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1:20 AM
@LeeWoofenden Well you certainly do see a lot of spiritual meaning!
@LeeWoofenden But I think you're completely wrong. Did you miss 8:21? After the flood God says exactly the same thing, that "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth"
The flood is the first of many times when God shows the futility of many strategies to solve the problem of human sin. If anyone ever suggests that a worldwide public display of God's judgement would change the human heart we point to the flood to show that it won't.
Prior to the flood it seems that judgement was God's prerogative alone, so no one could take revenge on Cain. Whatever the sons of God and daughters of men were doing, it needed judging, and so God does it. But after the flood he gives the authority to humanity to judge murder. But this just shows that humanity again failed at keeping our own sin in check.
Do you have any exegetical evidence to support your point that "Noah represented a new generation of human beings who were capable of controlling their actions through the exercise of an intellect that could act contrary to the evil will"?
2:24 AM
@curiousdannii If the Bible is a Divine work, and not mere human literature, then wouldn't you expect that it would have not merely a lot of spiritual meaning, but infinite spiritual meaning? How could a book that God produced not have infinite meaning?
@curiousdannii Precisely. The intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. That's why it was necessary to separate the intellect from the heart. Not completely, of course, but sufficiently so that the mind could rise above the evil desires of the heart, see them for what they are, and commit itself to overcoming those evil desires. And yet again, this happens only through God's power in us. But the intellect must assent to God's doing this in us. That is one meaning of faith.
@curiousdannii It is shown in the general character of the people after the flood. Before the flood, there was no code of laws; people simply acted according to their impulses. God remonstrated with Cain to check his evil desires, but he was unable to do so, and he went right ahead and killed his brother. Eve, also, could not restrain herself from eating from the tree of knowledge, nor could Adam. When they had a desire, they acted on it.
Lamech, one of Cain's descendants, also went ahead and committed murder when the desire entered his mind, as you can see in Genesis 4:23-24. The picture before the Flood is of people who acted on whatever impulses they had, until, as I quoted earlier:
> The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)
And further:
> Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. (Genesis 6:11-12)
The wickedness was not only in the heart, but in the "thoughts of the heart," and it expressed itself in filling the earth with violence. Heart, head, and hands were all corrupt, leading to the utter corruption of humanity, with the exception of Noah and his family, who:
> was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)
After the Flood, the character of the people changed. As you say, Genesis 8:21 says:
> the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth
And yet, not everyone acted upon those evil inclinations. Some followed the Lord and acted righteously despite those evil inclinations. This was something that the pre-Flood people could not do.
For example, unlike their brother Ham, when Shem and Japheth heard that their father was drunk and naked in his tent, they spared his honor by going backwards, not looking, and covering him with a garment.
Further, the post-Flood people made plans and carried them out--even if their plans were sometimes evil. The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 is an example of people pooling their intellect and taking organized action pursuant to it, even if God stopped them mid-stream.
The Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had the same heart that was "evil from youth." And yet, for the most part (not always) they acted ethically and with decency. Jacob, in particular, shows both the evil heart and the ability to act righteously when his mind directed him to do so.
Altogether, the character of the people after the Flood, as depicted in the various stories, was of a different quality. Despite their evil inclinations, they had the ability to act righteously. And once the Law was given from Sinai, all of the people had the ability either to obey them or to disobey them. Those who disobeyed were punished, and those who obeyed were rewarded.
This shows their ability to rationally and intellectually consider their own impulses and desires, and either act or not act upon them as directed by their thinking mind, if they chose to exercise it.
So the whole story of the Bible after the Flood shows that we humans have had this capability ever since of evaluating and checking the evil desires of our own hearts through the exercise of our rational, thinking mind. If that were not so, God would never have said to the Israelites:
> See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.
> But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
> Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
If we humans did not have the ability to choose life after intellectually evaluating the choice between life and death, and the consequences of each course, these words of the Lord would be vain and nonsensical.
2:44 AM
@LeeWoofenden I think your exegesis here is pretty bad. Before the flood people like Enoch and Noah acted righteously, and after the flood most people still follow their evil inclinations
@curiousdannii Before the Flood those who were righteous acted righteously, and those who were evil acted evilly. There was no redemption or crossing from one to the other. People were either good or bad, and they thought and acted accordingly.
@LeeWoofenden What's your exegetical argument for that?
After the Flood, bad people (which is really everyone) had the ability to repent, which means changing their minds and turning in the other direction. Read Ezekiel 18
@curiousdannii Just read the stories. There is no case before the Flood of anyone repenting and acting differently than they wanted to act, from Eve right down to everyone but Noah and his family before the Flood.
@LeeWoofenden So an argument from silence?
But after the Flood, we do have cases of people repenting and changing their mind. King David, for one, in the matter of Bathsheba. He admitted that he had done wrong, and accepted the punishment from God.
@curiousdannii Just read the stories. You will see that before the Flood, whenever people had an inclination, they acted upon it--even when God tried to restrain them from it, as in the case of Adam, Eve, and Cain.
2:48 AM
@LeeWoofenden I have read the stories. Have you? :P
None of the verses you've posted suggests any change in human nature after the flood.
@curiousdannii Can you show me any case before the Flood of someone who had a desire and did not act upon it? Is there any case of anyone repenting before the Flood?
And read Ezekiel 18. Clearly, the Israelites had the ability to repent and change their ways, or once again, that whole speech by the Lord would be vain and nonsensical.
@LeeWoofenden Of course, just like the people before the flood.
And there are also multiple cases of people repenting both in the Old Testament and in the New. But none before the Flood.
Even Adam and Eve never repented. When God asked them if they had sinned, instead of repenting, they made excuses.
@LeeWoofenden There are only about 5-6 people who get any attention before the flood, and even for those ones we're hardly told anything.
As I said, it looks like you're just arguing from silence.
@curiousdannii There are a few more than that. But yes, those stories in the early chapters of Genesis are very compact. They are also very tightly and precisely written. So a careful reading of them yields much that does not always appear on a casual reading.
@curiousdannii If you see a painting and there's no red in it, all you can say is, "There's no red in that painting."
If you then compare it to a painting that does have red in it, you can see the difference.
2:54 AM
@LeeWoofenden But you can't then reason that the lack of red meant red paint didn't exist.
@curiousdannii However, you can reason that if it existed, no painter used it.
And there must be some reason no painter used red.
The lack of overt repentance (the fact that Abel and Enoch are described in positive terms implies to me that they lived lives of repentance, because otherwise they wouldn't be called righteous) does not mean that repentance was impossible
@LeeWoofenden If you were talking about a huge amount of text then that could be possible. The absence of the priests in the book of Judges is notable.
