Saturday, December 15, 2007

Answering The Huckabee Query

I am neither a Mormon, nor am I a Baptist. I have no denominational affiliation. When I look at a certain denomination's doctrine, I think they either get it wrong or they get it right. The problem with denominational Christianity is, it tends to divide Christians at certain levels by splitting hairs over semantics.

The political debate in the GOP right now seems to be settling in on whether or not a candidate is a true Christian or Christian enough, for some people's tastes. Early on, the Dobson group, known as Focus On The Family, sought to sit in judgment of Fred Thompson's church affiliation (The Church Of Christ). Now, they are the driving force in Mike Huckabee's candidacy, as well as being slightly responsible for Mitt Romney's dip in popularity.

I dare say that none of this means much to me in the political arena. So, that's as far I as I am willing to go with this portion of my essay. And since I do not intend to pit Mormonism against Calvinism, let's look at something that has fueled this present fire in both the political and theological realms. Let's look at a biblical answer to a common tenet of Mormonism and the responses and cries of heresy it generates with evangelicals, when this topic is discussed.

When asked about Mormonism, the former Arkansas governor replied with the now famous:

"Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

No doubt Huckabee, being a Baptist minister, has read the OT prophets. If he hasn't he might want to and if he has, he may want to read them again. If he reads Isaiah and Ezekial, which are often considered two of the major prophets, he can go a long way to solving this mystery in his mind. It's been settled in mine for years, and I have no Doctor Of Divinity title or any other theological degree. (Apparently, neither does Huckabee)

Let's first look at Ezekial 28: 13-15:

13) Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

14) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.


Here, we can safely surmise that someone was in God's favor at one point, and then wasn't. He walked in the garden of God and enjoyed all of the precious things God had to offer. Much of the specific descriptions of these things are metaphorical, but the point still remains the same.

The being that this passage pertains to was "the anointed cherub" and was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created, until something caused him to fall out of favor.

If we really want to know what that something was, we need to jump to Isaiah 14:

12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.


I think it's safe to say that Lucifer, Satan, the devil, or whatever you want to refer to him as, held a high position in Heaven, long before mankind was even created. If we look back to one of my earlier posts (describing the beginning of all creation), we have to understand that whatever that position was, it had to be just below that of Christ. Therefore, based on these principles I have attempted to establish, I think there's a good chance Lucifer sparked a rebellion in Heaven and attempted to overthrow it.

But to get back to the original premise before all of this took place, we have to believe there had to be a time when Christ and Lucifer were spiritual brothers, under one God. Lucifer enjoyed all of the things that Christ enjoyed in that period, before he set out to usurp the authority of both God and Christ. If this was true, then the answer to Rev. Huckabee's question has to be a resounding yes. They were at one time and are now separated from each other forever, from the poor choice made by one of them.

I am not sure the brother description is the best way to describe the dynamics of the relationship between the two, at this point in time. But, for lack of better terms by those that usually tell only part of the story, it'll do for now.


13 comments:

Mustang said...

Was the concept of Lucifer born in myth? The word Lucifer is Latin, meaning “morning star,” and it was derived from the Greek word heosphoros, which was translated from the Hebrew word Helel ben Shahar, meaning “son of dawn.” Some claim that Christian references to Lucifer is merely a poetic appellation of Satan. I have my doubts about the latter because it is difficult to imagine Christians being poetic in any era.

Twenty-seven-hundred years ago, Jews were captured by Cyrus of Persia, many of whom were assimilated into Persian culture, so that even today there remains a Jewish population in Iran who are physically, culturally, and linguistically indistinguishable from the modern day Iranian. During this period of captivity, as we might expect, Hebrews were exposed to Persian belief systems, notably Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster (Zartosht) was a Persian prophet who lived as early as the 10th Century BC who reasoned that the universe represents a cosmic struggle between truth and falsehood. The cardinal concept of truth is free will, and it is the purpose of humankind, like all other creation, is to sustain truth. For humankind, this occurs through active participation in life and the exercise of good thoughts, words, and deeds.

