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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mary the New Eve

Often we might hear Jesus being called the New Adam and for good reason 1 Corinthians 15:45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. That Last Adam is Jesus.
The Church also calls Mary the New Eve, is there any scriptural ground for this?

Certainly there is but to see it we need to go back to the beginning in Genesis where two covenants were made and then broken.

When God made Adam he said Genesis 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
But we know that Adam was made first because Genesis 2 talks about the man being alone with the animals.

Getting into the creation of the man, it says that God made man in his own image. This is familial covenant language. WE know this because in Genesis 5:3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. So that image and likeness language points us to a familial covenant relationship that God has with mankind. God has made a covenant with Adam by making him in God’s own image and likeness.

That is the first covenant.

The second is when in Genesis chapter 2 God took one of Adams ribs and makes from it a woman. And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." When we say that someone today is our own flesh and blood we mean that they are family. Adam is saying the same thing. This is familial covenant language that is why in the next verse it says
Genesis 2:24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

That is the second covenant.

The devil enters upon the scene and systematically helps ruin both covenants.

First, by getting the woman to listen and believe the devils message instead of her husbands message to not touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The devil drives a wedge between the couple, and in some sense causes the woman to commit spiritual adultery.
So that marriage covenant has been compromised.

Next the devil gets the Adam to break the covenant between himself and God by Adam disobeying God and eating from the tree.

The Church Fathers talked about Mary untying the knot that Eve had tied. And just when you untie a knot, you must do it in reverse of the way that it was tied. This is exactly what happens with Jesus and Mary.

Now getting to Mary being the new Eve. We see in the Gospel of John is another woman who is present only two times. Once at a wedding and another time at a tree.
Mary is never mentioned by name in the Gospel of John, she is called two times "woman".

The first is at the wedding of Cana when in John 2 when Jesus at the request of his mother provides wine for a marriage feast. So Jesus’ first miracle not only saves a marriage feast from social danger and embarrassment by running out of wine, but also blesses marriage by his very presence, thus restoring the sanctity of marriage.

Next we see Jesus nailed to a tree and at the foot of the tree is his mother, who he addresses as "woman". It is on this tree that Jesus is restoring the covenant between God and Man.

So Adam we given two covenants one with God and one with the woman. It is the same with Jesus but in reverse. His first miracle is provided at a wedding at the request of the woman, and finally restoring the covenant with God at the crucifixion with the woman again - his mother.

It is in this was that Mary untied the knot that Eve tied., thus becoming the new Eve.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Immortality of the Soul & Jehovah's Witnesses

The JW’s teach that once you die, you stop existing, sort of a materialistic point of view with a twist. They do believe that pretty much everyone will be resurrected from the dead and be conscience again.

They really point to 4 key passages that I will go through with their arguments, then we will examine them one by one:

Genesis 2:7 - then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
  • The JW Bible says that man became a living soul, which is an ok interpretation of that word. They then reason that we don’t have souls. We are souls.

Ezekiel 18:4 - Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die.

  • See (they say) because we ARE souls, the soul that sins dies. So when we die we are dead.

Psalms 146:4 - When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.

  • The JW Bible reads that his thoughts will perish. Now obviously if your thoughts have perished with your death, then there is nothing left of you to exist, therefore you have stopped existing after death. And to back this up is…

Ecclesiastes 9:5 - For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing.

  • See the dead are conscience of nothing because when you die, you stop existing, there is no special part of you that goes on living after you die.

Now how do we respond to these verses?
Lets look at Genesis 2:7 - then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
- I agree that the Bible describes people as being souls such as in 1Peter 3:20 where is says that "eight persons (souls), were saved through water." But I have noticed also that the Bible has a wide range of the use of the word "soul" [Heb. Nephesh, Gk. Psuche]. For example:
Gen 35:18 – a soul can go out at death.
1Kgs 17:21 – come back in a person.
Luke 1:46 – people have souls.
Mt 10:28 – the soul is not the body and it can’t be killed by man.
Josh 10:37 – can be struck with a sword.
Ps 42:6; Ps 43:5 – is the dwelling of emotions.
Rev 6:9-11 – can speak after death.