@curiousdannii There presumably was some sense in which those early people could repent. But probably not in the sense that you and I think of it. They had seamless minds, so their "repentance" would not be a faith- or intellect-initiated thing as it is with us.
But we're talking about six chapters in Genesis and half a dozen characters.
@curiousdannii Yes, that's all we have to go on. But that's not nothing to go on. It's still six chapters of very compact, highly expressive text.
2:58 AM
@LeeWoofenden If the pre-flood people had seemlessly evil minds, then so does everyone now, as Romans 3:10-18 says
@LeeWoofenden What you're suggesting here is curiously similar to dispensationalism.
They are six chapters of highly expressive text
But you are arguing that a fundamental change was made to human nature, and the basis of your argument is an argument from silence
For some sense of just how tightly written and significant the language of those early chapters is, see The World’s First Murder: A Closer Look at Cain and Abel — There’s No Place Like Home, by Rabbi David Fohrman. Unfortunately, there are no forward links, only backward ones, so you have to use the links at the end of this final segment and read them in reverse to get the whole fourteen part series.
I don't mind all inferences from silence. I think it's okay to infer that Adam, Eve and Cain may never have repented
But to fundamentally change human nature is theologically huge.
@curiousdannii Romans 3 is speaking of people under the Law. Pre-Flood times were also pre-Law.
Especially when the overt statements we do have, that both before and after the flood the heart is evil, indicates complete continuity
@curiousdannii You're calling it an argument from silence because you don't like it. But there is also silence against this argument, and the text does support it overall.
@curiousdannii The difference is that before the Flood, when the heart was evil, people acted upon it, but when the heart was righteous, people acted upon that. The text does not say that Noah had an evil heart. It says that he was righteous and blameless before the Lord. That may create some theological difficulties, but that's what the text says.
3:04 AM
@LeeWoofenden No, as I just said, the text indicates continuity.
@LeeWoofenden Where do you get the acting from it from?
@curiousdannii Clearly not. All of humanity except Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives was wiped out. That is a major discontinuity. Humanity made an entirely new start through Noah and his family.
6:6 just says that the "every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually"
@curiousdannii From reading the stories.
So were people morally responsible for their sin before the flood if it was impossible for them to repent?
impossible in their human nature
@curiousdannii That's what it says after the Flood, not before. Remember, these are not literal, historical stories (from my perspective). They are spiritually symbolic stories. So you have to pay attention to what is said when. You can't just transpose every statement to every other part of the Bible. Statements are made at particular places for specific reasons.
3:07 AM
@LeeWoofenden 6:6 is before the flood!
6:5 sorry
@LeeWoofenden So when did this symbolic change to human nature occur?
@curiousdannii Once their hearts went evil, they simply went in that direction. Theoretically they may have had the ability to repent. But as the story is told, no one set upon evil did repent.
@LeeWoofenden Just like now. It is only through grace that we can repent
@curiousdannii But 6:9 makes Noah an exception to the statement of 6:5.
That's why Noah was saved, and everyone else was not.
@curiousdannii The specific detail of the text that symbolizes the "compartmentalization" (to use a modern term) of the human mind and heart is this:
> Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. (Genesis 6:14, italics added)
Previously there had been no "rooms." This is the first time that one part of the human mind (represented by the ark itself) would be separated from another part of the human mind.
@LeeWoofenden That's some pretty out there allegorising
@LeeWoofenden When did this change to human nature occur?
@curiousdannii I'm aware that at first glance Swedenborg's correspondential system can seem farfetched. But the more a person learns about it, the tighter and more sensible it becomes. I've often thought, upon first reading his interpretation of something, "That's kind of out there . . ." But as I read his explanation and contemplated it over time, the light would dawn, and it would make more and more sense.
3:14 AM
@LeeWoofenden Do you know if anyone before Swedenborg saw these specific correspondences?
@curiousdannii Some time in pre-history, if that's what you mean. I suspect that it was associated with the development of agriculture. This is suggested in the text by the curse on Noah, which involved tilling the fields with painful toil, and through his being a "man of the soil" who proceeded to "plant a vineyard" after the Flood (Genesis 9:20).
@curiousdannii That's a very good question. As you're probably aware, many of the Church Fathers, and many Christian theologians in the first millennium and more of Christianity produced exegeses of spiritual meanings in the Bible. Unfortunately, I'm not as conversant with them as I'd like to be, so I don't know if anyone before Swedenborg saw that particular interpretation of the Flood and the Ark.
@LeeWoofenden This kind of major allegorising was definitely not the only school of exegesis in the church fathers though
Swedenborg considered his system of correspondences to be new in the history of Christianity. And I think that in a general sense, he was right. What I do know of earlier Christian spiritual exegesis of the Bible suggests that those earlier writers had nowhere near the consistent, systematic system of interpretation that Swedenborg did.
Anyways, I think we've said all we can. Thank you for your explanation
@curiousdannii Also, Swedenborg's system does not fit the definition of "allegory" as that is normally defined. I do think that his system was distinctly different in kind and quality from those earlier systems (as I say, from the little of them that I have read).
@curiousdannii You're welcome.
3:20 AM
@LeeWoofenden That could be worth a question/answer, but it seems the same to me
@curiousdannii The snippets of early Christian allegorical exegesis that I've read seemed relatively arbitrary to me. They tended to consist of assigning some facet of the story with some virtue, or with some historical event, and drawing parallels back and forth. Swedenborg's system is a more organic one, like a living relationship between spiritual and material reality. I realize that may seem somewhat diffuse. You'd have to dig into his correspondential system more deeply to really get the point.
I should have said "associating" rather than "assigning." But editing it caused it to go over length. :-(
Basically, Swedenborg saw correspondences as the way divine things are expressed in spiritual ones, and spiritual ones are expressed in material ones. It's not a system in the usual allegorical sense, which is sort of like the old code rings in which A is assigned to D, and so on down the line, and you just have to crack the code--which in itself is arbitrary.
Swedenborg's way of interpreting the Bible is not so much based on symbolism (even though Swedenborgians do use that term for lack of a better one) as it is on how spiritual realities express themselves in physical realities.
So the "rooms" in the ark are not so much a "symbol" of the compartmentalization of the human mind as they are an expression in physical reality of the corresponding spiritual reality: whereas before the human mind had been seamless and unified, now it was divided into separate compartments for will, understanding, and so on.
Obviously there are not physical rooms in the human mind. Rather, there are corresponding spiritual separations of one part of the human mind and heart from another. And we humans today live in such compartmentalized minds every day.
Infants, OTOH, do not have that compartmentalization. Their psyches are seamless, so that they immediately express everything they feel. And that is how we moderns can get some sense of the difference between the pre-Flood people and the post-Flood people. We ourselves have individually gone through that transition when we moved from infancy to toddlerhood to our school years.