It happens that the concept of Satan, or Lucifer, never reveals itself in the Bible until Isaiah 14 — written after the release of Hebrews Persian captivity around 550 BC. And so there is a body of thought suggesting that early Jews had no concept of “good versus evil” until after they were exposed to the ideas of Persian religion (Zoroastrianism); there was no natural enemy of God (Satan) until the idea presented itself to early scribes long after "Genesis." This brings us to the puzzle I may have mentioned in the past — if there was no anti-god until Isaiah, how do we explain the story of Satan in the book of Genesis? And I’m afraid the only possible answer to this is, as I have suggested, once an ancient Hebrew language was created, ancient texts were continually re-written to preserve them on materials (papyrus) that did not have a long shelf-life. In this process of updating the texts, scribes modified the original to reflect new understanding, or logic, associated with the development of Hebrew culture — perfectly understandable, especially since we are today continuously “updating” history books for the same reason.

So I must conclude that not only is Mr. Huckabee self-limiting (and selective) in his understanding of ancient events, but he like so many others “of the faith,” are much too quick to judge others. I was raised a Methodist. I have attended a number of Churches, including Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Pentecostal — and if there is one thing that stands out among all of these is their willingness to defy Christ’s admonition “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” As you by now realize, I am plagued by doubts in my faith. This business does not give me much hope that I will ever find what I am looking for in religion, other than, as it presently exists in my heart. If that damns me to eternal suffering, then there isn’t much I can do about that, simply because I refuse to affiliate with the likes of Huckabee, or Oral Roberts, or any other thief in sheep’s clothing.

Mustang said...

Did you notice how judgmental I was in the latter part of the above comments? LOL

LASunsett said...

Mustang,

//And so there is a body of thought suggesting that early Jews had no concept of “good versus evil” until after they were exposed to the ideas of Persian religion (Zoroastrianism); there was no natural enemy of God (Satan) until the idea presented itself to early scribes long after "Genesis."//

If they knew the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they surely knew of the concept of evil through the defying of God's orders. If they knew that Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy (because God had accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's), they had a concept of evil.

I think they knew and understood evil because they had the Law of Moses to define it. Thou shalt not steal, kill, covet.....

But as far as the concept of a war taking place in Heaven and Satan being cast out of Heaven as a result, you are absolutely right in your assertion that this wasn't known to the Jews, prior to the writing by Isaiah. But Isaiah never saw the Persian captivity, his time was before the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities that ended the period known as the "divided kingdom".

Ezekial's time was during the Babylonian captivity. The Jews had assimilated in Babylon and allowed to participate in the society, but Ezekial warned them of falling prey to the false gods, worshiped by their hosts.

The question then becomes, was there some influence on the writings of both of these men to help them develop this theory of a Lucifer? Could be. It had to be written in a form that was understood by it's intended readers.

LASunsett said...

//This business does not give me much hope that I will ever find what I am looking for in religion, other than, as it presently exists in my heart. If that damns me to eternal suffering, then there isn’t much I can do about that,//

Then, we'll both be there. If you get there before me, see if we can bunk in the same barracks, will you? Naturally, I will do the same.

Seriously, I believe hell is a metaphor. I will write something about it, after the first of the year. (I do not need a bunch of evangelicals condemning me to a metaphor before Christmas. LOL)

Mustang said...

I think they knew and understood evil because they had the Law of Moses to define it. Thou shalt not steal, kill, covet . . .

I feel argumentative today. The Ten Commandments does not contain a single admonition to beware of Satan. If you analyze these commandments, you will find that they make PERFECT sense if one hopes to maintain moral imperatives — that is, a well-ordered community. The first three admonitions establish why all the rest are imperative — it is the will of the one true God.

If the devil is in the details, he doesn’t appear in any of these. There is no warning about perishing in hell if you exhibit the perfectly human tendency to engage in eye candy while shopping. It is only contrary to the will of God if you begin to plan for knowing your neighbor’s wife. I should add that when periodically suspected of scoping out the ladies in the mall, my wife has never accepted “the devil made me do it.” No, I think that the commandments are moral imperatives IF one expects to have a relationship with God, and if he wishes to maintain a harmonious community. So perhaps I should share with you my view of hell — it is separation from God. The business of damnation to a fiery pit is someone’s mushroom induced imagination, perpetuated by so-called religious organizations that stand to gain obedience by the masses by scaring the hell out of us. Literally.

