Anyone heard of this book. I just downloaded it and the first few pages have grabbed my attention.
Have downloaded ready to read later - certainly the title is ambitious
Atonement - God's Wrath upon the wicked
A passage that I found interesting.
A note whilst passing through on my way back to work:
I have indeed downloaded the text, for full perusal (and maybe some detailed comments) later.
While I appreciate and agree with some of the things the author is saying, though, I do urge caution: his attempt at illustrating what he means by ‘looking at exactly the same facts but in a different way’ (i.e. his revisional retelling of the plot of the movie version of The Wizard of Oz), involves ignoring or suppressing narrative details, creatively ignoring meaningful contexts in order to substitute other meanings for the narrative, and outright inventing other narrative details.
If his point had been to complain that theologians (and anti-theologians, more or less in reaction to the theologians) have been similarly abusing the Biblical narrative, resulting in several manifestly false meanings being attributed to the texts–which likely is a point he is trying to make, later if not here–I might be sympathetic. But the example was overtly presented as being a case of taking exactly the same facts and simply finding another (drastically different) way of reading them, as a way of illustrating that there is (supposedly) no ‘master narrative’, no actually correct way of reading and accurately understanding the narrative.
Which would mean, that there is no actually wrong way to read the narrative, either–even if that involves ignoring or suppressing narrative details, creatively ignoring contexts in order to allow alternate meanings the contexts would logically exclude, outright inventing narrative details different from what are actually found in the text, etc.
(So, why bother complaining about New Atheist complaints about how the texts have often been read and interpreted…?? Or joining them in their complaints? Or whatever?)
He probably means well, but the attempt is a troublesome failure whichever way it’s looked at. (Observe, by the way, that we’re supposed to be assessing his own narrative and thematic thrusts in his book, such as they are, in order to accurately detect and apply some kind of properly correct meaning that he is attempting to communicate–hopefully in order to accept the ideas he is meaning to communicate to us.)
Even if he doesn’t understand what he did in regard to his WizOz illustration, but only failed accidentally to meet his stated goal, that still would not inspire loads of confidence in me that he will be more apt at… doing whatever the heck it is he intends to try to do with the Biblical narrative (or narratives).
But, maybe he gets better later. I’ll hope so. Like I said, I do appreciate and agree with some of the things the author is saying. (Which requires there to be, in fact, something approximating a ‘master narrative’ in his own work for me to be corresponding with–or against, as the case may be. )
Back to ‘work’ work, and editing.
I read the whole book today. Still trying to process. Many a passage made me wince. There did seem to be some underlying truths in the book, but maybe I am easily deceived?
It’s always okay to appreciate a truth that’s perceived, I think. (Even if the perception turns out to be faulty. I point I try to make sure to accept, even if the other guy appears to be at odds with me regarding the truth. Thus: let us walk according to however much light we can see, looking for more light thereby.)
I do look forward to reading the whole thing, later.
I thought it was more a case of his not thinking to put in ‘how should it really be read, if we were to be more accurate to the story?’ than ‘maybe we can fit another interpretation in here somehow’. I mean, I do see how you get that message, but it’s beyond me how anyone could have such an apathetic attitude toward the very essence of truth.
Although, reading further and knowing what interpretation he’s bringing to the table, I can see how that might be true. How anyone could believe that we are living in the peaceful millenium (and especially the New Heavens and Earth!) is dizzying to me. I know some take much of the Bible to be metaphor, but to that extent?
I do agree with his analysis that God’s kingdom is here and ready to be expressed even now, though. But even Jesus said that before he went to the cross.
I dunno. I haven’t read the whole thing, just a bit into chapter one. Maybe someone else can come by and shed more light on this.
I’ve had the same complaint for years.
One of them claimed to be an intern at the White House! Pardon my possible rudeness, but it’s hard for me to conceive how a person could be faced by the constant problems of international strife, threat of war and political conflicts and say that we are living in the thousand years of peace and life and liberty that it was promised the Messiah would establish (which has somehow lasted twice as long? although I suppose that part doesn’t need to necessarily be literal).
That is incredible.
Have you seen this?
As I said to Jason (in the Eschatology section, under the topic heading “Odd”), It seems strange that this technology should become available at the very time major issues converge to make it attractive (especially to humanists, philosophically committed to solving the world’s problems through one world government.)
Major issues like the threats of Islamic terrorism, domestic terrorism, nuclear and biological terrorism; and the political backlash (and finger pointing) that followed 911 and Katrina.
Oh yes, I know a good little bit about the conspiracies going on beneath the surface right now. Planning for the one world government has been going on basically since humanity’s beginning, and has evolved in many ways since. It seems particularly strong in the Western world right now.
I’ve been planning on writing a science fiction novel that predicts the kinds of things that are going to happen to make way for this. I’ve seen visions of the future and know that before a globally dominant government there will have to be all kinds of rampant chaos and anarchy which the conspirators will use to unite everyone under one huge banner for mankind.
But by the same token God will use it to decide who is for his kingdom and who is not. Everyone will be divided at a very basic level of foundational good versus foundational evil so that his right judgments will be known, and the light will become bright as day and the dark pitch black.