3:44 AM
And that illustrates another facet of Swedenborg's mode of Bible interpretation: it is multi-layered. On one layer it deals with the spiritual history of humankind. On another it deals with the spiritual development and life of an individual human being. On the highest level it deals with the Lord Jesus Christ and his saving work during his lifetime here on earth.
Every story in the Bible has a corresponding meaning on each of these layers, which allows us to draw some parallels between our own individual experience and the spiritual history of humankind as a whole as expressed in the "internal historical sense" of the Bible (to use the traditional Swedenborgian term for that layer of meaning).
(I am aware that earlier Christian exegetes also saw distinct layers of meaning in the Bible, though they don't exactly parallel Swedenborg's.)
@LeeWoofenden From an outside perspective though it seems just as arbitrary as classic allegorising. Why do the rooms of the ark correspond to the division of mind and heart rather than other things? A much more obvious correspondence would be the rooms Jesus is preparing for us in his father's house. Or maybe it could correspond to unrelated individuals coming together in the church, being saved together, and forming a new living family on the other side.
It also seems to put the ark into a completely different symbolic category. In Genesis it's clearly about salvation from judgement, and that's the same category it's referred to in the NT: Luke 17:27, Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:5. Unless you see reaching the age of accountability as a type of salvation the Swedenborgian interpretation seems out of step with the rest of the scriptures. (As do most allegorising interpretations, which is why Protestants generally avoid them now.)
3:59 AM
@curiousdannii Like the rest of reality, the correspondences in the Bible depend upon the context. In its context, the ark is where Noah and his family lived. As such, when applied to the human society they represent, the ark represents their minds, which is the "world" that they lived in. But it certainly can be applied to other things on other levels of meaning. Remember, the Bible is a divine book, so it has infinite meaning in it.
@LeeWoofenden Yes but the Bible doesn't mean everything we might think it does. Sorry, I really don't see why the ark should especially correspond to the mind
@curiousdannii The ark is about salvation from the judgment and destruction that would otherwise have come upon Noah. As seen in the aftermath of the Flood, Noah did not remain "righteous and blameless." He quickly became drunk and lay naked in his tent. He would have gone the same way as the others--to his own destruction--if God had not changed the mental constitution of humanity at that paint.
@curiousdannii Once again, Swedenborg's correspondential system is complex. It takes years to gain any kind of comprehensive picture of it. I was taught correspondences from a young age, and it's taken me years to get anything like a really living sense of how it works.
@LeeWoofenden The less intuitive it is, the more similar to Gnosticism's secret knowledge it becomes
Swedenborg's entire massive eight volume work Arcana Coelestia ("Secrets of Heaven") consists of page after page and volume after volume of explanations of the correspondences only in the books of Genesis and Exodus. It is a massive system. Some of the simple correspondences are easy, such as light = truth. Others are more involved and depend greatly on the context.
@curiousdannii Listen, if you want to reject Swedenborg's system, you're perfectly free to do so. But any worthwhile area of knowledge requires study and work to master. You don't become a physicist or a psychiatrist or a computer programmer by reading a few Wikipedia articles. You have to put in your 10,000 hours.
Swedenborg's system is not for dilettantes and lazy Christians who just want their answers spoon-fed to them ready-chewed by their ministers.
@LeeWoofenden Sure. But God wrote the scriptures for the benefit of all, not just academics. If an interpretive framework seems arbitrary, or illogical until you put in 10000 hours then it's right for us to question its value.
4:08 AM
@curiousdannii As I've said a number of times before, the basics needed for salvation are right there in the plain, literal text of the Bible. No interpretation needed. Correspondences are for those who want to dig deeper.
@LeeWoofenden But how is anyone meant to know when something should be read at the plain/surface level and when it should be read at the correspondences level without that 10000 hours of experience?
@curiousdannii The 10,000 hours is to become something like an expert in the field. Those who spend less time at it will also gain benefit. They just won't be experts, and they probably shouldn't presume to teach it to others in any rigorous or organized fashion.
I have some medical knowledge. But I would advise you not to let me operate on you! ;-)
When John 3:35 says that the Father loves the Son, how are we to know whether we read it as the plain level implication that the Father and Son are distinct beings, or whether we're to read it as something deeper?
@curiousdannii That's where doctrine and interpretation comes in. However, we don't really need to know that in order to be saved. We just have to live by what Jesus (and the rest of the Bible) teach.
How many hours do you think it would take for me to get to the stage for the ark-mind correspondence to make sense? 10 or 20? If so I'd be willing to read more
4:13 AM
@curiousdannii Did you read the articles I linked above? Those would at least get you going.
@LeeWoofenden I didn't. but I'll take a look later
@curiousdannii Okay. For those just tuning in, here's a link to my main article on the spiritual meaning of Noah, the Flood, and the Ark: Noah’s Ark: A Sea Change in the Human Mind.
1 hour later…
5:44 AM
I'm glad you brought up Noah and his drunkenness scene - I was thinking all along reading back over this "Yeah, but you are forgetting about the scene immediately after the flood!"
The point being - I think this story is there to tell us about how despite the complete annihilation of the human race except for Noah and his family, when given a second change still nothing has changed in the human condition.
I Don't find the idea that the fact that Noah was described as "Righteous" and then sins after the flood is really indicative of a change in him - just the opposite - instead it indicates the lack of change (not so much in Noah, obviously, but in humankind)
I think he can still be Righteous and make mistakes just as David did.
But ultimately, I'm tending to agree with curiousdannii in my disagreement on this one, though the discussion is extremely interesting to me. I'm really having a hard time seeing how it is not essentially allegorical.
You particularly lost me with this part: "In its context, the ark is where Noah and his family lived. As such, when applied to the human society they represent, the ark represents their minds, which is the "world" that they lived in."
Why when applying the ark to the society they live in does it equate to the mind and not to the salvation of Christ? That seems the obvious meaning to me (as curiousdannii discussed) I'm just not seeing why that makes sense or how that is obvious - though I think I do better understand your analogy of growing from toddlerhood to boyhood to teenager to adult (from your blog)
This also really makes more sense to me in terms of our prior discussion on the framework view not being allegorical.
I suppose polemical would be the right term, though I think you have to assume the literallity of the events (of both Genesis and the stories you are comparing to).
6:01 AM
@LeeWoofenden The better question is how can a limited set of words have infinite meaning?
6:30 AM
@LeeWoofenden I think it's pretty clear that Adam and Eve still served God after the Fall. They chose God first, presumably, then themselves leading to the Fall, and finally God again.
