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Is The Spirit In 1 Kings 22:19-23 Embodied Or Incorporeal?


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Vance,

You wrote:

I'm not sure that there is one that makes this explicit. However, it seems to be a generally accepted view. According to Joseph Fielding McConkie, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit man, a spirit son of God the Father" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:649). John Tvedtnes agrees: "The Holy Ghost is a spirit son of the Father who confirms truth." According to Elden Watson, "'The Holy Ghost' is a male personage. He is a spirit personage, meaning that he does not possess a physical body similar to the resurrected bodies of the Father and the Son, yet he does possess a spirit body. He is a spirit son of our Father in Heaven, and hence is our brother, a younger brother of Jesus Christ, and he is the third member of the Godhead. Victor Ludlow writes, "The Holy Ghost likewise is a spirit son of the Father and a God with eternal power, though his role is different from that of either the Father or the Son" (Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, 57).

Now, if you wish to maintain that this is not the teaching of the LDS Church, that's your business. However, you cannot fairly claim that our saying so is a misrepresentation or distortion unless you are willing to say the same thing about Joseph Fielding McConkie's statement, for example. I refuse to be held hostage to a higher standard of accuracy in stating LDS doctrine than the Encyclopedia of Mormonism!

Edited to add: I posted this before seeing that Vance was banned from this thread.

The aspect of the HG being literal off spring from God is not anything I have ever heard officially taught.

Now, it is no skin off my nose either way. I am just aware of no explicit (official) teaching on the matter.

I will note the only standard I hold anything to is if it is official or not.

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Zakuska and Pa Pa,

We would have much more productive discussions if we could all keep in mind the difference between having a different interpretation of the facts and deliberately misrepresenting the facts. It is possible to come to the conclusion that someone is knowingly misrepresenting the facts, but the threshold of evidence for this claim is higher than simply having reasons for disagreeing with someone's position.

Rob, I want to as a Christian believe that it is "interpretation of the facts", I truly do. But experience with others who profit from anti-Mormonism leads me in a different direction. Now that you have Quinn's comments...who is no fiend to my faith (LDS) will you amend your stance?

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We would have much more productive discussions if we could all keep in mind the difference between having a different interpretation of the facts and deliberately misrepresenting the facts. It is possible to come to the conclusion that someone is knowingly misrepresenting the facts, but the threshold of evidence for this claim is higher than simply having reasons for disagreeing with someone's position.

I agree with you in principle. However, let me make sure I have this straight. When Dr. Peterson comments about deification, and when LDS comment about the Evangelical belief in the trinity, it is misrepresentation. When Rob Bowman and other Evangelicals comment about what the LDS Church believes or teaches, it is a difference of interpretation. Is that about right? :)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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2. The “Host of Heaven”

Micaiah tells Ahab that he saw “all the host of heaven standing beside” the LORD “on his right hand and on his left” (v. 19). If we are to take the spirit’s “standing” in verse 21 anthropomorphically as meaning that the spirit was a man-shaped being standing on literal legs and feet, we should also interpret the host of heaven “standing” on the right and left sides of the LORD literally as well..

I agree. This passage, if interpreted literally, suggests that God is anthropomorphic as well as the spirits standing before him.

Rather than this being a problem for LDS, the passage in question acts as support for multiple LDS beliefs (i.e. the bodily nature of God and the bodily nature of spirits), and underscores the rational precept that spirit children look bodily like their Heavenly Father.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Rob, I want to as a Christian believe that it is "interpretation of the facts", I truly do. But experience with others who profit from anti-Mormonism leads me in a different direction. Now that you have Quinn's comments...who is no fiend to my faith (LDS) will you amend your stance?

Personally I hope he leaves Rev. Walters shadey tabloid article up. It makes it easier to debunk and show the true nature of IRR.

