Sunday, 20 May 2018

"T.L.:D.R." The Genesis Question Part four

Hi, Everybody!

Cue Mr. Sim:
1 April 18

Hi Matt!

You must be running out of my Biblical commentaries along about now. So…
23 February 14

Hi Troy & Mia!


"The Beginning"

"Later still, scientists revived the Hindu doctrine of a universe that oscillates for infinite time through cycles of birth, death and rebirth."

Let me belabour this one at some length:

I think this is part of what we're looking at when we look at the Universe As Creation and Creation As The Universe but I think it's a little too "broad strokes" in its nature to really tell us the totality of the construct, conceptually.  What would be the point of birth, death and rebirth enacted finitely over the course of uncountable millennia for their own purpose except purposelessness?  A big fireworks display, basically that lasts for billions of years and then sputters out. 

I think, instead, it's worth considering that the Universe has a very scientific purpose which is to allow God to illustrate His own proofs on a large enough scale to satisfy every question and curiosity.  I suspect that earth-like planets are a big reason for that and that they occur infrequently.  HOW infrequently only God would know for certain but, looking at our own solar system, only around 10% of the time, at best.

(although I would suggest that there's a fourth dimensional aspect to that, as well. That the earth is able to support sentient life only with the sun in its present state and that, arguably, when the sun waxes Mars will be able to support life and when it wanes Venus will be able to support life)

Which I think is more a testimony to the flawed assumptions of God's adversary/adversaries in the construction of our own failed version of the Big Bang.

And the reason for that, I suspect, is the near-perfect balance implied by the creation of water, H2/0.  It seems to me a PART of what God is looking for/demonstrating. In the sense that the sun was a failed experiment because it didn't become the Second Big Bang, I think the earth is a consolation prize -- not Balanced, but "more balanced".

Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. 

Hydrogen, presumably, has an intrinsic nature and oxygen, presumably, has an intrinsic nature.  A planet which formed that consisted of equal parts Hydrogen and oxygen, in the main, (I would theorize) would be the incarnation of an entirely different scientific theory and would incarnate in a different form.  Or it might not incarnate, thus illustrating that hydrogen and oxygen in equal balance isn't a valid construct:  you can't make a planet out of it or, if you can, the resulting planet isn't going to incarnate anything on a smaller scale that will tell you anything. 

Hydrogen Two and Oxygen One does.  The sun wins a cigar for generating that.

Once it gets past the "form and void" chaos stage, once it gets past the dinosaurs, once it gets past the previous epochs which ended disastrously (those documented in Greek myths with its various monsters and hybrids and complete absence of morality), it gets to us.  And we're interesting because we constitute not only a mini-Big Bang -- an explosive profusion of billions of incarnations over a short period of time all in the same space/time context -- we're also AWARE and COMMUNICATIVE. 

My theory is that if you take every human being born into our AWARE and COMMUNICATIVE context, every interaction he and she have and allow that to extend over billions of years (or, I would guess  if you limit the discussion to our epoch that began with Genesis 2, thousands of years, maybe tens of thousands of years) -- "Be fruitful and multiply" -- you increase the odds that somewhere, someone will come up something that an omniscient being -- God -- hadn't considered (or, more to the point, seen illustrated umpty-ump billions of times before in other contexts).  My best guess is that most of our science and philosophy is self-aggrandizing BS and that God knows that that's going to be the near-as-dammit universal result of the experiment even in the "rare earth" context of every once in a multi-trillion tries, a sun producing a planet like us and the planet producing people like us. 

We're like an near-infinite number of chessboards where God and the earth and God and the sun and God and our closest cosmological neighbours get to enact as many questions as the earth and the sun have about the nature of Reality.  Picture billions and billions and billions of "Yes, but, what about…?" questions being posed by us and to each other over the life of our planet.  Either all of which God already knows the answer to or virtually all of which God already knows the answer to.  Some of those questions take, literally, billions of years to answer:  the initial "Yes, but, what about…?" question and each subsequent (billions upon billions) of ancillary questions:  "Yes, but, even given that that's true, what about…?" 

Which is why the Big Bang is such a wonderful creation to contemplate. 

How do You create a big enough blackboard where You can intelligently, definitively answer all of these questions?  How do You avoid the charge that You're skewing the results by saying, "I'm God and I say so.  Trust me, it would take billions of years to explain it to you thoroughly, but in the end you would see that I'm right."  Who could be satisfied with that?  And how could God avoid a glimmering of doubt?  All of the bases covered into the infinite, but enough variables that, well, IS what God is saying invariably True?  Is God skewing the results by asserting Invariable Authority even if the margin of error is microscopically small and only He is aware of how remote the possibility He might have overlooked something?