So sometimes the Bible says that the person IS a soul. Other times it says that the soul is something IN a person. Even other verses say that the soul is something that survives death.

Ezekiel 18:4 - Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die.
- The context here is just saying that a person will have to be accountable for their own sin, not their children. But you are saying that this verse is saying that souls can and do die. I agree with that, but not in the sense that when a person sins his soul dies, meaning ceases to exist. A person’s soul can be dead to God, meaning that they have fallen out of relationship with him like in Luke 15:24 - About the prodigal son, the father says - my son was dead and is alive, he was lost and now is found.


Psalms 146:4 - When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish .
- The Hebrew word here for thoughts implies ‘plans’, as if when the person dies, all the plans that he had planned cannot come to fruition because he died before be could make them come to pass. The whole psalm is about trusting in the Lord and not in man, because while plans of men perish the plan of God is forever and can be trusted.


Finally Ecclesiastes 9:5 - For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing.
- If you have spoken with a corps lately you will notice that you have done all of the talking. It is in this sense that the dead know nothing. Even the context of this verse betrays the interpreation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses if we read the whole 12 chapters of Ecclesiastes

In Ecclesiastes 3:20, 21 - All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dustagain.21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth? So the author himself asks the question about where does the spirit go at death?
Ecclesiastes 12:7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. At the end of the book he gives the answer - the spirit returns to God - it isn’t destroyed at all.


Some other verses that show the soul survives death:
Matt 10:28 - do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Matt 17:3 - Moses and Elijah - (two dead guys) talking to Jesus
Luke 16:23 - Lazarus and the rich man. Whether this is a parable or not, Jesus always drew his images from real life situations.
Philipians 1:23 - St. Paul says, My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Miracles

What should we say to Christians that say that Miracles were only done in the Biblical times and that we should no longer expect them?

I think that some "Bible Christians" come up with this interpretation for three reasons. The first is that they aren’t recognizing miracles in their own lives. The second is that if they saw a miracle they might not know how to handle it. The third and final reason is that in light of the first two things, they needed to find a Biblical answer and so they twisted some scripture passages to make it say what they wanted.
That verse is 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

They point to where it says that prophecies and tongues (these are gifts of the Holy Spirit spoken of in 1 Cor 14) will pass away when the perfect comes. They then interpret "the perfect" to mean the Bible and the end of public revelation.

But is that what St. Paul was talking about when he said "the perfect"? No way and the context gives us the answer as it always does.

St. Paul sandwiches this enter section with the word "love", Which we need to keep in mind
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
St. Paul is saying that their focus needs to be on love, and the perfect that is coming where we will understand fully is the second coming of Christ.

It can’t be when the Bible is finished that would mean that Paul was preaching an incomplete Gospel this whole time. The reason why the greatest is love is because in heaven, we won’t need faith because we will see God face to face and we won’t need to hope because our hope will be complete, but we will still love.

What about the people who say that, they would believe in God if only he would show them a miracle?

This is exactly what the Pharisees said in Matthew 12:38-40 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

So the sign that is given is his resurrection, but there is another sign that was already given in connection with a resurrection. Remember that Jesus has a friend named Lazarus who dies and he goes to Abraham’s Bosom, while the rich man was in fire.

Luke 16:27-31 27 And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29 But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

What happens next is a bit shocking; - Jesus goes to the tomb of Lazarus and says John 11:43-53 "Lazarus, come out." 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him;
46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs….
53 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

See the miracle was the cause not of faith, but of hatred. So people who are asking for a sign, might not necessarily want one. The Catholic Church is not afraid of miracles, in fact we believe in the god of Miracles. You only have to look as close as your local Catholic Book store to find all sorts of amazing stories of how God is still doing miracles today.