@LeeWoofenden Yes, they did. If Adam walked with God, then he must have. You've laid out a double edged sword. You are saying that they were easily wicked, because they were inclined to be so. We all can take that as a given. But then you're saying that the righteous ones were the same as well, only somehow they turned out righteous.
Was it just easier to be righteous then? Or was it given to you at birth? There's a problem here.
@JamesShewey What does Christ save, anyway? Isn't it the human mind —which is another word for the human spirit? There's no contradiction between the ark being salvation and the ark being the mind of the ancient people represented by Noah and his family. The mind, or spirit, is where the salvation takes place; and in this case it was brought about by means of a change in the human mind, as described above and in my linked article.
@fredsbend Because behind them is the full reality of God. The words themselves are finite, but the meaning is infinite, because it is a work and a reflection of the infinite nature of God.
@fredsbend Eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil caused a spiritual death in Adam and Eve. Put simply: the death of their innocence. That death was permanent. After that, they were never again innocent; their character had been vitiated. However, it had not been totally destroyed.
Their will was not as evil as the will of the people in later generations, just before the Flood. Though they had fallen from their pristine state, they had not fallen all the way down to utter wickedness. Evil operates in shades of gray, not just in blacks and whites.
@fredsbend The ancient people represented by the pre-Fall people in the Bible were able to exercise their will toward good or evil. It's just that once they did, they did it with their whole selves. And though at first they were only damaged, not destroyed, spiritually, when their will kept bending toward evil, it did lead toward their total destruction, represented by the Flood.
Noah represents a remnant that had not gone fully downhill into utter evil.
Ah. I see. I would disagree that it is the mind that is saved and say that the sould isn't the same as the mind, but that's not really germane to this conversation - but it does help me to understand.
But to save him, his mind had to be divided so that he didn't go the same way.
@LeeWoofenden Does not compute. Exception thrown.
But if it is the mind that is saved, shouldn't that be equated with Noah himself since it is Noah who is saved?
6:45 AM
@JamesShewey "Soul" is used in various ways. Sometimes it is a synonym for the spirit. Other times it is the highest levels of our spiritual being. I'm using the words in their loose definitions, not their technical ones. And in general, what secular folks today call the human mind I would equate with the human spirit.
@LeeWoofenden It's an interesting idea, but doesn't jive with some other things, many of which curiousD pointed out.
The biggest problem is that this requires a massive change in human character, when to me the text seems to show that human character didn't change at all, still willingly sinning continually.
@fredsbend Of course it doesn't compute. Our minds are finite. But if "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," then in some sense the Word of God is infinite. Not on our level of understanding, and not in its literal meaning. But if the Bible tells the story of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is God, then in at least that sense the Bible must have infinite meaning. I think this is what the final verse of John was driving at in somewhat poetic fashion:
> But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
@LeeWoofenden I don't see how any set of words can be infinitely anything.
Just like a snapshot is not a movie, the Bible is not God.
Do you believe that those words can be infallible and inerrant?
@fredsbend I would say that traditional Protestant thinking does not have the breadth and finesse to deal with the change that took place at the time of the Flood. Traditional Protestant thinking is very black and white: Humans are utterly sinful, etc. There's no room for variation. It's all black, black, black. But that's not how the reality of human life works.
6:50 AM
If they can be those things, why can't they be infinite in spiritual truths?
@JamesShewey Me? I'm no longer Christian, so no.
Ah. Well that would do it.
@JamesShewey But even before, I don't see how that can be possible. A limited set cannot be unlimited in something else.
@JamesShewey Don't believe it. He still thinks all of the stuff he used to about Christianity. It's just that now he argues for them without believing them, whereas before he argued for them while believing them. :-P
@fredsbend The infinite can be represented in "flattened" form in the finite, the way a three-dimensional object can be projected onto a two-dimensional surface.
I think that makes you not a Christian. Christianity is about intent and faith. If you don't have it, then you don't have it.
6:53 AM
The infinite is not an undifferentiated mass. It has form and detail. That form and detail can be represented in "flat," limited fashion in the physical world, or in human language. The physical world and the human languages themselves are not infinite. But they are reflections of the infinite, which is represented in them.
@LeeWoofenden Not my words, not Protestants. It's from the Bible:
Genesis 6:5 with cross references.
@JamesShewey I know. I'm just tweaking him. He "doesn't believe" any more, but he still puts up a pretty good fight for a lot of the viewpoints he used to hold.
Man is inclined to sin, strongly.
But @fredsbend - I'm not an Evangelical (I think the Chicago Statement was bunk) - I believe in infallibility, but not inerrant.
It's sort of like debating your garden variety formerly fundamentalist atheist. They don't believe the Bible at all . . . but by golly, the Bible must be read literally!!!!! ;-)
6:55 AM
@fredsbend - if you don't mind me asking - what was it that "pushed you over the edge" so to speak - only if you are comfortable sharing.
I've had that precise argument with atheists. One in particular was putting up a fairly ambitious website making fun of every word of the Bible, chapter by chapter. When I suggested that he was engaging in a rather dumb, literalistic, and unintelligent reading of the Bible, he argued vociferously that reading the Bible literally was the only reasonable way to read the Bible. Uhh . . . I thought you didn't even believe in the Bible???
Basically, he was still fundamentalist in mindset.
@LeeWoofenden - Lol. Not to be nudgey, but I'm still trying to figure this mind = Ark thing out. Since it is the mind that is saved and it is the ark that saves Noah, shouldn't Noah = Ark?
Also, are correspondences how Swedenborg arrived at his interpretation of the Trinity?
@JamesShewey Didn't seem real in my life. A "dark night of the soul." No communication. Radio silence. A person who loves me talks to me. God seems non-existent. He is therefore ignoring me, or is not there.
Mar 7 '14 at 16:03, by fredsbend
Basically, I'm still receptive to God being real, but I'm no longer convinced Christianity accurately describes Him.
Combined with a few other things, that about sums it up.
@JamesShewey Basically, yes, the ark is a picture of Noah's mind. But it is also a picture of how God saves Noah's mind by bringing about changes in it--which are represented by the nature and construction of the ark itself.
Coincidentally, that message marks my epiphany. I settled on disbelief literally at that moment.
6:59 AM
Salvation, in our (Swedenborgian) view is not something accomplished arbitrarily from the outside, and then "imputed" to us. It is an organic, spiritual change in the human being him- or herself. Without changing the human being, and making the human being "a new creation in Christ," there is no salvation, because the change in the human being is that person's salvation.
Wow. I want to say neat or interesting that you can pinpoint the exact moment, but I don't think either is quite the right word.
