Tunnel vision regarding Genesis

(Mervin Bitikofer) #82

As you tend to do, Shawn, you mix in some truth with error - taking Jesus’ parables in directions which they do not go; making them bear loads they were not intended to bear.

No – the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable is not Lucifer. In fact that isn’t even what that story is about.

And “paying back the very last farthing” is not what the “person at the altar” parable is about either - but a concluding afterthought tacked on at the end of a story. That story is about the high priority that reconciliation has in God’s Kingdom. Trying to pretend that the parables are secret codes to be deciphered for all sorts of collateral information does nothing more than do violence to the scriptures. Here you might have some scriptures in favor of something like you say [making right our past wrongs] - but this parable is not one of those. The Bible has a lot more about the unabashed forgiveness of debt [meaning total cancellation] than it does about the obsession on making sure we will give recompense to the last farthing. Deferred vengeance [repayment] and forgiveness are not the same thing. At all.


(Shawn T Murphy) #83

Dear Mervin,
Why gives you the moral authority to judge my work and emphatically say that Jesus did not have His firstborn in mind when He told the parable? It is true that all who have made the statement that I have in the past where declared heretics. But remind me, how does the orthodox teaching show the love of God to the billions who have died not ever hearing Jesus’ name?
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Randy) #84

Dear Mr Murphy,

Can you explain why you think Lucifer is the Son in the Prodigal? Am I understanding that you think that Lucifer was Jesus’ firstborn? Why?

I am sure that Mr Bitikofer and I both tend toward (as most people I know in my conservative church, though they don’t realize it) the “rethinking hell” idea and are hopeful universalists. That does have a lot to do with justice. That may be another topic for another thread. http://rethinkinghell.com/

I affirm hopeful universalism, too.
Thank you.


(Shawn T Murphy) #85

Dear Randy,
The creation of the angels, after the beginning in John 1:1, is very obscure in the Bible. The Information that I have comes from the enlightened Greeks (Homer, Hesiod and Socrates), the Early Christians (Origen and the Arians) and the modern prophets (Greber, Owen and Brunner).

After 9/11 I published the following article in the hopes of bringing people together and realizing our common spiritual heritage, reminding everyone our spiritual family tree - the Menorah.

I would love your feedback!
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Mervin Bitikofer) #86

This has nothing to do with moral authority. It has everything to do with just getting accepted facts straight and being corrected or challenged when you fail to do so.

So now Lucifer is Jesus’ firstborn? Are you listening to yourself? These are not widely accepted “facts” at all among nearly all of faithful Christendom. It isn’t that we (or you!) have detailed information on any good authority about how angels (fallen or otherwise) relate to the trinity or what the eternal fate of those beings is. So your casual assumptions here that everybody is on board with breathtaking claims (like that Lucifer is the son in the prodigal story) just don’t fly. You can keep mentioning them as being matter-of-fact to yourself or your small group. But most of us here are going to be wary of any claims made by someone who has swallowed all this stuff and doesn’t appear to feel any need to establish any of it using widely accepted methods.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #87

This is an interesting interpretation of the parable. The prodigal son is not the first born, but the second born. The prodigal never was an adversary, but was just irresponsible. He wanted to do home because the servants in his father’s house lived better than he did.

Another aspect of the parable was the elder son because his father killed the fatted calf for his useless brother and not for him. The father told him to grow up. He should be happy for his brother and for his father and he could have as many fatted calves as he liked.

We are saved by grace and not by works, but this does not mean that we do not have to do anything. The prodigal son repented. He regretted his mistakes and turned his life around, and was therefore welcomed back into the family, even though he had lost his inheritance.

The elder son expected to be lionized because he was so obedient, which revealed his pride and the weakness of works righteousness.

(Randy) #88

Dear Mr Murphy,

I would agree (and most Christians, I think)-- with you–that God is ultimately just and merciful. Isn’t that the point?
That I do appreciate.
I would like to hear your response regarding the interpretations.

(Shawn T Murphy) #89

You are right about the second son. Lucifer was the First born of God’s creations through Jesus. Jesus being the only begotten son of God, you must take Him out of the count for the creation that He and God started with Lucifer. But, in fact, Lucifer was the third sentient being in Heaven - the second son of God and the firstborn of Jesus. The bodies of six archangels came directly from Jesus and the Spark of Life came from God. The 24 Elders came from the six archangels.

As for the “complaint of the elder son in the parable”, I write this off as a ‘human interpretation’ as how everyone seems to react today to the concept of Satan being welcomed home with open arms. But for me, the important part of the parable to recognize the older son as Jesus comes at the end. No other being fits this description besides Jesus.

