Islam Refuted: The Doctrine of Tanzih

The Koran would have us to believe that “God is altogether unlike any creature.”    If true, this would mean that neither man nor woman would have been created in God’s image; and yet the same book wants us to believe that men — but not women — are created in the divine image (the image that does not exist, and which affirmation represents extreme idolatry).

Espousing this kind of radical disjunction between the human and divine would mean that God could not be responsible for the writing of the so-called “holy book” of Islam.  This would make Him an author, which places him alongside longfellow and Keats.  Many creatures are authors and so rendering God as an author a well would ruin his “comprehensive difference” from us intended by the doctrine of tanzih in the first place.  Either the Koran was authored by God (not likely) — and thus God is like us (refuting the Koran’s doctrine of tanzih) — or else God really is radically different from us in every way, and thus could not be the Koranic author — refuting the Koran’s claim of divine inspiration.

Either way, the Koran fails once it affirms both divine authorship (it’s own) and yet the impossibility of divine authorship — given God’s extreme difference from all that is human, including authorship.

We have already noted as well the many apocryphal doctrines in the Bible, which the Koran has absorbed, the false doctrines of demons, angels, heaven, hell, the inspiration of the Bible by prophets, the fulfillment of divinely-inspired prophecy, and the like.  Transcendence is not from some personal inspiring agent, but from the light of nature.  The Koran simply adopted these categories and doctrines from the Jewish and Christian Bible(s), creating an entire religion out of apocryphal teaching.  How sad.

The World is Not Fallen; Neither is Mankind

The false “fallen-ness of man/ creation” doctrine introduced by the apocryphal 3rd chapter of Genesis (see my earlier proofs and posts) affirms falsely that some irrevocable condition has taken hold of the planet, following a like lapse in the character of man.  The Proverbs plainly contradict this.  Here, Solomon indicates that “by mercy and charity sin is atoned for.”

This speaks of no “irrevocable condition,” but rather affirms a kind of fairly simply contingent “rebound” is easily possible by way of repentance.  “Whoever conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  The newer testament also properly speaks of “good things” that “your heavenly father” will give to those who ask him (Matthew 7), including bread and fish — foods commonly eaten in the middle east of the first century.  Everything here is understood still to be “good,” not fallen.  It is impossible that something should be both “good” and “fallen” at the same time — as the self-contradictory “general fallenness doctrine” requires — unless one consents to the “goodness of the fall.”  

This would raise questions in my mind.   I hold that this very doctrine functions as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, where the way one judges the world is the way God judges us — with the measure we use, it will be measured back to us.  The world is not fallen, but just as good as it was originally.  It is merely in need of restoration, just as mankind is.  But we are not lapsed into some kind of ethical coma with no way out of the groggy pit.

The sin that causes a loss in fellowship with God is in every case restored by repentance and restoration — as we say “seventy times seven.”   God is more merciful than man is willing to grant.  Restoration awaits those who repent, restore the damage done to one’s neighbor by his sin (as the Lord commands), and who walks after God’s commandments — obedience is still better than forgiveness.

Why Man is Not Created in God’s Image

God has no image or likeness according to the Bible, and this in fact forms the basis of the second commandment.  Attempting to create man in the divine image ignores the fact that God has no body, parts or appetites like we do.  It also creates the place for the divinization of man (gross idolatry), the doctrine of the Incarnation (an after-effect of the false doctrine in question), which also found its counterpart in the divinizing of ancient kings.   Alexander of Macedon, for instance, taught that he himself was the son of Zeus, and many Egyptian pharaohs named themselves after several different deities (e.g. Tut-ankh-Amun = king “Tut”).