For any of this to really make sense, you have to completely dump the Protestant view of salvation, which in our view is just flat out utterly wrong and non-Biblical.
@LeeWoofenden I've explained before that I don't describe my exegesis as "literal" and never have. I read it as I believe the author intended it.
Nov 19 at 22:52, by fredsbend
Can you really ask for more than that? Maybe they're wrong on calling some part history and other metaphor, but that's not actually what we're talking about right now. Every individual part is up for debate. Some are more clearly one thing than another, but others we will probably always wonder.
I read the text plainly. It is what it is and there's evidence for multiple exegetical forms, and I simply take the one that seems most reasonable.
I can definitely relate though - I had that very same feeling shortly after going to a Christian College here on the west coast. Interestingly, it was Hermeneutics and Biblical Studies (and specifically NOT theology) which brought me out of it and to this site in fact.
@fredsbend You and @curiousdannii both try to wriggle out of the "literal" description. But when either of you actually starts talking about the Bible and its interpretation, what comes out of your mouths seems to be basically a literal interpretation, despite all the "I'm not a literalist" protestations.
7:02 AM
@JamesShewey I also first started participating in an effort to strengthen a waning faith.
I also think you're mistaken about the intent of the biblical authors. I don't think the originators of the Creation stories ever intended those stories to be read as saying anything about the creation of the physical universe. Thinking they did is projecting a modern, scientific mindset anachronistically back onto cultures that simply didn't think that way.
...Said the man just professing a non-allegorical allegorical interpretation of the flood... ;)
@JamesShewey ??? What are you referring to?
@JamesShewey I think epiphany suffices. It is a simple point. If God is real and loves me, then I should feel it. I do not, therefore I reject the premise. God is either not real or does not love me.
@LeeWoofenden Ah - I'm just teasing about how earlier the correspondences aren't really an allegorical interpretation and then you are tweaking fredsbend's nose about his viewpoints being literal.
7:07 AM
@fredsbend Or your mind is not sufficiently opened to the real nature of God to be able to perceive it. I still think your mind is held hostage to the old, materialistic concepts in the church you used to belong to.
@LeeWoofenden I agree there is nothing scientific about the story, but I do think the characters were believed to be real. And also, other bible writers that came later refer to them as if they were real. Whether the creation itself happened in 6 days or not is not the point of this previous argument is irrelevant. We were talking about a supposed change in human character marked by the Flood.
@JamesShewey What I was attempting to say is that correspondences go far beyond allegorical interpretations in reflecting the true spiritual content of the Bible. But I recognize that it's a bit difficult to grok the difference.
CuriousD and I do not think the Flood apparently marks a change in human character, but rather shows that even a global judgement did not change human character.
It's not long after the Flood that we are given Sodom and Gomorrah.
And they too are destroyed. Followed by yet more wickedness. Then destruction and repentance. The repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
@fredsbend - Spot on.
Interesting becoming more involved in theology didn't work out for you. I know that for me, I had been in the church for so long and had been preached at and taught all kinds of doctrines and theologies, but unfortunately I did not hear the concern for the needy and marginalized. It wasn't until I went to an Evangelical Christian College and started taking some Biblical Studies classes that I realized that.
@fredsbend Yes, we were talking about the Flood. But the story of the Flood is part of those early, mythical stories, before anything like real "history" began--a transition that took place somewhere in Genesis 11. So the story of the Flood has a similar character to that of the Creation. And I don't think their original tellers/writers ever thought of them as describing physical events. Rather, they used poetic descriptions of quasi-physical events to illustrate spiritual realities.
7:11 AM
The whole thing is a tragic epic and this school of though is common.
And even Paul says:
I started doing some more missions work and really felt more of a connection with God. This combined with the realization that I was interested in what the Bible had to say (Biblical Studies) and not what a bunch of other people thought the Bible had to say (theology) really turned things around for me.
> I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.
@fredsbend Once again, I think this viewpoint is far too black-and-white. The Bible doesn't just have sin, sin, sin. It has actual human beings (even if novelized) going through various experiences, making choices, feeling the effects of their choices, and being changed as a result. The Protestant "hermeneutic" flattens it all down into a simple story of sin (black) and salvation (white). But the Bible itself deals in many shades of gray.
Not that I am suggesting that A) this will work for you or B) that you need to.
@LeeWoofenden that is true, but it does have specific themes and concerns. For example, the bible says little about enlightening your mind
@LeeWoofenden And that has nothing to do with your point. You're arguing that the text indicates that the Flood marks a change in human character. We don't see that. We see the opposite. It reinforces the need for a savior.
7:14 AM
But it has a hell of a lot to say about caring for the poor, needy and widowed.
@JamesShewey That's because the Bible is more interested in changing your heart and your life.
According to Jim Wallis in Soul of Politics this is the second most discussed topic in the OT and the NT discusses it 1 out of every 7 verses.
@fredsbend It's almost as if you don't actually read the stories themselves, and pay attention to what the people are going through. Do you really think that there's no difference between Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The three of them are very different characters. And yet this black-and-white view just sees them as generic "sinners" in need of "salvation."
Right, but that means that those shades of grey are typically exploring the main themes of Scripture.
@LeeWoofenden This repeat cycle is in no way black and white. God is patient, remember. That's in there too. He puts up with a lot before finally smacking you around to put you back into shape. Then you straighten out, but big surprise, you're back on the sin train is short order. Does that not happen to pretty much every character after Noah?
7:17 AM
In real life, people are all different, and they go through many experiences and changes throughout their lives. It's not just a black and white "sin" and "salvation." You yourself have gone through many changes from infancy to the present. Does your whole life boil down to the simple, black-and-whites of sin and salvation? Isn't there more texture to your life than that?
@fredsbend - I was looking over your profile - what Bible College did you go to?
If you don't mind me asking.
@LeeWoofenden You have an uncanny knack of putting words in my mouth.
Straw men.
@JamesShewey Boise Bible College.
@fredsbend Sure, there's sin and salvation in the Bible. But there are all sorts of gradations and variations of it throughout the story. Do you really think that Adam and Eve are exactly the same as Jacob? That there was no change of mindset from one to the other?
@LeeWoofenden Sin and salvation are not states, nor did I say that. You are either moving toward sin or toward salvation.
This is a big distinction.
Read the stories. And pay attention to the people in the stories. Don't read them through a thick lens of doctrine that says what they're supposed to mean. Just read them as very powerful stories of people, whether real historical figures or novelized characters. If you read the stories for what they say, you just can't hold onto this flat view that they're all the same, and there's no change throughout the narrative.
7:19 AM
Were they different people? Yes. They had different personalities. But were they inherently sinful? Yes. And I don't think that changed in any way during the flood.