(Personally, at that point, I opt out of the chess game and grant God's omniscience and my submission to it: prayer, fasting, reading Scripture aloud, observing a Sabbath, etc. It seems silly to do otherwise given the extremely limited scope of human intellect.  God's will be done. )

How, it seems to me, is by making a blackboard/chessboard that You generate but which procreates itself based on its own theories, dividing and merging and multiplying and hurling itself outward on the centrifugal and centripetal energy generated by its own circuitous arguments. Galaxies are pretty impressive until you recognize that they are just very, very large dogs chasing their own tails.

The literal Greek term translated as "grace" is "undeserved kindness" which I think has central application here.  I can't even imagine the time and energy required to create the Big Bang, can't even imagine the time and energy required to basically set up the number of chessboards we see flung across the night sky and the number of chessboards orbiting those chessboards.  And the number of chessboards incarnating on those orbiting chessboards. And then to sit down and actively play each of those games.  "Undeserved kindness" doesn't come close to covering it: 

"Not that you deserve this -- tens of billions of years of My Time and Attention, but, okay.  Let's play some chess." 

If a…species…of progress is being made, still I think we have to be honest enough as God's creations that we look more than a little foolish at this juncture.  I mean, we still call Jupiter Jupiter -- although hopefully we now see that as "Jupiter".  How many centuries did we have to play chess with God before even coming to that pretty transparent conclusion?  "Hmmm. Maybe that 'wandering star' isn't a star at all.  Maybe it isn't the Roman God of Thunder and Lightning. Hmmm." 

Yes, okay. After centuries of playing chess and asserting that there are LOTS of Gods, we are now prepared, in our infinite human wisdom to concede the point, (some of us, most of us, at least partly):  that Jupiter the planet is not actually a God or even a god.  It's just a big bag of dust and gas that has coalesced and is revolving around the sun.  Of course we're still going to keep calling it Jupiter which is both blasphemous and insulting to God, but, hey, what else is undeserved kindness for if it isn't overlooking those kinds of things? 

My assumption is that that's only the beginning, that we (most of us, not me) continue to play chess with God and will continue to play chess with God thinking that at some point we will find a chink in God's Armour.

No, personally, I think the far safer assumption is that each thing we think we come up with that will undermine God and make God flawed in some way will be dealt with at nearly interminable (certainly relative to our lifespans) length and already has been at nearly interminable (certainly relative to their lifespans) on planets that have already existed and vanished in the supernova of their neighbouring star or will exist and vanish in the supernova of their neighbouring star and leave us in the same situation as our belief in "wandering stars" left us as we continued to adhere to it and attempt to find newer and more convoluted theories as to what those "wandering stars" or "Gods" were.

This seems to me closely attuned to the old adage, "Is God powerful enough to create a rock so big that even He can't lift it?"  Only in this case, it's "Is God intellectually powerful enough to create so many chessboards that even He can't play them all and win all the games?"  I think the answer is no, but I also think that the answer is "in order to prove that to be the case, God would need to play all of those chess games and would have to construct a Reality where his opponents had complete autonomy." 

Thus the Big Bang and thus free will.

The "Why?" of creation, of the Big Bang, is central to my own faith so, as I've said, I see the need to belabour the point of "Why?"  as I address Mr. Ross' argument(s).
Which seem to me (at least so far) to be a theological variation on Stephen Hawkings scientific theories: a lot of "What?" but very little "Why?"

As to Mr. Ross's citations early in this chapter:

Psalm 33:6-9 

We're going to be at loggerheads already with a citation from the Psalms of David since, by my reading of the Torah, David wasn't a prophet in the same sense that Saul, his predecessor wasn't a prophet ("Is Saul among the prophets?").  Nathan was THE prophet in proximity to David and corrected David and informed him when he was going to be punished for the matter with Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite.  David was a favourite of the YHWH, God's adversary, for obvious reasons illustrated by Psalm 33:

By the word of the YHWH were the heavens made: and all the host of them, by the breath of his mouth.

It's worth pointing out, I think, that the Psalms are pretty neatly divided into "God Psalms" and "YHWH Psalms" -- Psalms 1-41 and 84-150 are "YHWH Psalms" and Psalms 42-83 are "God Psalms".  So, I think David was intended as an instrument of the YHWH and his Psalms as "bookending" God's context with the YHWH's context.

As to the content here?  Well, no, not according to my reading of the Torah.  Genesis 1 says that the heavens were created by God and it doesn't say anything about God creating the heavens with the breath of His Mouth.  YHWH God doesn't turn up until Genesis 2 where he breathes life into A Dam, so I would view Psalm 33 as a YHWHistic corruption:  the YHWH attempting to ret-con his/her/its self into Genesis 1.

