer would be: depends on what you mean by "me".  If you mean your physical form, yes, that ends up as dust.  If you mean your soul, well, that's up to you.  If you live your life in such a way that your soul doesn't end up as dust then odds are your soul won't end up as dust.  Unless you're hiding something from yourself and attempting to hide it from God.

"Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit"
It certainly seems true to me that God has granted ALL of us "life and favour".  The mere fact of existence and free will presupposes God's undeserved kindness.  If you are alive and you are able to make choices then you have been granted "life and favour".  As to "thy visitation hath preserved my spirit", Job is, arguably, in a different human category where I couldn't comment intelligently on the observation.  I'm aware of God's presence in my life, but not, factually, of any specific "visitation".  My spirit seems to me to be mostly inaccessible to my conscious mind but I've never been aware of a need for it (my spirit) to be preserved.  My assumption is that my spirit is present.  I can corrupt it or improve it depending on my choices but I don't think preservation enters into the discussion.  Job's experience is likely very different from my own.  Although the text identifies the YHWH speaking to Satan in Job 1:9…

(arguably the Larger Context of the Job narrative is YHWH talking to himself, on the one hand as a God "surrogate" and on the other hand in his/her/its actual form as the spirit inhabiting the earth -- "from going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it" as it says in Job 1:7)

…the quote directly refers to God:  "Hast thou set thy heart on my servant Job, that none like him in the earth?  a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?" 

I'm guessing that the experience of "a perfect and an upright man" is going to be different from the rest of us.  Which seems confirmed by:

"and these things hast thou hid in thy heart; I know that this with thee" 

For a God-fearing man to assert something like this this definitively, suggests to me an entirely closer relationship to God that that of the run-of-the-mill believer.  For anyone else it would be blasphemous to suggest that you, as a human being, knew what God had hidden in His heart and to suggest that you know what is "with God". The only way that I could see you "getting away with it" is if God knows it to be irrefutably true. 

Also, presumably Job believes that the YHWH is God, so, arguably he isn't talking about what God has hidden in His heart or what is "with God" but rather what the YHWH has hidden in his heart and what is "with YHWH" which, presumably, God and YHWH also knew.

Job 12:7 "But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee;  and the fowls of the air and they shall tell thee."

I don't think Job intends this in a literal sense.  He doesn't want his interlocutor, Zophar, to actually go and ask the beasts and the fowls.  I think what he is suggesting is that -- just as the beasts and the fowls are of a simple, God-fearing nature, untroubled for the most part by choice and the consequences of it -- so Job has been from his youth.  What Job is saying is that Zophar is counselling him to be exactly as he has been and as he is.  He can't be any more God-fearing and obedient than he has already been and is being. It's as natural to Job as beasts being beasts and birds being birds.

Of course I would argue that Job's misconstruction that YHWH is God is a major part of his problem and it would seem that Zophar is counselling against that:

"But, O that God would speak and open His lips against thee.  And that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that double to that which is: know therefor that God exacteth of thee, then thine iniquity.  Canst thou by searching find out God?  Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?  As (Hebr.: the heights of heaven KJV: as high as heaven) what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know?  The measure thereof longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.    

The KJV interpolates into this:  "know therefor that God exacteth of thee LESS than thine iniquity DESERVETH."  I think it's a lucid thought as is: that God will exacteth of Job as a person and THEN of Job's iniquity.  All have fallen short of the glory of God so the process of "exacting" is always valid.  The purpose is to see what Job chooses to do in reaction to the "exacting".  If his reaction is "iniquitous" he will be punished for that iniquity. 

The overall sense, I think, is that Job is aware of the YHWH and what the YHWH has hidden in his/her/its heart and that Zophar is correct: that that is a very different thing from knowing God in the same sense.

Job 34:14-15  "If He set His heart (Hebr.: upon him KJV: upon man) he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again into dust."

These are the words of Elihu, directed at Job which seem to answer Job's question about being turned into dust again.  I think the more pertinent passages in Elihu's observations occur in Job 34:10-12:

"Therefore hearken unto me, ye (Hebr.: men of heart KJV: men of understanding) far be it from God, wickedness, and from the Almighty, that iniquity. [11] For the work of a man shall He render unto him, and cause every man to find according to ways.  [12] Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgement.