@LeeWoofenden As CuriousD pointed out, there's really not much to go on. It's not really fair to compare Adam to Jacob. We know too little about Adam.
But Lee, you are reading the stories for things they don't say.
Like, that's a lot if Eisegesis about the flood without much exegesis to support it.
Even getting at the spiritual meaning a la Swedenborg requires reading the text very carefully, and paying attention not just to the meaning, but also to the emotion in the story. You can't read the Judah cycle and truly pay attention to it without being moved by the powerful emotions and changes that Judah goes through in the course of his life. His speech before Joseph to save Benjamin (as he thought) from execution is a powerfully moving piece.
Boiling all of this down to some flat doctrine of "sin" and "salvation" does a severe injustice to the power of the Bible narrative.
7:22 AM
Very true, but what does that have to do with the ark representing the mind?
The stories are meant to move us, not just teach us some intellectual doctrine about "utter depravity" and such.
I agree. Judah was ready for repentance at that time. He was moving toward salvation. Before, when he through his own brother in a pit, was was moving toward sin.
And is that change in Judah's life not a movement from sin towards God?
How is this not obvious to you?
Even the Jews read it that way, though they say righteousness instead of salvation. Semantics, really.
@LeeWoofenden Whoa, that's a big claim. Most people distinguish mind from spirit.
7:23 AM
But I guess they're stuck in materialist whatever too.
@fredsbend So did Judah experience salvation? And if so, what does that mean? And how did he experience salvation if Jesus hadn't even been born yet? What did his salvation consist in? Wasn't it a change in his soul? And wasn't that change brought about by his experiences and his choices in the face of them? It is a human story of salvation. God was working salvation even back in Old Testament times, before Jesus was born.
@LeeWoofenden IDK, and don't see how I could know. Isn't that God's purview?
@curiousdannii I would say that's because they don't really understand the nature of spirit.
Romans four says as much.
Not a new idea.
@fredsbend Presumably God is attempting to tell us something about sin and salvation through the pages of the Bible. And what God is attempting to tell us is largely embodied in the stories of the Bible.
7:26 AM
Are we talking about the same thing anymore?
@fredsbend Every language has a finite set of phonemes, usually 30-40. These combine to produce 10000-100000 words, which can be combined into an infinite set of sentences
fredsbend is right on that one. But before Jesus one received salvation through the placeholder for Jesus - the sacrificial scapegoat. I believe that is all detailed in Leviticus 11, which is a fascinating process
@curiousdannii Linguists. [shakes head].
@fredsbend I'm attempting to point out that people in the Bible did go through change. There was change in individuals in the Bible. There was also change from generation to generation in the Bible. The massive change in the human psyche at the time of the Flood is only one event in a story that shows ongoing change in the human mind and spirit.
Can you see that the mindset of the Israelites during the time of the Kingdom of David was different than the mindset of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, before there was a Temple and a Law and a Nation?
@LeeWoofenden Dude, have you paid attention to anything I've said?
7:29 AM
Can you see that the mindset of the Jews in exile in Babylon was, in turn, different from the mindset of the Israelites when they were a united nation under their own king, with their own Temple and system of laws and sacrificial worship?
@LeeWoofenden Yes, characters changed. Stories 101. They are about change. But you've said something like people before the Flood had less capacity to change. An argument that I can take as a given, but does not seem well supported.
@LeeWoofenden But this is because of progressive revelation, not a fundamental change to human nature
@LeeWoofenden Didn't I already say as much?
Movements toward and away from sin.
The whole Bible narrative shows a progression from one state of humanity to another state of humanity and from there to another state of humanity. It mirrors our own states form infancy to toddlerhood to childhood to youth to adulthood to middle age to old age. We are continually going through changes of state mentally and spiritually. The same is true of the Bible narrative.
So in one respect, I think you are right. People do go through a change in their spirit. They have epiphanies which move them closer to and further from God. Protestantism of course regards this as being closer to sin and righteousness. It sounds like Swedenborg may not necessarily agree. I however think Noah changed towards the negative, not the positive.
7:31 AM
@LeeWoofenden You always do this to me. I say something, you disagree, then later you seemingly agreed all along.
So the idea that there was a distinct change from the pre-Flood people to the post-Flood people is nothing radical. It's part and parcel of what's going on throughout the Bible story. But the radical nature of the Flood itself suggests an equally radical change of state from before to after, as compared to the gentler and less stark change from, say, Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob.
@LeeWoofenden Straw man argument. I don't know anyone who would equate Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They're all individuals and we learn unique things from each.
@LeeWoofenden You see a linear movement. I see a to and fro.
Right but we are all saying that the stories are saying that there wasn't any change in this case. That's not necessarily true in the other stories.
I'm saying that's the point of the Noah drunkenness story.
@fredsbend Not really linear. It's more like an upside-down bell curve. Starts high in Genesis 1, falls stepwise downward until the ultimate low at the time of the Incarnation, then works its way back up to the high of the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God.
And in that overall cycle there are cycles within cycles.
@fredsbend But aren't you denying that there's any real mental or spiritual change from before the Flood to after the Flood?
7:35 AM
@LeeWoofenden What are the two axes measuring?
@fredsbend The horizontal axis is time, or progression of spiritual state. The vertical access is from very heavenly and spiritual to very materialistic and physical-minded.
Biblical Scholars Dr. Hauge and Dr. Keener have a pretty good podcast on the topic - here and here - definitely worth checking out.
@LeeWoofenden If we're back on topic now. Pre-flood spans a long period. The gross movement is from righteous to wicked. Then destruction, judgement. What changed afterward? Were people somehow better? worse? I don't see that. I see movements to and from righteousness.
@LeeWoofenden So we're in the slump but moving up as time goes on? At least you're consistent. You've said this before.
@JamesShewey I don't see how you can actually read the story and say that there was no real change from before the Flood to after the Flood. The Flood itself was God's way of cleansing the utter wickedness of humanity from the earth.
And yes, Noah did sin afterwards. But he still wasn't utterly wicked as were everyone else but Noah and his family before the Flood. He was drunk and naked in his tent, and cursed his son Ham, but those are not really the most wicked things a person could do, are they?
Right, but in Swedenborgianism (Sp?) Righteousness = heavenly and spiritual and sin = materialism and physical-mindedness
The change was in God, not in man.
7:38 AM
@LeeWoofenden And God regrets it ... because it did nothing.
@LeeWoofenden The quality of our relationship with God follows this shape, but I don't think anything in the Bible suggests any change in the nature of humanity this side of the resurrection. For the pre-flood people to have had any different capacity of the human will is not compatible, I think, with the doctrine that all the human race is made in the Image of God
That's what Hauge and Keener talk about in their podcast titled "God Accepts Human Wickedness" on Chapter 8
@JamesShewey Yes, another way of describing the vertical axis would be from good (up) to evil (down). It's just not as precise.