Man is symmetrical.  Draw a line down his middle from top to bottom, and you get a mirror-like imagery, where each half mimmicks the other in reverse.  This structural reflexivity shows up in divine behavior as “lex talionis,” the principle of mutual, reciprocal judgment in kind.  We are judged by our own standards of relating to others.   The light of nature shows that we receive what we sow.   This does not mean that evil people do not inflict damage falsely — that is the very nature of crime.  Reversing the terms of the equation, “what you sow, you reap” commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent.    What you have reaped is not in every instance what you — and not some criminal — have sown.   And the criminal will inherit his own evil later, with significant interest. 

Trying to make mankind into an image that the invisible God does not have not only seeks to glorify him as divine, but it also lowers the status of the rest of creation to “fallen” by false comparison.  This is why we contemptuously kill the poor animals that humans eat.  And we in turn inherit high crime rates among people, armed conflicts, even world wars by the cumulative effects of the sin of slaughter.   In fact, the word “holocaust” derives from the Septuagint Greek word for “animal sacrifice” as a “whole burnt offering” — “holokautama.”

This holocaust-sacrifice is taught in Leviticus pre-eminently, one of the most important books to expunge from the canon of Scripture, along with the Book of Revelation, which teaches “the beast’s retaliatory holocaust.”   Revelation is the cosmic-slaughter book, a kind of rejoining complement to the book of Leviticus.  It also shows the fulfillment of “man as God’s image,” in the generalized (and extremely evil) worship of man (as divine image) by mankind.

At Mt. Sinai, God is said to have adjured the Israelites “remember that when I spoke to you from Mount Sinai YOU SAW NO DIVINE FORM.”   God does not have an image.  He is inherently a most pure Spirit, and remains invisible.  He has shown Himself by his attributes in the wisdom of creation — the diligence of the ant, the wisdom of the rock badger, the lowly humility of the brightly-colored starfishes.  King David, who prayed to God saying, “You are my rock,” could have been a starfish.  The Lord has the eternal stability and security with which we associate the immovability of large — seemingly invincible — boulders.   But this does not mean that God appears as a monolith.    The creation displays His glorious attributes — all of creation — including its very large monoliths.   Man does not have an exclusive patent on showing forth the divine attributes.  The revelation of God via ALL CREATION makes the light of nature a ubiquitous revelation.   The phrase “general revelation” probably overstates the case a bit, but the Proverbs surely teach us the ubiquity of the revelation, as we encounter divine wisdom in the behaviors of many of God’s pets, as well in humanity. 

The starfish show forth (by matter of lower degree to be sure) both the divine glory and humility.   They also clearly reveal the fact of our Creator and His child-like creativity.  What would you be “adapting to” in order to survive better in a dog-eat-dog darwinian world so that you would need to look like glorious heavenly bodies from the perspective of those who live on this planet?   Starfish do not move fast, or show any signs of what one might plausibly think of as “adapting to one’s environment.”

Looking like a Christmas tree ornament hardly constitutes “adapting,” unless you are adapting to debt-driven holidays. 

Much about nature’s light remains to be learned by the study of the human anatomy and habits — why we each are comprised of a unit of 30 (ten fingers, ten toes, five senses and five appendages) — but the same is true for the other creatures.  Man is no way the image of God, which image does not exist. 

One of the great follies that arose in the ancient world from this false doctrine was the idea that God has a local presence, and that He lives in our temples, made by our hands.  This challenges directly the sovereignty of God and (allegedly) puts men in charge of his appearing — when He appears, where he may appear, etc.  Stephen reproved this idea, instead affirming with Paul (see Acts 17), “God does not live in temples made with hands.”

That is correct.  And He never has either.  In Him we live and move and have our being.  For God to adopt a local presence would in fact be redundant.  By being universal, He is already local as well.  It cannot be otherwise.  Prayer is not a long-distance call.  And this is just BECAUSE man is not created in God’s “local only” image.  In other words, if God actually had an image, it would have been a universal image, not merely a local one.  God is omnipresent, and we are not.  This shows that we are not uniquely God’s image, but reflect only certain aspects of His character — both male and female — as do the other creatures.

