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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 11 divine names

First of all, on the matter of the use of the divine names, are we not taking a higher and more reasonable ground if we assume that they were used primarily according to their specific meaning and not merely because the writer in question knew only the one or tried to reflect a period where only the one was known, or was addicted to the stylistic peculiarity of the use of the one rather than the other? A good parallel on the New Testament level is the fine distinction observed by all the writers between the personal name "Jesus" and the official title "the Christ." Surely, if the one or the other had used the one of these names exclusively, it would have been a failure to appreciate deeper and vital issues. So on the Old Testament level "Elohim" is the generic name for God from the root which signifies "to fear" or "reverence." Therefore Elohim is the divine being whose power and attributes inspire mortals with due fear. "Jehovah," more correctly written "Yahweh," signifies the Abiding, Changeless, and Eternal One, and therefore describes God as the one true to His covenant relationship in reference to His people. When the writer desires to express the thought that the one or the other aspect of the divine character was especially displayed in a certain event, he uses the name appropriate to this purpose. That does not say that the other aspect of the divine character was not in evidence at all. In fact, we might in some instances even have been inclined, but for the author's suggestive use of the divine name, to think the other of the two characteristics predominated. In the following exposition of Genesis we hope we have demonstrated the fine propriety that from this point of view is discernible in the use of the divine names according to their sense.

This approach of ours to the problem of the use of the divine names is by no means in conflict with Exod. 6:3: "I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob as God Almighty; but by My name Jehovah I was not known to them." For, in the first place, of course, "name" according to the Hebrew significance of shem means about as much as "character." The statement, however, though made absolutely, is meant relatively, as are many other statements in Scripture (Hos. 6:6; Matt. 5:34; I John 3:9 by way of example). The revelation of God's Yahweh-character given to the patriarchs is so far below the revelation of the same character that is about to be displayed in the Exodus that by comparison one would say that now this character is first really being manifested. The critics had better not press the literal meaning of this passage (Exod. 6:3) too much, for then it becomes a sharp two-edged sword. For when they use it to prove that there was an earlier period where Elohim was used and not Yahweh, this passage is having a new element foisted upon it by them. Exodus 6:3 does not set Eiohim and Yahweh in contrast but 'El Shadday (God Almighty) and Yahweh, a thought which the critical position cannot use at all, in fact, a very embarrassing thought. It militates directly against the earlier use of Elohim.

13 comments:

Peter said...

Do you think the many names of God happened when different tribal Gods were merged in to one? Many OT passages talk about many Gods, so was the OT just reinterpreted? Is this like the 99 names of the God of Islam?

Warwick said...

Peter on what scientific basis do you claim 'different tibal Gods' (sic)were merged into one?

What OT passages talk of many Gods?

Peter said...

Warwick said...
'different tibal Gods' (sic)
What's this? You misquote me and then mock it? Classy.

People in Judah used Yahweh, people in Israel used more Elohim, further north Adonai was used. At the same time the Bible talks about multiple Gods (Psalm 82, Genesis 11:7, Deuteronomy 32:8-9 DSS...)

Warwick said...

Peter it is more of a typo than a misquote!

Your 'mistake', which I pointed out(sic) without mocking, was more serious. You wrote of tribal Gods, when it should be tribal gods. There is only one God. The capital makes all the difference.

Psalm 82, to which you referred, makes this clear. It refers to God and gods.

See Jeremiah 10:11,12 God says "Tell them this,'These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.' But God made the earth by his power, he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding."

There is and can be but one Creator God, but many gods, including those gods which people fashioned out of wood, stone or metal; gods which cannot speak or move, let alone create.

In Scripture God has many names, many titles: Jesus is God the Son, Creator, Redeemer, Lord, Rabbi, Teacher, Saviour, Healer, son, brother, Alpha and Omega and more. The one God, with many titles.

Peter once again you don't know your subject.