@LeeWoofenden Not Noah, but in only a few hundred years we have Sodom and Gomorrah.
More specifically, Swedenborg distinguished three general levels of human spirituality: heavenly (traditionally "celestial"), spiritual, and worldly (traditionally "natural"). We progressed downward through those levels until the time of Christ, and then began progressing back up the scale.
@JamesShewey What do you mean, "The change was in God, not in man"? Do you think that God changes over time?
7:41 AM
@fredsbend God regrets what? And what did nothing?
I think it's pretty clear, for example that he gave up on the Israelite nation and expanded to include the Gentiles for one.
@JamesShewey More that the plan was always for the gentiles to be included in the blessings of Abraham. And Romans 11 shows he still cares for Israel
God regrets trying to end human wickedness through annihilation, believing it to have been ineffective. The flood did nothing to change the human condition.
@LeeWoofenden I think the God of the Bible is described very differently in many places. The fact is that God is complicated and I think saying "God doesn't change" is a bit asinine. A complicated being must change and grow. How can it not? Compared to the gods of various mythologies, they are one dimensional and kind of boring. Which is why you need a pantheon to finish the story.
7:43 AM
Maybe. That's a little Calvinist for me.
@LeeWoofenden The Flood.
@curiousdannii God is a complex being. God, too, has different "parts" that correspond to the different spiritual states humanity can exist in. The "heavenly" state is a reflection of the divine love, which is the core of God, the "spiritual" state is a reflection of the divine truth, which is the way God's love expresses itself, and the worldly state is an expression of God's power, or the outward expression of God's love and wisdom.
@LeeWoofenden I don't see any connection between this and what I wrote?
So in every spiritual state we reflect God in some way. In higher spiritual states we reflect a greater measure of God's nature, and in lower states we reflect a lesser measure of God's nature. And when we are engaged in evil, we have twisted God's nature (in ourselves) into an evil reflection of God, which is therefore opposed to the nature of God.
@fredsbend - Agreed. I think God changes his mind clearly in the story of Jacob when he wrestles with him. God changes his mind in Jonah and decides against destroying Nineveh and God change his mind on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah (kind of)
7:45 AM
@curiousdannii OT and NT gods are very different and quite incompatible if you ask me. Unless we give God, a complex being, room for change.
I don't think they are that different. Perhaps if you regard all of the purity laws and levirite marriage laws as barbaric. But that betrays a lack of understanding of their purpose.
@fredsbend It doesn't actually say that God regretted the Flood. It says that he said in his heart that he would never do it again. That's not the same thing.
@fredsbend Really? Gen 12:3 is the first sign of this, and there are many more through to the prophets. The plan was always to bless the gentiles
@JamesShewey And he gives Israel like a million chances. If he "never changed" then he should have wiped them out several times over.
I think the OT god is painted as more personal and concerned with individuals than most realize.
7:47 AM
I agree, I don't think God regretted the flood, because it worked perfectly.
@curiousdannii What??? You actually agree with me on something!!! ;-)
@LeeWoofenden We agree on a lot of things, you just haven't realised it yet ;)
@curiousdannii Then follows centuries of racial/cultural based conquest apparently approved by God. Clearly, there are many parts where the Israelites are favored for no apparent reason other than having been chosen via Abraham.
God said he would never do it again, not because he regretted it, but because the Flood had done its job, and it would not be necessary in the future to have another Flood.
@curiousdannii You think God chose to wipe out all of humanity to prove a point that wiping out all of humanity wouldn't make humanity change. That's a stupid point and not really in the story.
7:50 AM
@JamesShewey Do you believe that God actually changes over time, so that God himself is truly different now than he used to be?
God changes in the way all of the characters in the Bible change - because they were made in his image.
@fredsbend Well it firstly worked in that it judged the nephilim etc, whoever they actually were. But I don't think it's at all a stupid point. The whole of the OT is about preparing people for the gospel.
Our God is at least as dynamic as we are.
God sees that his creation has gone to shit. Settles to destroy it. Sees Noah then changes his mind and sends him a life raft, sees his own creation destroyed and grieves in his heart. That's a complex character trying to grapple with both love and hate for his creation/children.
@JamesShewey I recognize that the character of God as presented in the Bible narrative does change over time. I'm asking if you think that reflects real changes in the nature and character of God himself in reality, and not just in the Bible story.
7:51 AM
No it's not. The OT trying to GIVE them them the gospel - and the keep botching it.
@curiousdannii That blurp about the Nephilim was probably an interpolation.
So God changed his mind (again) on the best way to fix humanity (like he did in Chapt 8) and sends his son.
It feels out of place.
Also, "and also after". It reads like margin text.
@fredsbend Where does it say that the destruction brought about by the Flood grieved God's heart? (If that's what you meant to say.)
God shows that none of these will solve the problem of sin: judgement, promises, covenants, law, priests, sacrifices, judges, kings, prophets, the presence of God amongst his people, a temple etc etc
7:53 AM
@fredsbend - I posted this earlier, but I think I think it makes the nephilim make a heck of a lot more sense:
A: Who were the "sons of God" (bene elohim) in Genesis 6:2?

James SheweyThe first part of the term "Bene Ha'elohim" simply means sons of. Therefore, the question really revolves around what "elohim" refers to here. There are a couple of things that elohim can refer to. In the Bible, it is typically used to refer to Yahewh (god,) however elohim can also refer to gods...

@JamesShewey Exactly. God's like, "whoh! These craps are gonna take a lot of work and planning. A quick little Flood and do over ain't gonna cut it."
@curiousdannii Do you believe that all of the people who lived before Jesus Christ are now in hell?
@LeeWoofenden No, their sins were passed over in faith and finally dealt with on the cross
@curiousdannii - you must be a Calvinist. I don't think he is showing that, God is discovering that.
@curiousdannii Did they experience God's salvation during their lifetimes, in your view?
7:54 AM
@JamesShewey I will read it soon.
A: What were the Nephilim, and what role did they play in the Bible beyond just being mentioned?

fredsbendThe Nephilim are a subject of much debate. There are a number of views on what they were, the two prominent views being the Sethite view and the Angelic view. Both are an opinion on who or what the "sons of God" are. The Nephelim are most notably mentioned in Genesis and seem to be a driving dec...

I have my own though.
Nice. I'll have to check it out.
@fredsbend I agree about the 'and also afterward', but the sons of God and daughters of man seems to directly prompt God's condemnation of the world
@JamesShewey Are you an open theist then?