Undoubtedly, humanity is the highest of God’s creatures in terms of our linguistic and intellectual capacities.  We image certain of God’s attributes more clearly and comprehensively than do the lower creatures, but in our relating to them, this gives us a higher and more urgent “mercy mandate.”    To whom much is given, much is required.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Here, the simple word “as” implies the equality and symmetry shown in our very structure. 

This is the nature both of divine mercy and of justice.  With the measure you use …. 

The doctrine of “man as uniuely in God’s image” has some very important corrollaries in the experience of mankind generally:

1.  It leads us by false comparison to think of the creation as fallen — too low.

2.  It attempts to make man divine, promoting rank idolatry, but also divinizes him AS A FALLEN BEING.  This is the birthplace of “the Devil,” and 500 pounds of annually-renewable free candy in October.

3. Notions of an eternally fallen (but semi-divine) being give rise to the doctrines of angels and demons.  These mythological entities are semi-divine beings, some fallen, some not.

4. It leads us to treat the creation with contempt, to abuse the (putatively fallen) environment, without sufficient concern for how this will affect our future and the future of the other creatures who live here with us.

5.  This probably begat certain misconceptions of transcendence — that is, certain abusive doctrines about the divine right(s) of kings [Constantine was supposed to be the 13th apostle; Charlemagne unwisely allowed himself to be crowned by a pope], and certain theories of inspiration standing behind some concepts of the “sacred scriptures”  [transcendence derived apart from the light of nature, accomplished by this or that muse or spirit].

6.  With the mythological “man as divine image” concept in mind, it is not difficult to imagine how the writings of man (the most priestly of men) can become the writings of God, or that the decrees of man can become the decrees of God.  “It seemed good to us AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Acts 15) seems to imply just this connection.  The false doctrine of the infallibility of the Church sits just a few false-implicate steps away from “man as divine image.”

It is well to ponder the connections that seem natural enough to make — often with sociologically-dangerous conclusions (think Spanish Inquisition) — once we allow the false notion of man as divine image.

 

Do Not Swear at All — Either By Heaven or By earth

James records Jesus to have taught this, as does Matthew.  The teaching clearly runs cross-current in his own day, as well as in ours.  According to the NT criteriological standard known as the “criterion of counterproductive features,” this makes it quite likely that Jesus did in fact teach this, and that James learned it from him as well.  Many commentators regard the epistle of James as a kind of brief commentary on selected aspects of the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5 – 7), which is about the “kingdom of God”  (in the Lukan counterpart) and appropriate behaviors and practices conducive to its citizenship.

This would also follow from several other truisms taught in the Bible elsewhere:

1.  Oaths involve imposing a self-curse, a (divinely enforced) curse against one’s self should one fail to keep one’s oath-based obligations.  This defies the command to “love your neighbor AS yourself,” where “love your neighbor” means “bless [those who curse you] and do not curse” and “do not condemn, or you too will be condemned; and “with the measure you use, it will be measured [back] to you.”  James teaches this as well.

2.  Oaths are unnecessary speech, and simply reiterate what is already promised.  Only the promise is necessary, not the oath.  This means that all oaths are frivolous and represent false religion.

3.  Oaths invoke God’s name and often try to get Him to affirm propositional content that He Himself would not allow.  This abuses the divine name. Marriage is by solemn promise, not by invoking God’s name illegally (oath).  Some will protest that this destroys the distinction between the holy and the common.  But this merely begs the question in favor of the categorical distinction not taught in the early chapters of Genesis.  Adam and Eve were not married by oath.  This did not make marriage less than holy, since God Himself instituted it (THAT is what makes it holy; God created it; its holiness, or special standing is also of the light of nature and the procreation of the human race).

4.  This means that sections of the Scripture affirming that God makes oaths are either not relevant as to whether we may do the same (It does not necessarily follow that if God may do some action X that we may do some action X), or else they are not properly original to the text.

