Jump to content

The Biblical God as Literal Father


David Bokovoy

Recommended Posts

I've actually been trying to lead a discussion on this issue for sometime and have now decided that the only way for serious on-line interaction is here at FAIR.

From a biblical perspective, the Latter-day Saint theological position is really, quite strong.

From the beginning, the Bible clearly depicts an intimate link between God and the powers to procreate.

For example, in the garden story, the author states that Adam and Eve would become

Link to comment

I can heartily agree with David's assessment of this drawing, but, and there is a big but here, my major problem is that these drawings represent a folk religion (small r) and not the mainstream or larger tradition that the Bible likes to draw for us. I think there are two different Bible stories going on here. The pre-8th century Biblical beliefs of the Israelites and the post-diasporic story that the Bible represents. Pre-8th century Israelite beliefs are heavily folk, aka Canaanite and Sumerian, beliefs and not clearly as monotheistic as we are led to believe. The other is the post-Babylonian Biblical beliefs as presented by the OT redactors. I can only imagine how these two images of the Bible will play out in the next few years.

Dr. Seuss asks

I assume the one sitting is the wife, but which one is G-d?  Or is He not in the picture, and the two men are someone else?

The male figure (the picture does represent a male organ or is that a tail?) with the horns is representative of Yah. The horns are used in Sumerian art to represent deity.

ENKI.GIF

The smaller creature is Bes, an Egyptian import who represented a protector god of women and children in childbirth. Apparently, he is more of a protective shaman and less an actual deity.

bes_egypt1.gif

Link to comment
  • 5 months later...

It seems clear to me that the modern christian-jewish understanding of God has nothing to do with what is in the Bible and everytiing to do with Aristotle.

Why do we expect anciant Israelites to be any different from their neighbors? What makes anyone so sure that ancient Israelites allegorized the anthropomorphic descriptions of God?

Link to comment

Before I chime in, I think it's funny that anti-Mormons never try to touch these issues with a ten foot pole.

I was recently researching some parallel concepts when I read an interesting article by Moshe Idel called â??Rabbinism vs. Kabbalism: On G. Scholemâ??s Phenomenology of Judaism,â? in Modern Judaism 11 (1991): 281-296. The gist of the beginning of the article is that the church is thought of as a sexual partner that performs ordinances as a means of dolling itself up so it will be arousing to God. Some highlights I saved:

â??The mythical figure of Kneset Israel, a feminine entity which represents the people of Israel, can be envisioned as standing in an erotic relationship with God. . .Just before the above mentioned text, a verse from the Song of Songs (7:14) is quoted: â??The mandrakes give a fragrance, and at our gates are all manner of choice fruit, old and new, which I have laid up for thee, O my Beloved.â?? Obviously, the Rabbinic sages envisioned the old and new fruits as the ordinances, intended to attract God to Kneset Israel . . . As the understanding of the biblical verse implies: the strictures were laid up for him. The bride purifies herself by observing the strictures for the sake of the beloved. It is an act of devotion that ensures a perfect sexual relationship. . . In a Midrashic passage, the function of the commandments is described as follows: â??Israel is beloved! The Bible surrounds them with mitzvot: Tefillin on the head and arm, a mezuzah on the door, zizit on their clothes. . . This may be compared to a king of flesh-and-blood who said to his wife â??Adorn yourself with all your jewelry so that you will be desirable to meâ??. So the Blessed Holy One said to Israel: â??My children, distinguish yourself with mitzvoth so that you will be desirable to me."

All of this, of course, was allegoricized when middle platonism made it clear to Judaism and Christianity that God could not have a "body, parts or passions."

Another interesting piece from Raphael Patai's The Hebrew Goddess speaks of the cherubim of the Temple as being in a "marital embrace." Rabbi Shimeon ben Laqish wrote: "When strangers entered the Sanctuary, they saw the Cherubim intertwined with each other; they took them out into the marketplace and said: 'Israel, whose blessing is [reputedly] a blessing and whose curse is a curse, should occupy themselves with such things!' And they despised them, as it is written, 'All that honered her, despise her, because they have seen her shameful nakedness.'"

A midrash states: "They entered the house of the Holy of Holies, and found there the two Cherubim, and they took them and put them in a cage and went around with them in all the streets of Jerusalem and said, 'You used to say that this nation was not serving idols. Now you see what we found and what they were worshiping!'"

Funy how ignorant and destructive people misrepresent concepts that other people keep to themselves because of their sacredness.

Link to comment

I do not know of any Bible passages that support the idea that God has sex.