The Nephilim topic spans centuries and many books. The mention in Genesis is like an "oh yeah, this too" moment.
Yes, but must of that is Apocryphal or a response to Apocrypha.
@fredsbend Genesis 6 is the only time the narrator's voice says they existed, all other times are reported speech as far as I can remember
@LeeWoofenden Yes, but not because of any of those things. Their faith in God allowed them to be saved by the cross
7:57 AM
I think that it was in the earlier versions of Genesis (J and E under JEPD) theory, but the meaning was lost to later generations (probably by the final redaction)
@curiousdannii Do you believe that all people who have ever lived are still awaiting resurrection?
And then they made up a bunch of apocrypha to make sense of it. But I think there is a (reasonably) simple explanation that makes that story make sense in the context of the flood narrative.
@curiousdannii Depends. They have more than one name.
@LeeWoofenden What do you mean?
See my answer linked above.
7:58 AM
@curiousdanni - I think most would regard me that way, though I would personally place myself somewhere in the middle. I have some issues with pure open theism.
@curiousdannii Is anyone in heaven and hell (or whatever you believe the afterlife to be) now, in your view, or do you think that everyone is currently in some sort of spiritual limbo awaiting resurrection at a future general Last Judgment?
@JamesShewey If it's an interpolation, the apocrypha, or something that inspired it, came first. Then a revised version of Genesis containing the Nephilim parts.
I think it limits god's infinite attributes.
@fredsbend I think this is a later conflation. The people in the exodus have some kinds of records but not the inspired text of Genesis. They have the then mythical Mightly Nephillim and the present very scary giants, and conflate them together
@LeeWoofenden I don't think anyone is in the new earth (which doesn't exist yet) or the final lake of fire. I'm agnostic about whether they're conscious or whether something like soul sleep is true
Most date the final redaction of Genesis to 500BC. Enoch (which I think was the first apocrapha surrounding that) was written about 300BC.
8:01 AM
@LeeWoofenden They're in the place of the dead, whatever that is ;)
@curiousdannii I'm just wondering if you think anyone from before Christ has already experienced salvation, or whether they will all have to wait until the Second Coming and the Last Judgment to experience it.
@LeeWoofenden They've experienced the blessings of God. They've experienced being reconciled to him. The didn't experience the confidence the gospel brings or the guarantee of the Holy Spirit, or fruit of their salvation, their resurrection
@curiousdannii Read Chapter 6 without verses 1-4. Even add back verses 1 and 3. Nephilim is not the reason for the flood. Verse 3 seems to say because God is just bored (oddly like Gilgamesh, Enlil is annoyed). Then verse 5 tells us it's because of wickedness.
@LeeWoofenden I don't think the text tells us. What do you think? Or is that a completely irrelevant question in Swedenborgianism?
It all reads very choppy. There is not one voice, and may be as many as three.
8:03 AM
@curiousdannii When and where did they experience this? During their lifetimes on earth? Or in some state, place, or time after their deaths?
@fredsbend I don't think this kind of source analysis has much going for it
Much as I was just spouting off about JEPD theory, I tend to agree.
I really only think JEPD can apply to just Genesis, and I think it might have been as little as two works.
@curiousdannii A legitimate view point. One thing you can't deny. Some believed those giants were Nephilim, same as the guys before the Flood.
@JamesShewey We believe in immediate resurrection into the spiritual world of everyone who dies, followed by a process of individual judgment resulting in a person going to his or her final home in either heaven or hell.
I'm inclined the believe the author sympathized.
8:05 AM
Wait - how to you get resurrected to a spiritual world?
I don't think verses 1-2 can be separated. Perhaps 1-4 could be cut out entirely, but I don't see much reason to. The only reason to cut it out is because the Nephilim later became so mythologised. But if it were authentic to this passage (or the sources before it) then it gives the origin of the category which was later mythologised
Isn't that by nature physical?
@LeeWoofenden A big mixture. I'm not sure where this line of questioning is going though...
@JamesShewey The spiritual world is non-physical, but it is solid and real. It's just not made of physical matter. It's made of spiritual substance, which is a whole different level of reality from physical matter. We do have bodies there that look and feel just as real to us there as our physical bodies do to us here. And we live in dwellings in a landscape that looks and feels just as real (actually, more real) as our dwellings, towns, cities, and landscapes do here on earth.
@LeeWoofenden What kind of a resurrection is that? A spiritual resurrection? Of the wicked too?
8:07 AM
That is where we live to eternity, and we never return to earth, in the Swedenborgian view.
@fredsbend - I have to agree with curiousdannii on this one. What is more important the the Nephilim are the Bene Ha'elohim.
@curiousdannii Yes, the wicked are also resurrected into the spiritual world. They then go through a process of having any outer layers of their persona that don't match their true inner character stripped away, until they fully reflect their own evil nature. Then they go to their final homes in hell, which is the only place they can live.
These are no angels - these are "sons of the powers" - that is sons of indigenous aristocracy, vassals and lords.
The Hebrews were then intermarrying with them.
A big no-no because it leads to syncretism.
@curiousdannii A couple of relevant articles from my blog: What Happens To Us When We Die? and Is There Really a Hell? What is it Like?
This is why God ordered all in the promised land wiped out and that of course didn't happen.
The Israelights intermarried and guess what? Syncretism. (So nothing changed pre-to-post flood)
And so that is why the flood was ordered.
To rectify that situation. The same way the Assyrians rectified the situation and the Babylonians rectified the situation.
*more important than.
8:21 AM
@curiousdannii A big mixture? What do you mean? I'm mostly just curious what you think the current state of the dead is, and how, exactly, you think that people who lived before Christ have experienced (or will experience) salvation.
@LeeWoofenden I don't know what the state of the dead is, and they experienced it incompletely.
@curiousdannii Did they experience it incompletely during their lifetimes on earth?
@LeeWoofenden In part. They experienced many, but not all, of the blessings of God. They experienced being claimed as God's people. They were given promises for the future. They didn't experienced freedom from sin, or the gift of the Spirit. They didn't experience even the partial mutual indwelling of God Christians experience in this life
@curiousdannii Do you think they will experience all the rest of it at some future time?
@curiousdannii Also, what about non-Israelites? Do you believe any of them experienced salvation, or will experience salvation?
@LeeWoofenden They will experience much more. They will experience the resurrection and eternal life with the incarnate Christ on the new earth. I do not know though whether they will receive the blessings of being the bride of Christ, and I've heard reasonable arguments that the distinct relationship of the bride of Christ (the church) will be maintained into the eternal state
@LeeWoofenden Of course some did, and some didn't.
I've gotta go, bye all
01:00 - 09:0017:00 - 00:00

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