Consider: I have spent considerable time in France, know Paris almost backwards, and have seen much more of France than most French people. They say I speak French well. I often hear people say how arrogant or unfriendly the French are. That is not my experience, far from it. The difference? I know the country, its customs, and its language, its food and wine, ts geography, and more. In reality the French are a most friendly, hospitable and humorous people. Why do some say otherwise? Because they have not spent the time and effort to get to know them!

Likewise if you studied the whole Bible, rather than reading anti-Biblical literature, you would also know it well. At the moment you have no idea.

John said...

Peter,

Are we going to go through the same exercise of you not actually giving any credible academic source, presenting half an argument, and then when the going gets tough, you get going? Or are you, finally, striving to be intellectually honest and give us your whole case?

Your "argument" thus far stinks of a latent anti-semitism. That is, I know the Jewish history and belief better than the Jews themselves know it. I know you may not be an anti-semite but this argument often used by Christians and non-Christians is in fact an example of a subtle variation of saying that the Jews don't really have the religion they've always presented to the world. Furthermore, it's exactly what the Nazis used to claim i.e. that the Jews merely "borrowed" their religion - like everything else they laid claim to - from the pagans. This is why Hitler, fully recognising the uniqueness of Jesus, had to deracinate him from his Jewish background and make him into a non-Jew because the Jews couldn't give the world something so brilliant as Christianity. Of course, he had to screw around with the New Testament and do a Marcion on it.

Peter said...

I notice that when I was asked to quote a verse of the Bible, I strangely get "Peter once again you don't know your subject" and you not actually giving any credible academic source. No wonder people like Gordon don't care to talk or listen to you. You don't address the issue and attack with Ad Hominem. I guess if you don't have a good argument you play the man. If you ever want to influence other people and get your message across this not the way to do it, but hey keep up the good work.

Warrick, my capitalisation of "Gods" was not a mistake. You God does not get a special treatment compared to other personal Gods with well developed theologies.

Warwick said...
There is and can be but one Creator God, but many gods, including those gods which people fashioned out of wood, stone or metal; gods which cannot speak or move, let alone create.
So your God has a council of gods fashioned out of wood and stone. Again you avoid the subject and offer an irrelevant Jesus' title analogy. You have no idea what I have read, so please don't make those silly speculations.

John, I'm not saying you are a homophobic pedophile, but homophobic pedophiles use the same arguments as you do. Further more you method of addressing my questions is exactly what the Nazis and Stalin used. Addition to that your Ad Hominem, false Nazi claims, false accusations and the fallacy of stacking the deck to your approved academic sources are the text book North-Korea. Maybe if you add couple more fallacies, below belt insults and vilifying references you will reach the full potential of your conversation performance.

It seem to be impossible to have a normal conversation with disagreements on this blog. And you are calling out other Anglicans and wondering why they don't bother to talk to you... truly mind blowing...

John said...

Peter,

Once again you're up to your usual childish tricks. No, the only mind-blowing thing here is that you chuck a wobbly anytime you're challenged, mask a response with pseudo-erudition, don't actually say anything and craftily alter one of our arguments by substituting a few words and then throw it back in our face.

Same old Peter who faces the mirror and says to himself, "Well, I did answer all their questions and look how rude they are."

Well, Peter, you seldom expend much energy answering us and avoid 95% of our arguments.

The fact that you quote the DSS as though its age guarantees its accuracy over the Masoretic or some editions of the LXX show that you biased and only out to undermine Christianity and prove the "truth" of your atheism.

That the Deut and Psalm passages are poems is hardly evidence for Israel's actual belief in the actual existence of many gods, albeit under YHWH.

What you overlook is that in so many of the prophets' writings and, for example, in Psalm 82, there is a deliberate use of irony and punning (in the Hebrew).

The question I asked, and to which you threw a wobbly over and took some unjustified offence, was whether you could actually establish where Israel, apart from its periods of apostasy, truly held to the existence of other gods. (Of course, apostasy, by definition, says that YHWH wasn't a part of their belief system!)