I liked how Quinn got into how much money was spent on benches and the stage and pulpit for these tent revivals ("Camp Meetings"). They were expecting thousands. Good thing (well good for us, bad for the drunk) that we have a report of the drunk man stagering out of the camp dieing, and the Methodist preacher writing a letter to the editor saying how the Newspaper article of his death made it sound like the Methodists were selling booze at the services at the camp meetin... er... "non-existant" revival. But I don't want to derail this thread further so I digress.

Edited by Zakuska
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I spent a few minutes on the site referenced above and found inaccuracies in short order. Mostly under the guise of "Mormons will tell you" without actual quotes or links to the Mormon source. When I pointed them out to Rob I got no reply.

I've given up hope of any corrections of significance.

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Pa Pa,

I have not read Quinn's study yet (it's rather long). When I finish reading it and considering his arguments, I will decide what I think. Fair enough?

I do not "profit from anti-Mormonism." I pursue the truth, and I happen sincerely to hold to the views that I do. If I became convinced that Mormonism was true and published a book saying so, would you dismiss my arguments because I was "profiting" from them? I doubt it. Let's stick to the substantive issues and leave behind the speculations about personal motives.

Rob, I want to as a Christian believe that it is "interpretation of the facts", I truly do. But experience with others who profit from anti-Mormonism leads me in a different direction. Now that you have Quinn's comments...who is no fiend to my faith (LDS) will you amend your stance?

Edited by Rob Bowman
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Wade,

Not everything that Dan Peterson says is a misrepresentation; in fact, I would venture that most of what he says is not misrepresentation. I do disagree with his arguments for deification, and I thought his appeal to a medieval Jewish text as support for the Mormon doctrine being "ancient" was especially problematic, but I try to keep my criticisms focused on the issues, not the person. My complaint is about those who insist repeatedly on making their criticisms of me very personal. I have never criticized Dan or anyone else by making the sorts of vicious attacks that have been made against me on this forum.

When certain Mormons argue that Trinitarians believe in four divine persons, or in none (!), and they refuse to retract these ridiculous claims after having a Trinitarian scholar explain to them why they are blatantly false, yes, those particular Mormons are engaging in misrepresentation. Likewise, if an evangelical were to claim that Mormons believe only they will live forever, or that Mormons believe they will become members of the Godhead, those would be definite misrepresentations. So misrepresentations are possible from both sides, just as honest differences of opinion or interpretation are possible on both sides.

So, do you have this straight now? B:)

I agree with you in principle. However, let me make sure I have this straight. When Dr. Peterson comments about deification, and when LDS comment about the Evangelical belief in the trinity, it is misrepresentation. When Rob Bowman and other Evangelicals comment about what the LDS Church believes or teaches, it is a difference of interpretation. Is that about right? smile.gif

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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DaddyG,

Unfortunately, I'm overloaded with things to do, and I have not been able to respond to everyone. However, if you will provide a link to the post in which you presented what you believe to be inaccuracies, I will take a look at them.

Do you agree that we might have honest disagreements about such things that you consider inaccurate?

I spent a few minutes on the site referenced above and found inaccuracies in short order. Mostly under the guise of "Mormons will tell you" without actual quotes or links to the Mormon source. When I pointed them out to Rob I got no reply.

I've given up hope of any corrections of significance.

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I didn't know Director of Research/Executive Director of the ministry whose web site shall not be linked was a pro-bono position.

If you found Mormonism to be true and published a book saying so you would have to find another line of work. There may be a tiny conflict of interest there for you.

Rob - I do try to give the benefit of the doubt but you have an unfortunate habit of publishing only those things that are unflattering and often misrepresent Mormonism. I have seen you protest your willingess to correct inaccuracies but never have seen you publish a correction about Mormons on your site.

I have debated starting a thread to discuss quotes from your site, but you refusing to de-link temple content makes it a dicey proposition on this site. I also debate drawing more traffic to a site I consider hostile to my beliefs.

In the end you have unfettered access to the web through your ministry web site and there is no open discussion about your opinions and representations. At least here you are able to argue your case.