The Doctrine of the Trinity as a False Accretion

The doctrine of the Trinity supposedly forms a (or else THE) central concept at the nexus of theology proper.  But this concept never attended the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels at all — not even peripherally.  How can this be?  Even more telling is the fact that with all the sermon material we have from the apostles in the Book of Acts, we have not one — not one — word about the “central teaching” of the later Church.  This seems a preposterous situation.

But wait. It gets worse.  In the Septuagint, it turns out that its language actually has no dynamic equivalent for the LATIN word “Trinitas,” which was first offered by a Carthaginian Lawyer named Tertuallian (ca. AD 210).  Carthage had been a Phoenician outposts from about the 3rd century B.C.  Phoenicians?  Yes, boat-faring peoples who did a great deal of fishing, known to present historians from about the 10th or 9th centuries BC.  In the OT, think Jezebel.

Here — at Carthage and not at Rome — Latin flourished at the earliest of Mediterranean cities.  According to Dr. Bruce Metzger (peace be upon him), by about AD 250, Greek was still the most popular tongue at Rome, not Latin. This was also the most likely place for the old version of the Latin Vulgate to have arisen.  The term “trinitas” had to arise only within a linguistic context in which the Church had begun to give up the catholic Greek tongue, since in the Alexandrian tongue of 250 to 100 BC — the time of the making of the Greek OT — there simply was no word for, nor any circulating concept of, a “trinity” or its equivalent.  This was much too early for any such idea to have arisen.

Since both Jesus and the apostles show no sign of even knowing about such a concept, and since their Bible, the diaspora Greek OT, has no way even to utter (by way of ink) the very word or to express the idea, it can hardly remain a palpable idea that somehow the doctrine was taught in the Bible, its just that the Bible and the New Testament Lord (and his apostles) did not know this.  Maybe Tertullian should have tried backgammon.

Genesis and Things I Never Noticed

The problems already noted with Genesis aside (else see previous posts), I have recently come to consider certain other problems with the text. Actually, these are more like conceptual problems than exegetical ones.  God (it seems obvious to me) could have created all things of nothing instantly if he had wanted to do so.  He could also have done it the way Genesis specifies — what I call the verbal succession model of creation.  Here, God verbally commands in a wave of successive orders, like the commands of a king, and what he orders necessarily comes to pass.  But there are some important reasons to think that it happened as I favor it — the whole system willed into existence by God’s nonverbal assent, all at once, as a completed system, in the twinkling of an eye.

Given the two ways God could have done it, if we look to the Solomonic literature to play the referee, we find that it urges the economy of words — “When words are many, sin is not absent; but he who holds his tongue is wise.”  This would seem to indicate against unnecessary language.  Since we can reasonably expect that the Lord’s wisdom far outweighs that of Solomon, we could expect that God would have willed everything into existence all at once, and would not have used language at all so to do.

But what did God create in the first place (as opposed to not creating anything as before the creation n moment)?  The answer seems to be hinted at in the passage which shows God’s concern for Adam, that it is “not good for him to be alone.”  God was alone, and grew weary of it, is the most natural explanation for why He created.  He wanted friends. It is always good to make new friends.  Later, we are told, Abraham was “God’s friend.”

Finally. a point of great import is this:  God could not have made man in his own image, after His own likeness, for one simple reason. God does not have an image or a likeness.  He is a most pure Spirit, and is invisible.  This fact, let the reader recall, forms the very basis for the second commandment of the Decalogue.  When God spoke to the people from the mountain, he adjured them, “remember that you saw no form.”   Therefore, he goes onto command not to make graven images (idols), which falsely assume that God has some form.

This is the greatest error in Genesis, since it implies the deity of man accidentally, and also implies the incarnation — the later New Testament theology.  The “Let us” is obviously manufactured here since God was alone, and since the trinity’s false basis also forms here, where the incarnation has its seed as well.

