Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

By Faith Moses…..

12 Comments

So it’s become quite apparent that I’m a rambling thinker.  I think thoughts that puzzle me and keep me awake at night.  One just leads to another and to another.  Adventures in D’Ma land.  🙂  Here is the latest edition in D’Ma’s rambling thoughts:

If the scriptures in Genesis about the creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, and Moses parting the Red Sea and the Israelites are myths handed down through generations until they were finally written down for posterity what then becomes of the burning bush?  Moses meeting with God, himself, on Mt. Sinai?  God giving the ten commandments to Moses inscribed on tablets? 

Realizing the difficulty in interpreting these events literally, it’s also a bane to my faith not to.  Because I had interpreted them literally it gave me comfort thinking that someone, somewhere along the way had a tangible experience with the Almighty.  Someone had seen him – talked to him face to, well, whatever part of him they could see.  But see him they did.  Moses face was supposedly so bright with the radiant glow of being in his presence that he had to cover it.  I thought the prophets had heard a direct word from God. 

Not only that, but Hebrews chapter 11 is an entire epithet to the faithfulness of these Old Testament heroes.  They’re used as examples, held up in high regard, for their faithfulness to Yaweh. As if they are real figures.

Interpreting the Law as, in the words of Chris from Cognitive Discopants, “the fallible attempts of men to discern the will of Yahweh, rather than laws handed down infallibly by God himself “ gives me great pause.  That means that the prophets I thought had seen what I cannot, didn’t see him at all.  They were making it up as they went along just like the rest of us.  That means that the documents that I trusted to tell me of God’s character may not reflect God’s character at all.

Then I’m back to my original question of:  If scripture is fallible man’s attempt to discern the will of God, and not necessarily the accurate will of God, how would we know that the God depicted in the Bible would be the God and not some other God, or no God at all?  What makes anyone convinced of that fact?

I had some questions regarding Chris’ remarks to which I had the pleasure of Thom Stark replying. Yes, that Thom Stark.  I appreciate his candor and honesty.  I found him a pleasure to correspond with. Even if I didn’t find his answers terribly satisfying, he’s given me serious food for thought.

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12 thoughts on “By Faith Moses…..

  1. I have difficulty with Thom Stark's replies as well. It's God by definition. That is to say: God is good. Slavery is bad. So, therefore, we know God would never have endorsed slavery, and that was a human construct. Etc.In Scripture, it says specifically that these are the words of God, including the endorsement of slavery. So if that's is not true, not only do you have an inaccuracy, but you also have a flat out lie.

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  2. I don't believe that all of the OT scholars feel that King David, and Moses were simply mythical characters.But, it's true that we do need to be discerning in our use, and application of Scripture.For me, the center of my faith is rooted in the incarnation, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not so much in is Scripture inerrant or to be interpreted literally in every detail. I think this is very much a secondary issue and question.To play the Devil's advocate, suppose Moses never actually met with God on Mt. Sinai, or the exodus from Egypt never actually occurred..I'm not saying this is the case, but just suppose…:) Does it necessarily and logically follow that Paul, and the apostles are mistaken in their witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?Or, are these separate issues that need to be evaluated in their own light?What actually led to the institution and growth of the church in the first century?Becky.

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  3. I see what you're saying, Becky, but the Old Testament lays the foundation for Messiah, according to a lot of scholars, beginning in Genesis. If there were no expectation of Messiah, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

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  4. TWF said:"In Scripture, it says specifically that these are the words of God, including the endorsement of slavery. So if that's is not true, not only do you have an inaccuracy, but you also have a flat out lie." I hadn't thought about it those exact terms. But either you have people doing their best to discern the will of God, but representing that that know the will of God or you have people who are using a Deity to further their agenda of political power. Either way representing themselves as express the known will of God would be a flat out lie, yes.

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  5. D'Ma:All of this derives from your desire that the stories you were brought up with need to be literally true. To begin with, if one sees no personal need for a Deity, the truth or literality of scripture becomes moot. If one needs the guidance of Scripture to make moral or ethical decisions (rather than being able to rely on one's own good judgement), it seems to me that literality or truth in the stories is still of relatively little significance, providing one can see Scripture as a compilation of wisdom of the ages presented as parables or examples of how certain behaviors result in good or bad outcomes. Do the Ten Commandments seem any less wise (at least the latter six) if they were not actually inscribed upon stone tablets by the finger of God on Mount Sinai? I can understand that believing that the prophets actually stood in the presence of The Lord or heard His voice is comforting, but are their admonitons or predictions any less valuable if they only "heard" His voice in their hearts or imagination?

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  6. Harvey,As usual, words of wisdom. No, it doesn't make the Ten Commandments seem any less wise, nor the morality of the stories in scripture. But what it does do is make them just that – stories. I've been on a quest to determine whether or not I still believe there even is a Deity, much less the one of the Bible. So, sure, I can take the stories of the Bible as a source of ethics and morality along side my favorite Disney films and my own good judgment. 🙂 But the evidence is stacking up against the Bible being some sacred text that tells me anything about the character of a God.

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  7. Well, I have already informed you of my lack of belief. Obviously, your quest must have time to mature, not only to arrive at answers, but to be able to become comfortable with or, even more, at peace with your eventual beliefs or lack thereof. When you are able to look into your own psyche and no longer find a "God-shaped hole" therein (if you ever do so), you will not only know that you have arrived, but the world and this reality will become a much more comfortable place to live.

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  8. Thank you, Harvey. As evidenced by the schizophrenia of this blog I'm not quite there. One day I think Christianity is so much hooey, the next I think there might just be something to it, and the next I'm all out atheist.At any rate I appreciate all the comments I get here. It helps to be able to bounce these crazy thoughts I get off of others and gain different perspectives.

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  9. Exrelayman said:Don't be like me D'Ma. I finally got it all together and forgot where I put it!

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  10. Exrelaymen,At this rate I'll never have it to put anywhere, so I guess I won't have that to worry about! 😉

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  11. Becky, most scholars believe David was historical, although there are a few (called "minimalists") who believe David was a myth. I am not a minimalist. David was historical, although there are many stories told about David that aren't true, one of which I discuss in Human Faces of God. Most scholars believe Moses is a mythical figure, although many of that majority think there was probably a historical Moses figure around whom the myths were created. Archaeology rules out the possibility of a mass-exodus from Egypt, however. D'Ma, The idea that the Old Testament lays the foundation for a Messiah is a popular one, but one that isn't rooted in the facts. Yes, there is some ground work done for the Messiah in certain books, but in the Old Testament, the reality is that a "messiah" was anyone anointed for a special purpose. Joshua and Zerubbabel were both "messiahs," as were all kings, priest, and prophets. The idea of a single, end-times "Messiah" didn't arise until the intertestamental period. But (as you'll find in the second chapter of Human Faces of God) the hermeneutical practice of Second Temple Jews was to read current ideas about the messiah and the end-times into the old texts, ideas that weren't really there.

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  12. Thom,I've spoken with a Jewish Rabbi about this. And, yes, "messiah" basically means "anointed one". There are many "messiahs", but the Jews are looking for one in particular to lead them into peace. I'm sure you know that and cover it in your book. I look forward to reading it.

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