He gathereth the waters of the sea together, as a heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the YHWH: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  For he spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood fast.

As I say, I think this is just David as the YHWH's chief propagandist, the YHWH, through David, attempting to usurp God's role and stature as God. 

Psalm 90:2

I don't think this verse can be examined successfully divorced from its predecessor. 
90:2 reads:  "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world: even from everlasting to everlasting, thou God" which would appear to undermine my assertion that this is a "YHWH Psalm".  Whereas if you (re)connect it to verse one, it reads:

A prayer of Moshe the man of God:  YHWH, thou hast been our dwelling place in generation and generation.  Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world: even from everlasting to everlasting thou God. 

Which, to me, just makes it another YHWHistic corruption, attributed by the YHWH to "Moshe, the man of God", relayed to David as such (without attribution from any of the Books of Moshe) and, again, intending to ret-con the YHWH into Genesis 1 and to usurp God's role and stature as God. 

The reference to "the earth AND the world" is interesting, particularly coming from the YHWH who is the earth.  I think it's probably true that the earth and the world are two different things, the latter encompassing far more, conceptually, than the former.  But I still think both would be God's creations and under God's dominion.

John 17:24

Father, which you have given to me, I am willing in order that where am I also those may be with me, in order that they may behold the glory the mine which you have given to me, because you loved me before founding of world.

I do think that the Johannine Jesus is either the Meschiach, the Messiah, or the closest approximation to it that we are likely to see.  But I do also think that he was just an instrument of God, instructed very specifically in what he was supposed to say. 

Where I would part company with Orthodox Christian belief would be in who the Father was that he is addressing here.  The Christian inference is that the Father is God whereas I believe that the Father was a creation of God, the procreative functionary of God's will (while, I'm guessing, having his own free will to choose to be the Father or not be the Father, he chose to be the Father).  One of the great unanswerable questions, for me, is -- given that God is preexistent "Which came first, the Father or the YHWH?"  Did the Father's procreative function create the seminal YHWH before the Big Bang?  Or was the Father's procreative function made necessary by the creation of the seminal YHWH who proved to be a natural contrarian and -- given that God and YHWH were the two seminal beings -- just insisted on the inverse of Reality:  YHWH created God? 

In fact, the entirety of the two Jesus narratives, the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus, seems to me to be a parallel narrative created by God through the Father to illustrate for the seminal YHWH how he/she/it was/is supposed to be. 

The Johannine Jesus does attain to glory and attains to glory because he recognizes his subordinate position to both God and the Father.  He does the will of God and the will of God is that he do the will of the Father, which he does -- even unto death.  And he seeks to extend that to his own apostles, mirroring God's original intention with the YHWH:  as creation expands and multiplies, pass on what I instruct you to your successors so they can share in your context: the glory I will bestow on you.  And, of course, this is exactly what the YHWH didn't do, instead offering he/she/it as the Real God to his/her/its successors (as he/she/it was doing in the Psalms cited:  turning David into a YHWHist when David, by nature, was a complete monotheist and God-fearing man). 

The verse, it seems to me, hearkens back to that pre-existent-to-the-world state: the Father did the will of God and loved the Johannine Jesus that would be before the world was founded.  The Father didn't try to turn the Johannine Jesus against God and to make the Johannine Jesus worship him. 

2 Timothy 1:9
Titus 1:2

Well, with all my usual caveats about treating Paul's commentaries as scripture:

I don't think much can be discerned from 1:9 in isolation since it reads: "of the having saved us and having called to calling holy, not according to the works of us but according to own purpose and undeserved kindness, the having been given to us in Christ Jesus before times everlasting."  But, taking the single verse at face value:

I think it does point in the directions that I outlined above:  that it is another example of obedience to God and acknowledgement of God's preeminence being something of Core Value to pass on from seminal contexts to all subsequent contexts.  God in His Context, through the Father in his conext and in turn through Christ Jesus in his context "before times everlasting" gave to everyone His own purpose for them.  The purpose the YHWH attempts to subvert and usurp.  That this was all be enacted long before the earth was created and that the earth is just another enactment.  You can be like the Father and like Christ Jesus or you can be like the YHWH, but the former is a much better idea than the latter (to say the least!).

Titus 1:2 reads "upon hope of life everlasting which promised the not lying God before times everlasting".  Well, yes.  The "not-lying God" (as against the YHWH) is a good way of putting it. 

