Monday, May 31, 2010

Image and Likeness - Installment One


God said, “Let us make man according to our Image, according to our Likeness; and let them rule the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and the cattle, and all the creeping things that creep upon the earth.” And God create man, according to the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1.26-27)

Man, Woman, the Image and Likeness of God and the Fall

This text will examine the “Fall” of Adam and Eve as recounted in Genesis chapters one through three. Emphasis will be on what the text means in saying that man is created according to the “image and likeness” of God. This analysis will seek to give light to the question of what the transgression of Adam and Eve was and what is the death that is said to be the result of the Fall. The discussion will therefore necessarily take place in a soteriological context.

For the most part, the referenced texts of Genesis will follow the reading of the Septuagint Greek and not the Hebrew. The reason for this decision lies in the importance of the Septuagint as the standard scriptural text used by the Church Fathers. The Hebrew texts available today (generally descendants of the Masoretic endeavor) often do not reflect the same emphases as the Septuagint. Some scholars have even argued that the Hebrew texts themselves were altered to deemphasize or eliminate readings that favored Christian arguments against the Jews. Current debate using the texts discovered in Qumran has indicated a closer affinity to the earlier Hebrew text exists in the Septuagint than in the majority texts derived from the Masoretes’ text.

The quotations of the text here will thus be a blend of the Revised Standard Version and the New English Translation of the Septuagint and my own rendering. The simple goal in producing these quotations will be to provide a clearer English translation of the Greek. I will not engage in ‘bending’ the translation to fit my argument, but will choose a translation that agrees with the Church Fathers’ received understanding of the text. I invite those who can read the Greek to review and give feedback on the translations themselves, especially if they judge the translation to be in error or merely inferior.

Finally, I welcome comments that address the issues discussed, my analysis, interpretations and arguments, and discussion that intends to contribute to clarity.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Genesis Study

I have written a study on the fall of the First Parents, discussing what Scripture actually tells us and the theological products that flow from that content. If there is sufficient interest, I will begin to upload it (in easily bite-sized pieces) for consideration. As per my motto, there is nothing really new in it, but I firmly believe that Truth cannot be stated too frequently or affirmed too strongly.

I'll leave this post up for a few days and tally comments one way or another, or not at all, and decide by next week.

Cardinal Political Firestarter

It seems the Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec has gotten himself into serious PR trouble. The Cardinal spoke out recently espousing 'opinions' that touched off a firestorm of protest and invective from the press, various advocacy groups and even the Parti Quebecois. The Quebec Parliament went so far as to enact a Provincial law to specifically contradict the Canadian Senior Catholic Cleric and show unyielding opposition to his views. Indeed, The Cardinal's statements have been characterized as barbaric and despicable.

What are the comments that started such a firestorm?

I understand very well that a woman who's been raped is dealing with trauma and that she needs to be helped. But she needs to do so with respect for the being that is in her womb. It is not responsible for what happened. It's the rapist who is responsible. But there's already a victim. Do we need to have another one? The child is not responsible for how he was conceived; it is the aggressor who is responsible. We can see him as another victim.

Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop, Quebec City

Update: Our good friend Josephus Flavius at Byzantine Texas has reproduced a discussion on this issue from Touchstone Magazine's Mere Comments. I am humbled to have "gotten the scoop" on both Tony Esolen and Josephus as this is a quite rare occurrence.

Differences in Perspective

Interpretation, meaning and mnemonics are everything when encountering a quotation. I recently came across two examples of this related to the statement: "The Church is conservative by nature." The one is taken from an interview with the current Patriarch of Moscow, Kyrill I from when he served as administrator of the Church after the death of Patriarch Alexey II. The second is from a 'forum discussion' back in 2005 with the commentator speaking on the election of Pope Benedict XVI of Rome.

The Church is conservative by nature, as it maintains the apostolic belief," he added. If we want to pass the belief from one generation to another for centuries, the belief must be intact. Any reform damaging the belief, traditions and values is called heresy. Kyril I of Moscow, 2008

The church is conservative by nature, but within it there's room for a lot of difering (sic) ideas. IMO the church has no other chance but to get with the times and modernize itself. If Ratzinger remains as conservative as he's always been and lasts more than 5 years, the catholic church is about to enter one of it's worse moments since it was instated as the oficial (sic) religion of the Roman Empire. They have no other chance but to modernize themselves... and today the Cardinals really f*cked it up with that. SymphonyofDreams, April 2005.

Both of these statements should be borne in mind when considering 'liturgical renewal'.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random Comments

"Christianity is going to, at some point, offend people in the secular world."

Professor Thomas Kidd
Baylor University

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All Things Must Pass

Chapter One
On Salvation and Paradise.

4.Everything will pass and will end as if had never existed, whereas works done in God will remain with the soul that worked them so that the worker may reap eternal life from them. Blessed are the spiritual philosophers of God, who give away transient things and store up eternal things, so that when they depart, they will find their treasures in God’s treasury with accrued interest. Blessed are they who clean their hearts from the weeds of sin and cultivate the good seed, for the time will come for them to reap sheaves of eternal life! Blessed are they who sow tears with spiritual fasting, that is, always hungering and thirsting for good works, for they will reap eternal joy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Feast of the Ascension

Troparion of the Ascension of our Lord in Tone Four

Christ our God who gloriously ascended into heaven and gladdened your disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit: through your blessing, You confirmed them in their belief that You are truly the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

I'm not into spouting political platitudes or publicly endorsing particular candidates or parties. That is said to satisfy those 'watch dogs' who are more vigilant in ensuring clergy and religious don't 'step outside the lines' than in focusing on their own spiritual and moral welfare.

In addition, I have every respect for law enforcement personnel locally, regionally, and at the state and federal level. At the risk of sounding cliched, 'some of my best friends' have been police over the years, and a couple have been family members.

With all of those disclaimers stated, I came across this video in reading an article related to the ongoing controversy about Arizona's new illegal alien law. While some of the examples are a bit humorous (intentionally) and the tone could be said to play into prejudices about the police as "the Man", the information presented is factual and basic common sense. The conversation after the 'film' is at least thought provoking and worth the consideration of citizens and residents in the US. The discussion took place at the CATO Institute.

My final comment: An informed citizenry is the first defence against despotism and corruption; and Christians do not err in knowing their rights and obligations in the society in which they live.

My only question is: What rights do I have when having to (being forced by circumstances or geography) fly? It seems every other time I have to travel by air I end up in the 'pat down' line. You know: "Hey a guy with beard, black robe, funny hat... Hmm, maybe that pectoral cross is a ruse being used to hide terrorist intentions...."