Wickedness is far from God and wickedness is "that iniquity".  It is simply a man's own work that God "render(s) unto him" and "cause(s) every man to find according to ways".  Free will allows for a panoply of decisions, works and ways.  Man finds his own decisions, his own work and his own ways and then God rewards or punishes each of those appropriately. 

It would be difficult for Job to see it that way in his then-present circumstances.  But he has no way of knowing that those circumstances are temporary.  That "neither will be the Almighty pervert judgement".  He might skew it a little for a period of time to make His point, but that's very different from perverting judgment.  What is required is "the patience of Job" that justice will be done. 

This is followed by an interesting, multi-levelled tangential thought in Job 34:13, the lead-in to Mr. Ross' citation:

Who hath given him a charge over the earth?  Or who hath disposed (Hebr.: all of it; KJV the whole world)?

You can infer the text as referring to God ("Who hath given Him a charge over the earth?").  That is, no one appoints God to any position.  Any position God holds He holds by divine right. 

Or you can read it as referring to man.  "Who hath given him (man) a charge over the earth?"  The answer to that would be...God, as documented in Genesis 1:28:

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and REPLENISH THE EARTH, AND SUBDUE IT…"

It seems to me a direct reference, not only to the earth, but especially to the YHWH.  "Who hath disposed all of it?"  Again, it seems to me the answer is God.  God created the YHWH and the earth and God has asserted the disposition of each from the outset.

Mr. Ross' next citation is:

Job 35:10-12  "But none sayeth, Where God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?  [11] Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  [12] There they cry (but none giveth answer) because of the pride of evil men."

This is more the end of one of Elihu's thoughts rather than a self-contained thought, following on from his observation that Job's actions and decisions have no effect on God ("if thou sinnest what doest thou against Him?" and "If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thy hand?").  Which seems to me particularly cogent in the context.  The Koran makes the same point in several places:  a man sins to his own hurt only and is righteous only to his own benefit. God is "rich without us".   The opportunity to choose and behave in ways of our own choosing is part of God's "undeserved kindness".  We haven't been given the opportunity because we deserved the opportunity to advance or retard our own position, but God chose to give it to us anyway.  Just as He made sure that if we chose to turn our backs on Him and to restrict our interests to "the casual fruitions of this world" we get exactly what we choose and chose.  So it's an abomination to suggest that we're in any kind of bargaining position: that God "owes" us anything for our (self-perceived) loyalty or (self-perceived) righteousness.

Only the "pride of evil men" allows them to point and say "There is God, my maker."  He exists but nowhere that you can point at.   

Job 37:5-7  "God thundereth marvellously with His Voice: great things doth He, which we cannot comprehend.  For He sayeth to the snow, Be thou the earth: [Hebr.: and to the shower of rain, and to the showers of rain of His strength KJV: likewise to the small rain and to the great rain of His strength].  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know His work.

I think the point of this passage is implicit in the observation "which we cannot comprehend".  The KJV interpolates "Be thou ON the earth" in reference to the snow.

But, I suspect that the point is that we don't comprehend -- and, I suspect, wouldn't comprehend even if God were to explain it to us -- what it means when God says to the snow, "Be thou the earth" and then when He says the same thing to "the shower of rain and to the showers of rain of His strength".

That only God comprehends the meaning of that: that there is a way of commanding snow so that snow becomes analogous to the earth itself and way of commanding the rain so that the rain becomes analogous to the earth in a different way and that "God's strength" has an analogous quality to both the "shower of rain" that we are aware of and the "showers of rain" that we have no means of comprehending. 

Likewise "He sealeth up the hand of every man, that all men may know His work."  Nothing comes readily to mind when we picture God "sealing up" the hand of every man, so it's only natural that we can't follow the ensuing logic "that all men may know His work".  It is all that "which we cannot comprehend" which is why it is inherently foolish to attempt to second-guess God and His actions.  But, there is a knowledge that we do possess, the knowledge of "His work".  We just don't know HOW we know it.

Next week (and possibly the week after that and the week after that), Mr. Ross' next citation:  Job 38-41

Best,
  
Dave

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