Edited by DaddyG
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DaddyG,

You wrote:

I didn't know Director of Research/Executive Director of the ministry whose web site shall not be linked was a pro-bono position.

Of course it isn't. But the point is that I arrived at my viewpoint entirely independently of any career or financial considerations, long before I started working at IRR.

You wrote:

If you found Mormonism to be true and published a book saying so you would have to find another line of work. There may be a tiny conflict of interest there for you.

In case you haven't noticed, any evangelical scholar or pastor who abandons evangelicalism (think Bart Ehrman) or even questions pieces of it (think Rob Bell) becomes an instant celebrity and media darling. It would undoubtedly be a great career move, if that was my interest or motivation. I never worry about and rarely even think about what my employer might say if I take a particular position on an issue. I approach my work as a scholar, not as a hack for some employer. If you were privy to the discussions that we have in the office at IRR, you would know that I am constantly raising questions about the validity or accuracy of various common criticisms of the LDS religion. I have an annoying habit of questioning everything.

You wrote:

Rob - I do try to give the benefit of the doubt but you have an unfortunate habit of publishing only those things that are unflattering and often misrepresent Mormonism.

This simply is not so. I'm not allowed to link to the site, but there are definite and significant exceptions to your generalization.

You wrote:

I have seen you protest your willingess to correct inaccuracies but never have seen you publish a correction about Mormons on your site.

I have made corrections to some of the articles on our site. However, so far, the Mormons on this forum who have criticized IRR's website have criticized it either for recommending imperfect resources (and all resources are imperfect) or for trumped-up accusations of misrepresentation where none exists (e.g., Vance's complaint about an article that cites the 1997 edition of Gospel Principles), or for having one page with temple content (which is not a matter of inaccuracies).

You wrote:

I have debated starting a thread to discuss quotes from your site, but you refusing to de-link temple content makes it a dicey proposition on this site.

You don't need to do that. You stated previously that in another thread you had listed some inaccuracies. Just link to that other post so I can see what those criticisms were.

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Of course it isn't. But the point is that I arrived at my viewpoint entirely independently of any career or financial considerations, long before I started working at IRR.

So you are paid to do this (question other's faiths, in a very poor light compared to your own) and you do not see that as profiting? Confused. But that is not the topic...do you understand now how spirits have bodies without being corporeal?
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I'm not sure that there is one that makes this explicit.

Case closed! The FACT is,

the Mormon Church teaches . . . that the Son and Holy Ghost are the literal offspring of Heavenly Father and a celestial wife

is a false statement.

Just as,

It (the Mormon church) also teaches that those who achieve godhood will have spirit children who will worship and pray to them, just as we worship and pray to God the Father (Gospel Principles, p. 302).

is also a false statement.

And, to get back to the topic, this,

The usual meaning and reference of the biblical expression “the host of heaven” is to the stars, planets, and similar observed objects in the sky (see especially Deut. 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kings 23:5; Isa. 34:4; Jer. 8:2; 33:22; Dan. 8:10; cf. also Ps. 33:6; Neh. 9:6a; Isa. 40:26; 45:12).

is also untrue.

You are reading something into the text that isn't there.

Deut. 4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Deut. 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

2 Kgs. 23:5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

Isa. 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

Jer. 8:2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

Jer. 33:22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

Dan. 8:10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

. . . . .

Neh. 9:6 Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Ps. 33:6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Isa. 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

Isa 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

Absolutely, NOTHING in those verses requires or even indicates that "the host of heaven" to includes astronomical bodies.

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Rob,

I'm wondering if you believe the word "spirit" ever refers to a person who doesn't have a mortal body, and if you realize the word "spirit" can also be translated as "ghost" in many cases.

I realize the word spirit can also refer to air, or breath, or a general atmosphere in some cases, but if you think about a "spirit" as a "ghost", and the ghost of a person, you might have a bit easier time realizing a spirit is actually a person and that such a person would appear in the form of a body.