LASunsett said...

//I feel argumentative today. The Ten Commandments does not contain a single admonition to beware of Satan.//

I agree with you. Here are your words, I was referring to:

//And so there is a body of thought suggesting that early Jews had no concept of “good versus evil” until after they were exposed to the ideas of Persian religion (Zoroastrianism);//

The question then becomes, did evil exist before knowledge of Satan was believed to be an entity? I think yes.

Mustang said...

Okay, I see now. But tell me, which of the Ten Commandments address "evil?" As I see it, there is only one evil mentioned, and should not require that God explain it to us.

Even if one dabbles in adultery, is that honestly an "evil?" I'm surprised there aren't other commandments that address truly evil things, such as pedophilia — but then that would mean that Mohammed is in deep doo.

Now then, if good modeling is good parenting, how do theologians justify that one evil with all of the smiting that went on in Old Testament stories? So could it be, then, that Thou Shalt Not Kill only describes conduct within a community? If you murder the hell out of someone in another Kingdom, that's okay? I don't know . . . but it would make me feel better about smiting the Viet Cong.

Finally, is any of this confusion why Jesus reduced the 10 Commandments to only two? I'm not suggesting you were there back then, but well . . . you are much older and wiser than I am.

LASunsett said...

//But tell me, which of the Ten Commandments address "evil?"//

The answer to this question can only lie in what a person's definition of evil is. And whether or not there are levels to evil.

Stealing isn't good, but it is not as bad as killing. Bearing false witness against our neighbor isn't good. But it's not as bad as stealing and killing.

Is it evil?

I think every case stands on its own. Motives and intents are the tell-tale sign that something is evil, or not.

Example: I have what I need, but if take something someone else needs, have I stolen? Yes. If I am starving to death (literally) and I steal some food from someone because I am hungry, have I stolen? Yes.

Which is worse? The first scenario, by a mile.

I would not have stolen had I not been starving, my intention was not to steal, but to stay alive. In the first case, I had what I needed and did not need to steal, yet I did it anyway. My intention was to steal.

No brainer right? The same holds true for killing. Self-defense, okay. Killing for no damned good reason, not good.

It's quite complex. But after all is said and done here, I don't see where I disagree too much with what you are saying here. When it's all said and done, we have to define for ourselves what we think is right and wrong. Stay true to our hearts and faith, and above all stay as humble as we can, along the way.

Even if I believed in a literal burning hell for all eternity (and I do not), I do not think any of us would go to hell for being human and making mistakes along the way. I think those that had a reckless disregard for anyone but themselves, showed no compassion, took what they wanted and screwed good people all along the way, would.

Do the Ten Commandments spell all of this out? No. It's up to each of us to figure out what right and wrong is, for ourselves. They are only, as you say, a moral guideline so that society in the earth could be more orderly. But, I also think these things are what God expects to refrain from, except in the kinds of circumstances I outlined earlier. Happy are we if we can live up to them.

If at some point we fail, I use the old football analogy. If you get sacked for 20 yards, what do you do? Answer: Be sorry you called that play and get up to call another one. You don't give up the game over one mistake.

(This kind of heresy would have me kicked out of 3/4 of the churches of the world, are you sure you want to be seen with me? LOL)

My Dirty Little Secret said...

You kind of got me think here...
Hummm, very interesting blog.

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Elmers Brother said...

But isn't Christ described as having the same divine attributes of God, whereas Satan is not described this way?

Wouldn't that preclude them being 'brothers' and perhaps make Satan fall into the more traditional description of an angel?

Faith said...

Elmers Brother is right. Jesus Christ is God the Son. Satan was originally the greatest angel, a created being. There is no conceivable filial relationship between the Creator God and His creation -- except through Jesus Christ's sacrifice, which makes His followers His brothers.

Hello LA Sunsett, I just came over from Geeez to look at your theology blog as you suggested. I have the impression we aren't going to agree about much.