This is a necessary step to prepare for the eventual salvation of all, for no one could be saved without first knowing what good is and what God is like.
Jason seems to be working on a similar project (and I’d like to buy and read both books they’re published.)
That makes sense to me.
Thank you stellar.
The Edit button is missing again, but I meant to say that “I’d like to buy and read both books when they’re published.”
I understood. Thank you very much for your encouragement! I appreciate it.
The one thing that stood out to me was that the author said that current preachers think that they are accurate in saying that the end was coming soon while Biblical writers talked like they believed the end was coming soon.
I’m not sure that the biblical authors did think that. That can be discussed, though.
Jesus said that there were those standing there who would see him coming in the clouds. John the Revelator said these things that would soon come to pass for just a couple.
He didn’t say that they would see him coming in the clouds, He said they would see Him coming in His kingdom.
If Jesus made a mistake, then we are dealing with a fallible personna who, although might provide a great amount of love and a strong sense of justice, would nevertheless not be the supernaturally wise power that He is otherwise portrayed as, in keeping with His accurate prediction of His death and resurrection.
It is not likely that the disciples made a mistake here, either, in remembering and relating to others what He had said, unless, of course, we are willing to throw out at least a good amount of the rest of the gospels. A saying as potent and specifically relevant to their lives would not be vaguely remembered. It might be said that this is one of His sayings that would be remembered the best.
So we are left with a condundrum: since the clouds did not part revealing the Son of Man coming back in the clouds (at least as far as we know) and certainly the kingdoms of this world haven’t crumbled and a new age arisen, then what was He talking about, assuming that the rest of the accounts were accurate and Jesus was a reliable prophetic speaker?
Certainly we can’t ignore the fact that He said He would be coming in His kingdom (and not in the clouds) and that He was constantly speaking as if the kingdom were at hand. He also said that the kingdom could not be viewed externally but was within His followers’ hearts, while the Jews were looking all about them for some source of a wise and just rule over their nation!
So, it is more than possible that Jesus was not speaking of an external kingdom: in fact, it is far more likely that He wasn’t. And, it seems, when His disciples questioned Him about when He would restore the kingdom, Jesus said, quite mysteriously, that it was not for them to know! He who had said it would come in their lifetimes! But, He says, you will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. What is this? Well, there seems to be a running theme where Jesus says that He will never leave or abandon them, couched by promises that the Holy Spirit will be everything and more that He was to them.
Paul says later on that none stood with him at a particular point in his life, “but the Lord stood with me.” What does this mean? Jesus didn’t appear manifest Himself to him again, did He? From all appearances no, but this is not the point. It was not that the Lord was physically there embodied in some form or another externally but that His love, His joy, His comfort, His peace were there, and therefore He was there Himself.
Paul also argued that those believers who have called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are united into one body - they are the body of Christ, or in other words, His active members on earth. He also refers to those who are sent by Him as His ambassadors. In other words, for all intents and purposes, the body of Christ on earth is Christ on earth, is His kingdom! And as long as they live on earth, the Son of Man has, in the truest sense, come in His kingdom.
Not that the kingdom has been restored to Israel, of course… but that the kingdom is here, and the Son of Man has come in it.
Mark and Luke writes that Jesus said none would taste death before “the kingdom comes” and Mark adds at the end, “in power.” Jesus said that the kingdom is here, but that there would be some who would not taste death before it comes “in power”. The kingdom is something which has been coming, is at the door, and is yet to come. It comes by very slow degrees, in God’s special timing, with each arriving revelation of hope a new dawn upon its inhabitants.
Of course, even if we were to refer to the coming of the kingdom as the end of the age, we would also be left with the enigmatic saying of Jesus to Peter that, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” Because of the rumor which developed as a result of this, causing some kind of consternation or bewilderment on the part of the other disciples, it seems that they knew that the final coming of the kingdom, or the end of the age, would not come within their lifetimes, or at least as if they began to realize this over time.
There is a legend, I believe, which likes to believe that John did not in fact die (especially as his death is a mystery to us - he is the only disciple on record as not having been martyred and most just assume he died naturally) but continued to live through the ages until now, awaiting Christ’s return. We do not really know for sure, nor does it matter, just as Jesus said to Peter. All it shows is that this possibility remains an option for the saying of Jesus we are referring to, although it is perhaps not the interpretation which brings to light Christ’s heart in the matter.
As for the saying in John’s book, it comes second in importance to the saying of Christ (obviously we would like to see that Christ’s sayings were completely accurate if He is the all-powerful Son of God whom we must trust ourselves with, whatever may come of His disciples’ sayings) because of its prophetic voice. We would hope too that the closest disciple of Christ who claimed to simply record what he heard would have been at least almost as accurate as Christ Himself.
However, we know from the Meditteranean-Judean perspective that “soon” was a very open-ended term and that appointments could be easily broken or held in a kind of tense flux because of unforeseen events which were viewed as quite an unavoidable and natural part of life. “Soon” would then more likely mean “as soon as I am able” or “soon as conditions make it possible.”
We also have Peter telling us that we must not be impatient, as a day to the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.
But now I’ve run out of time.