On the other hand there are some that indicate that he does not.

Job 9:32 tells us that God is not a man. Who would God have sex with? It would have to be something other than his species. What then would the offspring be? If God has sex outside his species, why did he forbid man to do the same?

John 4:24 tells us that God is a spirit.

Luke 24:39 tells us that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bones.

Jesus said that he was the son of God, but Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born, so it seems that God does not need sex to procreate. Would his purpose for sex be pleasure then? Does he also need a cigarette and a glass of wine?

Link to comment

mainer, God is frequently referred to as Father. How do men beocme fathers?

Link to comment
I do not know of any Bible passages that support the idea that God has sex.

Then perhaps you should go back and read the first couple posts. I know their difficult to read. This is an old thread and for some reason, all of the characters did not transfer over with the board change. Hence, reading the posts takes a bit of effort, but I think the information is worth it.

Link to comment

mainer and markk, I know you are having to try really hard on this. Jesus is called the only Begotten. What does beget mean? He isn't called the only adopted. And the Lord's Prayer, the pattern by which all prayers should be, could have said something like, Our Supreme Being in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

And what about all those times when we are told that we created in the image of God? What image?

Link to comment

mainer and markk, I know you are having to try really hard on this. Jesus is called the only Begotten. What does beget mean? He isn't called the only adopted. And the Lord's Prayer, the pattern by which all prayers should be, could have said something like, Our Supreme Being in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

And what about all those times when we are told that we created in the image of God? What image?

Hi Charity,

No this is simple, it's the Gospel. Jesus is the ONLY begotten, the monogenes (sic?) The preeminent or one of a kind. Begotten in the sense of Jesus is that He is God born in the flesh...Emmanual, God with us. I never Jesus was adopted, only Christians, ( and Israel as a nation). The Lords prayer is for Christians, but besides that God is the Father, but not all have Him as a Father, read Romans 8, Gal. 4, Eph 1, and John 1:12,13.

Your correct, we were Created "Bara", both are spirits and our physical bodies, "Bara" is the same word used for gods creation of the stars, the heavens, the animal, and even grasshopper (Amos). It does not say we were created by our Father, but by God, the Father is only our Ftaher through adoption.

You have to deal with the "Bara" Charity, we are the creation and He is the creator.

Mark

John 1;12

Link to comment

Hello Mark,

You have to deal with the "Bara" Charity, we are the creation and He is the creator.

It appears that you wish to view Old Testament statements regarding God as father metaphorically.

Concerning the use of metaphor in the Old Testament, you may wish to consider the book Biblical Ambiguities: Metaphor, Semantics, and Divine Imagery by David H. Aaron. The following quote from Dr. Aaron's work seems especially pertinent for this issue:

Theorists offer an array of solutions as to how we conceptually go about identifying and interpreting incongruity. Some have suggested that an author uses a literally false or incongruous expression in order to indicate that they mean something else. That is, the falseness triggers a response which causes the reader/hearer to begin decoding for meaning that is other than literal. To put it in terms of relevance theory: an interpreter starts with the assumptions that an utterance is meant literally, until something causes the interpreter to recognize that the literal meaning is not identical with the speaker's intent. As such, the metaphor is taken to be a particular kind of speech act, one that involves a clash between the intent of the speaker and the character of an expression. (Biblical Ambiguities; Leiden: Brill, 2002, 115)

In other words, a statement such as â??my wife is a washing machineâ? triggers a specific response in the reader/hearer who possesses familiarity with the objects and cultural background of the author/speaker (since the reader/hearer initially holds the perspective that the statement is of course literal). This triggered response naturally causes the interpreter to consider a metaphorical meaning.

For people like you Mark, who possess a post-biblical theological perspective, biblical statements identifying God as Father trigger this response. As this thread illustrates, clearly ancient Israelites would not have had a similar reaction.

It seems to me that the only way for you to prove that Israelites would have immediately decoded statements regarding God as Father as non-literal would be to demonstrate that ancient Israel did not believe that God had a wife and that deity did not participate in sexual intercourse.

I wish you good luck.

Link to comment

There is nothing in the LDS Canon thst states Go d had sex with Mary. Now I know a number of LDS including past Apostles have implied it very heavily and I even have a couple of (older) friends that believe it wholeheartedly.

Canon states that Mary was a Virgin until sometime after the birth of Jesus and while if all we had was the Bible you could make the argument that virgin also meant 'young woman' However we have scriptue in the Book of Mormon (ie Canon) that was translated in the late 1820's by which time the word "virgin" only meant one thing - someone that had never had sex.