"Life everlasting" it seems to me is a double-edged sword that a lot of otherwise devout monotheists fail to examine.  Life in hell is also "life everlasting" it's just not a life that anyone would want.  But I think I'm safe in saying that "life everlasting" is the fate of every immortal soul.  Our spirit either returns to God, if we're deemed worthy, or our spirit ends up trapped in the earth's molten core depending on whether we lived a God-directed life as successors to the Father and to Christ Jesus and their obedience to God, or whether we lived a YHWH-directed life, away from God and seeking to substitute ourselves for God or other entities for God.  At which point we will get consumed by the supernova the sun turns into and collapse, ultimately, into the black hole the sun will become.  Certainly seems like hell to me. 

Revelation 21:1

And I saw heaven new and earth new; the for first heaven and the first earth went off, and the sea not is yet. 

The Interlinear translates this as "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away and the sea is no more."

The KJV has it as "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea."

Both of which seem to me to miss the sense of the original passage.  For, it seems to me, the very good reason that it's difficult to discern what the original passage is saying.  It depends on what you see in the single Greek term "went off".  I'd be inclined to retain it as is for that reason since "passed away" is only one inference of "went off".  You can just as readily say "dissipated" or "were supplanted" or "relocated themselves" without violating the literal translation of "went off". 

"The sea not is yet" is even more problematic, the original Greek conveying far more of a sense of something that will exist but doesn't exist yet as opposed to something that has ceased to exist. 

I think it's far more that water is God's chosen medium, right from Genesis 1 and that God is asserting through the revelation that when the current heaven and current earth will have "went off" (whatever that means specifically) and will have been effectively replaced (although "replaced" might be a better way of expressing it, depending on what "went off" means)  by a new heaven and a new earth, the sea, or waters (presumably "new waters") will not have yet come into existence. 

As distinct from Genesis 1 where the waters came first and then were divided into the waters above the firmament (heaven) and below the firmament (seas) and the dry land (earth) was a result of the waters being gathered into one place. 

Viewed that way, it's far more of a mystery than the flat assertions with no basis in the original text presented by the traditional translations. 

If the new heaven and the new earth come into existence without the seas next time around, where do the seas -- or, as the Revelation has it, the sea -- fit into the picture? Very Interesting Question!  With no answer until Judgement Day.

Next week:  Mr. Ross' next batch of scriptural citations. 

Next Time: More, more, more! Or some other disco era song...


whc03grady said...

That's quite a word salad.
I've brought it up before, and I'm not sure how central it is to the Simian cosmology, but the local star (the Sun; Sol) isn't massive enough to undergo a supernova or to become a black hole when its fuel is spent. And even if it did become a black hole, no planets would "collapse" into it. In fact, if it turned into a black hole right now, the planets' orbits wouldn't change one whit.

You gotta get your physics right before you can include it in your metaphysics.


Tony Dunlop said...

(He smiled and coolly watched the smoke spiral up from the end of his cigarette. He tapped an ash and took a deep drag.) "Well, Mitch, I see you've been fully absorbed by the YooWhoo."



whc03grady said...

How convenient.


Jack said...

tl;dr, but can Dave read ancient Greek?

Dominick Grace said...

tl;dr, but can Dave read ancient Greek?

No. As I understand it, he works with a literal interlinear translation and then interprets the word salad that creates (because literal, word for word translation of grammatically very different languages inevitably obscures how the original actually works) to apply the meaning he wants to find.

whc03grady said...

"It seems to me a PART of what God is looking for/demonstrating. In the sense that the sun was a failed experiment because it didn't become the Second Big Bang, I think the earth is a consolation prize -- not Balanced, but "more balanced".

Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

Hydrogen, presumably, has an intrinsic nature and oxygen, presumably, has an intrinsic nature. A planet which formed that consisted of equal parts Hydrogen and oxygen, in the main, (I would theorize) would be the incarnation of an entirely different scientific theory and would incarnate in a different form. Or it might not incarnate, thus illustrating that hydrogen and oxygen in equal balance isn't a valid construct: you can't make a planet out of it or, if you can, the resulting planet isn't going to incarnate anything on a smaller scale that will tell you anything.

Hydrogen Two and Oxygen One does. The sun wins a cigar for generating that."


Tony again said...

It's best if you approach this stuff in the same way you'd approach Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky."

Anonymous said...

Sad to watch someone slowly losing their mind. What a bunch of complete and total nonsense.

Tony one more time said...

"Sad to watch someone slowly losing their mind."

No, that's not what this is. This, it seems to me, is pretty consistent with how Dave has always thought. It worked very, very well - to the benefit of all of us who love Cerebus (the comic, if not the character!) - when he was creating his own cosmos, with its own internal logic. The problem is, that logic isn't the logic of the world we happen to actually live in.