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Vance,

You were banned from this thread, remember? However, I will be happy to see you give a direct answer to this question: Did Joseph Fielding McConkie misrepresent or distort the teachings of the LDS Church when he wrote, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit man, a spirit son of God the Father" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:649)?

Yes or No, please.

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Ahab,

Yes, a spirit is a person, with or without a body. I have always maintained that spirits are persons. But I believe that there can be persons who do not have bodies, and that in fact there are such persons.

There is a difference between what a spirit is and how it might appear to someone in the physical realm. Remember, I stated that spirits can appear in bodily form.

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Vance,

You were banned from this thread, remember? However, I will be happy to see you give a direct answer to this question: Did Joseph Fielding McConkie misrepresent or distort the teachings of the LDS Church when he wrote, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit man, a spirit son of God the Father" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:649)?

Yes or No, please.

The answer to that question is irrelevant to what "the Mormon Church (actually) teaches", and you know it. This is just a diversion attempt.

Perhaps you failed to read the "Preface" of Encyclopedia of Mormonism, you know, the part that says,

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, and its contents do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In no sense does the Encyclopedia have the force and authority of scripture.

NOW, back to the topic of the thread.

Your argument has been shredded.

Do you have a response to that fact?

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Pa Pa,

If spirits have bodies, then by definition they are corporeal, because corporeal means "bodily" or "of the body" or "possessing a body." Corporeal derives from the Latin corpus, "body."

Not really.

1 : having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body: as

a : not spiritual

b : not immaterial or intangible : substantial

http://www.merriam-w...onary/corporeal

cor·po·re·al

   [kawr-pawr-ee-uhthinsp.pngl, -pohr-] dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif Show IPA

adjective

1.

of the nature of the physical body; bodily.

2.

material; tangible: corporeal property.

http://dictionary.re...rowse/corporeal

corporeal [kɔːˈpɔːrɪəl]adj

1. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) of the nature of the physical body; not spiritual

2. of a material nature; physical

http://www.thefreedi...y.com/corporeal

Edited by Vance
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Vance,

The issue is not whether what the article on IRR's website said about the Holy Ghost is "what the Mormon Church (actually) teaches." The issue is whether what the article said "misrepresents" or "distorts" what the LDS Church teaches, as you originally alleged. If you are not prepared to say that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism misrepresents or distorts what the LDS Church teaches, then you cannot legitimately claim that our website does so when we say exactly the same thing.

You have no business posting in this thread, especially when you continue to post off-topic attacks and refuse to answer a simple question about the substance of your attack.

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Vance,

The issue is not whether what the article on IRR's website said about the Holy Ghost is "what the Mormon Church (actually) teaches."

That is exactly the issue. The statement made there is false.

The issue is whether what the article said "misrepresents" or "distorts" what the LDS Church teaches, as you originally alleged.

Sorry, but if you claim something that isn't true, which you do, then it is a distortion and a misrepresentation. Claiming that the LDS Church teaches something that it doesn't, then it is a distortion and a misrepresentation.

If you are not prepared to say that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism misrepresents or distorts what the LDS Church teaches, then you cannot legitimately claim that our website does so when we say exactly the same thing.

What I have shown is very clear, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism does NOT speak for the Church, and you know it.

You have no business posting in this thread, especially when you continue to post off-topic attacks and refuse to answer a simple question about the substance of your attack.

You are the one who keeps derailing this thread. I am simply responding to your derails.

Now, if you want to get back on topic, why don't you respond to the fact that your argument has been shredded?

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maklelan,

I wondered if this topic would get your interest. Say, have you seen my thread on the Mormon use of the Alphabet of Rabbi Akiva? You might want to take a look at it, since I specifically critique a statement you made about it.