If I have a choice between a Bruce R McConkie quote or even a Brigham Young or Joseph F Smith quote or a Book of Mormon quote - I gotta take the Book of Mormon everytime.

We don't know how Jesus was conceived except "by the power of the Holy Ghost" no matter what some people - even high level people in the Church -- claim, NOTHING has ever been made Canon other than; the Virgin Birth, Jesus as the son of God, and conception by the power of the Holy Ghost. The fact of the matter is even us ignorant humans can make a woman pregnant without sex being involved.

Here's something for those of you that think God had sex with Mary -- Did Mary have 2 husbands? God and Joseph? if so then why can't a woman have 2 or more husbands?

or perhaps God had sex with Josephs wife -- or did Joseph have sex with Gods wife? perhaps we should promote 'open marriages" then?

or, like the RCC, do you believe Joseph was an old man that never had sex with Mary even though the Bible mentions Jesus' brother and sisters?

Link to comment

mnn727, we don't have to know what the exact process was to understand that Heavenly Father is the literal father of Christ's physical body. And I don't think we should try to discuss the process. We just know that He is.

I don't buy markk's explanation of how begotten means one thing in Biblical language when referring to the posterity of Adam, and another when referring to Jesus as the only begotten.

Link to comment

I do not know of any Bible passages that support the idea that God has sex.

On the other hand there are some that indicate that he does not.

Job 9:32 tells us that God is not a man. Who would God have sex with? It would have to be something other than his species. What then would the offspring be? If God has sex outside his species, why did he forbid man to do the same?

My wife is not a man either, but she has sex. And who is to say that only men may have sex? Since when is a God robbed of that opportunity? This is the result of neo-platonic ideas about the vulgarity of the body and of sex. They thought it was gross, and many religions still make it sound like a sin. It just seems wrong to such a platonicized person to think God would have sex because sex is dirty and wrong. Silly.

John 4:24 tells us that God is a spirit.

No, it tells us that is spirit. There is no indefinite article in Greek, so the "a' is not there. If you look at John 3:6 you'll also find that that which is born of the Spirit (hopefully you and me) is spirit in the exact same way that God is spirit. You do have a body, I'm guessing, as do I, and I also have sex. Again, silly.

Luke 24:39 tells us that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bones.

But God is not an incorporeal spirit, as I pointed out above.

Jesus said that he was the son of God, but Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born, so it seems that God does not need sex to procreate. Would his purpose for sex be pleasure then? Does he also need a cigarette and a glass of wine?

Now you're just trying to associate it with petty human practices in an attempt to downplay and pervert it. Just silly.

Through adoption, which is the Biblical teaching of how one becomes a Child Of God.

Mark

John 1:12

Men become fathers only through adoption?

Link to comment

It does not say we were created by our Father, but by God, the Father is only our Ftaher through adoption.

It doesn't? Tell me then, why Luke says that Jesus "was supposed" to be the son of Joseph, but he says that Adam was the son of God. Luke takes special care to say that Christ wasn't biologically Joseph's son, even though he was legally, but when it comes to Adam's link to God, there is no distinction. Why is this?

Link to comment

David Bokovoy,

the Latter-day Saint doctrine of God the Father as a literal father would not have surprised biblical authors.

A literal "heavenly mother" would have surprised biblical authors.

In reality, the Bible contains important evidence suggesting that God and his heavenly host were, in fact, sexual beings.

Please provide this Biblical evidence that God was a sexual being.

In the article, Boshoff discusses the fact that Hos 1:2 relies upon the imagery of conjugal infidelity in relationship to the Yahweh-Israel relationship.

This section in Hosea is thought to be biographical, the prophet's personal tragedy figuring as the relation of God to his people Israel. Hosea's marriage to a harlot wife represents Israel's infidelity to her Lord; hence the symbolic names of the children (Hosea 1:4-9). In Hosea 2:4-23 the Lord protests this infidelity and decrees its consequences, but promises restoration in return for amendment; his punishments are medicinal. In Hosea 3 He once more takes back his wife, but only conditionally, signifying God's long-suffering love for Israel and hope for her return.

In Hosea 1:2 ... this verse describes the event in its final consequences, Gomer was not a harlot when Hosea married her.

I find it extremely significant that after Adam and Eve became
Link to comment

maklelan,

God could not have a "body, parts or passions."

The Church Fathers loudly declared the fact that God is an unchangeable, immaterial spirit who has an entirely simple ("incomposite") natureâ??that is, a nature containing no parts. Since all bodies extend through space and thus can be divided into parts, it is clear that God cannot have a body.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...