Man is symmetrical — like a mirror image — if you draw a line down the middle of his right side and left, showing each a reflection of the other.  Turning this into the “divine image” makes it so that God must relate only by a kind of “lex talionis” toward those who affirm the false doctrine — it divinizes the principle of “reflexivity.”   This also explains the tendencies of ancient polytheisms to “write men largishly into the sky as gods,” and to bring down the divine to inhabit ancient near eastern kings.  It is a most important error and well worth pondering its implications.

Telling Points Against the Doctrine of the Trinity

I have a hard time believing this, but it is true.  There is no way to say in the Septuagint Greek the word “Trinity.”  It has no dynamic equivalent in the biblical tongue.  It surprises me that I never noticed this.  But this is in fact the very reason why the word did not come into existence until it received expression in Latin (AD 210) from a Carthaginian lawyer named Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Terutllianus) in his work, the Apology.  This illustrates an important point:  it cannot be a biblical doctrine.  If there is no way to say it — name it as a referent — the most obvious reason for this is that there is no way to think it in that tongue.  The LXX has no word for “trinity.”  Neither does the NT.

The Christian argument that the NT implies it, rather than “states it,” entirely misses the point. The LXX was the Bible of the earliest Christians, not the New Testament. This makes Genesis 1.26 – 27 and the “let us go down” passage of Genesis 11 highly suspect.  And the bread and wine of Melchizedek can be shown a Christian retro-fit, using the septuagintal book of Hebrews as a point of comparison with Genesis 14.

Another extremely telling point against the doctrine of the Trinity stems from the fact that, while it became central to the Christian worldview after the Council of Nicea (325), this doctrine appears nowhere in the teachings of Jesus at all.  Nor does it appear anywhere at all in the apostolic sermons of the Book of Acts.

The teaching of Jesus centered on the Kingdom of God.  The doctrine of the Trinity was so important that he seems never to have heard of it, nor wished it discussed or mentioned at all.  The apostles silently followed Jesus on this point — never once making reference or mention of it in the book of Acts.

If a concept is central to the church, but less than peripheral to Jesus and the apostles, there can be no better proof that the Church has strayed than this to my mind. Arguing that the NT implies it, and that it is central to the Church’s life, and that Jesus and the apostles never heard of it in their preaching only adds extreme confusion to the life of the early church, and to our historical portrait of it.  When you add that the LXX has never heard of it either, and that this Bible is the one most oft quoted as the Word of God by the NT literature, this would seem to represent a kind of philosophic and theological suicide.

The doctrine of the Trinity represents rank idolatry masquerading as orthodoxy, but only about after 210, when the Church had illicitly begun to leave behind its mother tongue — the catholic Greek of the Septuagint.  This is just the kind of idolatry into which one is led when falling away from the catholic Bible and tongue, the canonical Greek appointed to the Church forever by the Most High.

Please note that at this time (210), the church had translated the Bible into only two other languages in any significant sections — Latin and Syriac — making the number of biblical tongues precisely 3 — one Bible in three tongues.  The original source of this heresy I have traced even further back.  The original Lukan-Hebrews account of Jesus as a kind of Melchizedek held him to be a priest and king only — not a prophet.  Only later was Jesus understood to be a prophet in the tradition of Moses and Elijah (see Luke 4 and Luke 9, the transfiguration account).

Have You Noticed What the Hell Is Missing From Genesis 1?

The doctrine of Hell appears nowhere in Genesis 1.  Yet verse 31 assures us that God saw “everything” that He had made — “and behold it was very good.”   Yet no text exists in this chapter regarding “heaven, hell, angels, or demons.”  In fact, demons do not show up anywhere in the entire book of Genesis.