I can't recall which passage in Jeremiah it is but there is a fabulous line, in the Hebrew, where the prophet is discussing the reality of these gods and he makes a very witty pun on the word 'idols' and the word 'nothing', essentially saying that the 'gods' are naught because that is exactly what the words means.

The point you miss in your zeal to demolish Christianity is that there is no evidence for this fable that the Jews actually held to the existence of other gods and that YHWH was the leader. It's all dependent upon a line or two of poetry, closet Mormon apologists like Barker notwithstanding.

John said...

BTW, Peter, my comment about anti-Semitism still stands.

THe Mormons, the JWS, even certain strands of evangelicalism, try to replace Israel with themselves and that they now know God better than the Jews. Some atheists do it for slightly different reasons but the end goal is the same: to undermine the Church. You look for anything to hang your hat on. However, you've failed trying to prove evolution, you've failed in everything you and I argued about, and likewise with the others.

Peter, mate, you've got tickets on yourself and it isn't justified...well, of course, a mirror can't talk back, can it!

John said...

Actually Peter, on rereading the above exchange, you were exceedingly rude to Warwick by accusing him of altering your words. It was then shown that he hadn't but you still didn't apologise. This shows that you are quite an arrogant man, something you've demonstrated all the time you've been here by taking insult when none was intended and by being generally intellectually dishonest.

Warwick said...

Peter you still haven't answered this. 'on what scientific basis do you claim 'different tibal Gods' (sic)were merged into one?'

You seem to be heavy on rhetoric but light on substance.

Peter wrote 'Warrick,(sic) my capitalisation of "Gods" was not a mistake. You God does not get a special treatment compared to other personal Gods with well developed theologies.'

Please be specific: which tribal god came with a well developed theology?

You have missed the point Peter. Scripture uses 'God' to refer to the creator God, and uses 'god' to refer to man made idols, gods created from rock or wood etc. I wonder what sort of 'well developed theologies ' these bits of rock or wood came with?

You may believe what you like but when discussing Scripture you should use Scriptural terms.

You quoted me 'Warwick said...
There is and can be but one Creator God, but many gods, including those gods which people fashioned out of wood, stone or metal; gods which cannot speak or move, let alone create.'

Peter added 'So your God has a council of gods fashioned out of wood and stone.'

That is pathetic Peter! God has no council of gods as I explained these are worthless things created by man. They are nothing. God has no council of gods as there is only one God.

Your comments ably demonstrate that you are either being evasive or haven't a clue. Maybe a mixture of both.

Peter wrote 'Again you avoid the subject and offer an irrelevant Jesus' title analogy.'

Peter you are slow to comprehend very simple things. God is addressed by various names/titles which reflect different facets of His personality, position and power. For one example, He is called Jehovah Jireh meaning The Lord will provide. Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Because He is called this cannot we also call Him (the same God) Father? You would appear to suggest so.

Please tell me why my Jesus analogy is irelevant. Simply stating that it is, is meaningless.

Peter wrote 'You have no idea what I have read, so please don't make those silly speculations.'

Indeed Peter I do not 'know' what you have read but I can have an educated guess!

What you have read isn't the point at issue, it is what you have understood. Not much, as regards Scripture, or you would not suggest God has a council of gods, for but one example.

Ktisophilos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ktisophilos said...

What's the big deal about multiple names for the same god? The Ugaritic texts had compound-named deities such as Qadish-Amrar, and Ibb-Nikkal. The Egpytians had Amon-Ra, which taught that the god of Thebes was one and the same as the sun god.

So why not the Hebrews too? Warwick pointed out different names for the one God reflecting His different attributes. In particular, Elohim reflects God's supernatural creative power, and YHVH was the coventant God of Israel. Gen. 2 has YHVH-Elohim to show that Israel's covenant God was one and the same as the almighty Creator of the Universe.

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