I saw someone mention it on CARM, but I am banned, so I could not comment. I didn't get the quote from Patai, I got it from an article by Barry Bickmore and used it in an article I wrote as a sophomore at BYU (which you can find here). At that point I didn't bother to look very closely at the text's provenance and just assumed it was part of the early talmud. I acknowledge I should have been more thorough, but I had only been doing that kind of research for about six months, so I was still pretty bad at it. I do still think the text in question comes from a much earlier ideology, though. The fact that it is found in a late text does not mean it originates in that late text. We read in Sanhedrin 65b, which does come from the chronological range I originally described for Akiva's Alpha Beta, "Raba said: If the righteous desired it, they could [by living a life of absolute purity] be creators, for it is written, But your iniquities have distinguished between [yourself and God]." In Sanhedrin 38b we read that Akiva asserted that David sat on a throne alongside God's, sharing rule over the world. Another rabbi rejects this teaching. While the idea of humanity's equality with God and potential for independent creative acts was more fleshed out in the later mystical literature, we can see it is found in the earliest rabbinic texts. Origen and other exegetes like him also promoted a similar view of deification in the Christian tradition up to around the sixth century.

Regarding my citation of 1 Kings 8:27, you wrote:

Actually, there is such a rule. It is the hermeneutical principle of differentiating between using stock imagery or language of the culture and making a direct affirmation or assertion.

Can you provide a publication that explains this rule? Can you explain what criteria help us make such a determination, and show those criteria employed in these verses?

Here's an illustration of the difference. If I say, "The sun rose at 7:20 am today," my use of the term "rose" is stock cultural language and implies nothing about the relative motions of the earth and the sun--even though that language originated from a time when people believed that the sun literally moved around the earth. On the other hand, if I state, "The earth rotates on its axis approximately once every 24 hours," that is an assertion about the nature of the earth's motion.

In the case of 1 Kings 22:19, we do not have an assertion or affirmation about the nature of God, whereas we do have one in 1 Kings 8:27.

You'll have to show this rather than just assert it. I see no reason to understand one as figurative and the other as literal. I think they both mean to communicate the exact same idea of God's literal physicality.

That is, in 22:19, Micaiah refers to Yahweh seated on his throne, but makes no assertion about the nature of Yahweh. He doesn't say anything like, "Yahweh is a being that looks just like a man, and he sits on a throne in a realm outside the heavens." The description of Yahweh sitting on his throne with his army on either side of him uses stock religious imagery but makes no statement, assertion, or affirmation about what this language means.

But we have numerous, numerous examples of this exact language being used in numerous different motifs with no indication anywhere that it is meant to be understood as anything other than literal. The great H. Wheeler Robinson pointed out almost 70 years ago that, "One of the chief perils in the exegesis of ancient writings is that we should take figuratively that which in origin was meant quite realistically." There simply is no indication anywhere that these divine council motifs were meant to be understood as anything but literal. I've already shown that your imposition of this "God's too big to sit on a throne" lens first assumes without argument we're there dealing with a sober declaration of fact over and against the other figurative language, and second misreads your proof-text by neglecting the unilateral evidence that the phrase "heavens and earth" do not mean the entire physical universe, but just the earth and the delineated regions above it.

Next, the statement in 1 Kgs 8:27 is also stock religious imagery devoid of any statement, assertion, or affirmation about what that language means. The stock imagery is that God is larger than the heavens and the earth. The idea of him sitting on the throne of the heavens is parallel with the idea of him stretching out the heavens with his hand, and his spirit hovering above the heavens and the earth before they were separated. We find the same imagery in Enuma Elish, where the heavens and the earth are created from the split corpus of Tiamat, who was killed by Baal. Obviously Baal himself cannot dwell within Tiamat's corpus, so obviously he could not dwell in a little temple created by the humans living upon half of that corpus. The consistent idea is that God exists in a much larger physical realm that also contains the heavens and the earth, which take up a small part of that realm.

In 8:27, on the other hand, Solomon makes a direct statement that asserts or affirms something about the nature of Yahweh. He observes that although he has just built a huge house for Yahweh, the reality is that Yahweh cannot literally live in that house, because not only can that house not contain Yahweh but even the heavens and the highest heaven cannot contain him. Hermeneutically, we must allow the explicit statement of 8:27 to guide our understanding of 22:19 rather than the other way around.