Hell only shows up in a conceptually mature form — that is, with fire, worms and the whole array of bad — at the very end of the OT period, namely, the final chapter of Isaiah (66) and the final chapter of Daniel.  Both of these chapters can be shown apocryphal.  Note that only the last 4 chapters of Daniel  (9 – 12) have angels as literary actors.  The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, offers a commentary on the book of Daniel in his Antiquities of the Jews (AD 90).  Mysteriously, it ends abruptly at the end of chapter 8.  Chester Beatty Papyrus 10 offers the earliest Septuagint Daniel MS in existence from the 3rd century.  It bears only chapters 3 -8, and out of chronological order; yet it nevertheless agrees with Josephus that early Daniel ended at chapter 8 — this would eliminate angels from its narrative, and the doctrine of hell.

Interestingly, the wisdom literature of Solomon seems to confirm such absences. Despite the fact that Solomon is reputed to have built the Temple with two angels (cherubim) in the most holy place, not one mention of angels dots the landscape of the Proverbs. I would argue that the only two references to hell or else “Sheol” were also added later — as were its first 9 chapters (notably these are NOT Proverbs) and its last two chapters, which are called “oracles” (prophecy), which are not wisdom literature (wrong literary type or “genre.”).

The proverbs form a kind of observationally-based set of maxims, drawn out as the “inductions of life,” to be taken from the wisdom of God invested into the created order from the beginning.  Also quite interesting is the omission of any mention of priests.  The king of Israel had to read out of the “Torah” (first 5 books of the OT) each day.  Yet its categories remain mostly absent from the Proverbs. These never mention heaven either, nevermind hell (in the original).

I have offered a plausible trajectory for the development of Israel’s “angelology” after the time of Solomon, as well just how the doctrine of hell developed out of the notion of the Levitical “burnt offering.” As the various Levitical offerings came to be seen as foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah, the burnt offering was notoriously out of place, since the Messiah would hardly undergo severe punishment.  This had to picture the wicked instead, who rejected the Messiah.  Of course, this implies a mismatch, since the Messiah, the object of the other sacrifices would still have to undergo some kind of punishment, and the wicked are many, while the Messiah is one Person only.

First then animal for the burnt offering is killed (death), then it is burned (hell).  This became the fate of the wicked, with the innovation of the doctrine of hell around the time of the Babylonian exile (586 BC).  Jerusalem had been burned, and the Goyim would have to repay the debt. Babylon, correspondingly, must be burned with fire (see the Revelation 17 – 20).

When the scribal priests feel strongly that this or that saying unit must be preserved, but they cannot figure out where it best fits in the narrative structure, they traditionally simply paste it in at the end of the book.  This is where apocryphal accretions typically debut in the history of redemption — at the book’s end.  When room runs out there, the next apocryphal accretions move to the front of the book. Such is the case with the Gospel accounts of the NT, regarding Matthew and Luke.

Let the reader recall my earlier tirade which officially damned all “anathemas” of the churches as altogether unlawful, and condemned by Jesus in the sermon on the mount — “do not condemn or you too will be condemned…”    Well, here is another excellent reason to support that challenge:  According to Genesis, there is no hell to send anyone to for the official Texas barbecue.

When hell does in fact appear at the end of the literature of the OT period, it appears in a straightly complete form with no actual genesis or history. It never in fact begins anywhere.  It just “shows up.”  This is typical of apocryphal accretions.  Constructing their histories can be tricky.

The wisdom literature shows a far less elaborate cosmic scheme, with the Lord and men (humans), but no angels, no devils, no heaven or hell. Earth formed the center stage of the drama.  It was a simpler, kinder place, not so metaphysically busy — with all those demons running about, and excessive numbers of holidays on which to shop.

Finally, here is a subjective point of exit on the topic of hell which I regard as telling nevertheless.  Ask any Evangelical Christian, “If you were God, and you had your own universe, would YOU create a hell?”  Every single one will acknowledge the point in the negative (some would say “Hell No”). And each knows that God is far more merciful than we are.

What the Hell?   Why haven’t we Christians noticed what is NOT THERE in Genesis 1, and that it is just what we ourselves would have made “not there” if we were in charge of the cosmos?