But we have to assume that his statement refers to the heavens and the earth as all of the physical space in existence. As I've explained several times, though, it does not. The heavens and the earth refer to a limited portion of all the physical realms in the ancient Near Eastern cosmology.

You wrote:

I would like to see some clear evidence that in Israelite cosmology there is a realm above even the highest heaven.

Well, the phrase is not "highest heaven," but the "heaven of the heavens," and this is not a consistent element of Israelite cosmology. It's more hyperbole than anything else, and there are no grounds for asserting the heaven of heavens must be imposed upon any cosmology that does not mention it. However, this "heaven of heavens," where it is mentioned, was created by God just like the rest (Neh 9:6). God exists apart from his creation in Israelite thought, and God needed somewhere to dwell. Here's a decent depiction of the Israelite cosmology:

cosmic-dome.jpg

As Ps 29:10 states, God is enthroned above the waters of the heavens. His throne exists beyond the heavens. Here's another more developed one from a bit later:

Ancient%20Cosmology2.jpg

And another:

hebrew-cosmology.jpg?w=492

This last one mistakenly differentiates between the firmament and the heavens. The firmament are the heavens. The waters above the firmament could be called the heaven of heavens, but so could their boundary, which was created by God (Job 26:10). He obviously exists apart from this system he created.

I realize that you claimed Isaiah 66:1 as such a reference, but I disagree: see below.

You wrote:

It is, frankly, impossible to take Isaiah 66:1 "literally." The text does not mean that Yahweh literally has his feet propped up on the earth!

But we should understand that statement that the heavens and the earth are not big enough to contain him as a literal statement of scientific fact as it was understood then? If the above statement is ludicrous, why is the statement you want to read literally not ludicrous? Both are rhetorically saying the exact same thing. God is physically bigger than the heavens and the earth. I didn't say Isa 66:1 should be understood to mean that God actually relaxes on the heavens and puts his feet up on the earth. It should be understood literally in terms of God's physical relationship to the heavens and the earth, and every indication is that that's how that relationship was viewed back then. You assert such a relationship as fact in Solomon's statement, but you're not willing to let that relationship operate within an ancient Near Eastern worldview. You only let it operate within your presentistic worldview.

Nor is heaven, by anyone's reasoning so far as I know, a literal chair. I have yet to meet anyone who will defend the statement as literal once these difficulties are pointed out.

I know this doesn't matter to you, but other Mormons here might be curious to know how the conclusion that Yahweh is bigger than heaven and earth is compatible with the First Vision (for example).

I don't believe that the Israelite view of Yahweh as bigger than the heavens and the earth is accurate. It was just a position commonly held among the cultures of the time period.

You wrote:

I have explained above why Solomon's statement in 1 Kings 8:27 is not merely rhetoric and why it should be regarded as affirming something about the nature of Yahweh: because it is making an affirmation about the nature of Yahweh!

This is an argument by assertion.

I have also explained above why Isaiah 66:1 cannot be taken literally.

Again, you provided no explanation, you simply asserted that it cannot be taken literally:

It is, frankly, impossible to take Isaiah 66:1 "literally." The text does not mean that Yahweh literally has his feet propped up on the earth!

Nor is heaven, by anyone's reasoning so far as I know, a literal chair. I have yet to meet anyone who will defend the statement as literal once these difficulties are pointed out.

You didn't actually point to any difficulties, though, you just said it's impossible.

You wrote:

In my opinion, the considerations I have given lead to a different conclusion.

I don't believe you've adequately addressed the considerations to which I've pointed that show your conclusion is fallacious.

You wrote:

I've already asked for evidence that this was the common Israelite cosmology. Your statement that God's throne was beyond the heavens is not literally compatible with Isaiah 66:1, which says (translating woodenly) that "the heavens [are] my throne."

You're taking my assertion that the text is an accurate reflection of Israelite ideas of God's physical relationship to the heavens and the earth a bit too far.

Edited by maklelan
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