And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:31-32)

Roger, I do not deny that this parable is how any good father should treat their wayward child. Or be an inspiration of anyone whose has gone astray in life. There are so many levels to this and all His parables.

(Shawn T Murphy) #90

Dear Mervin,
You still did not answer my question.

Eternal damnation of these souls is a wildly held belief, but is it really true? I can name hundreds of widely held beliefs that are patently false. The same culture that created the eternal damnation doctrine thought the earth was in the center of the universe and the sun revolved around it. The latter was disproved, and I believe every doctrine they created should be questioned as illogical.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #91

But not without believing something positive first. Skepticism always starts with belief; otherwise it has nowhere to stand. So here I am questioning many (not all) of your beliefs that you put forward in this forum. If we are going to claim things that are not accepted by great numbers of Christians today, then we are obliged to show our grounding for what we do believe in ways that can connect with an audience skeptical of our beliefs. We don’t just blithely assume that everyone must know or believe as we do in those cases.

So you ask me what the fate is of the billions who were never explicitly (at least not to our knowledge) taught of Christ. Here is my answer: it is in a merciful God’s hands; not mine. So I don’t worry much about it. If Christ is good enough to “retroactively” save old testament peoples that lived before He walked in the flesh, then I don’t see how this should be a problem for any other peoples that lived in any other far removed eras or geographies. In fact, Matthew 7:15-23 pretty much destroys any complacency any of us should feel about our own so-called “in-status” as people who claim to know Christ. That passage absolutely crushes all our confidences that we’ve got things tidily wrapped up just because we’ve check-marked all the right belief boxes. It pulls the rug right out from under self-appointed doctrine guardians everywhere. So if I’m unwilling to be dogmatic about eternal fates of myself and my neighbor, it goes without saying that I certainly am not dogmatic about peoples I know nothing of. If Christ shows us a loving, merciful God (and I am convinced that is exactly what he did), then I have no problem thinking that God will do right by every last human that ever lived. And with you I am also persuaded (not by anything you’ve said, but by what I’ve read of Christ in scriptures) that God does not eternally torture people - for any reason, much less over a technicality that they were born in circumstances that would lead them to such a thing. But I don’t presume that everyone here is convinced of that same thing, so I don’t go pushing that since it isn’t part of Biologos’ mission anyway. Yet when it does come up, I will use scriptures to show why I believe what I believe because I know scriptures are something most believers here connect with and share in as common ground, unlike presumptions of ancient Greek wisdom cults and the like. Those (whatever their merits - and no doubt they had many - I am a math teacher after all!) connect with almost no Christians as any starting point for productive argument.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #92

You are making the parable into an allegory, which it is not.

(Randy) #93

Amen to that.

(Mitchell W McKain) #94

I would tend to classify this kind of theology with that of the TV show Lucifer which turns the Trinity, angels, and the devil into a divine family much like the pantheons of ancient Greece, Rome and Norse. It is amusing and perhaps even a useful literary device for looking at human family relationship from an interesting angle but I cannot take this seriously as theology let alone a Christian theology.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct personalities of a single God. Three persons but nevertheless one being. This is a God not made in image of man – an infinite God without our limitations, including our limitation to a singularity of personhood. The angels are created spiritual beings and in no way similar to the persons of God. Nor are they in any way similar to self-organized living beings like man. How many archangels there are is not known. Only one archangel, Michael, is identified in the Bible by name, and it is only in other non-canonical writings that more archangels are named. So with the other writings and speculations you can come up with various greater numbers of archangels such as two, three, seven, twelve, fifteen, or even a great deal more. I would be partial to a total of three leaders of angels explaining why the Bible says a third of the angels went with Lucifer when he fell, since I do not believe in a rebellion of angels.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #95

Right, God is not made in the image of humanity, Humans are made in the Image of God.

Also remember that Jesus Christ is Very God, that is perfectly God like the Father, and perfectly Human as are we all.

Jesus Cgrist is the One,
Colossians 1:15 (YLT)
“15 Who is the Image of the invisible God, first-born of all creation,”

(Shawn T Murphy) #96

Dear Mitchell, I do not see that you have read my paper on academia.edu, have you? Revelations is clear about the Seven Spirits of God in front of the Throne of Heaven. These seven flames are shown on the Menorah and the names of the seven weekdays comes from the these Seven, with Sun-day being the Day of the Lord. The sun is the symbol of Jesus, Who is the light of the world.

I just came from a trip with my daughter to Chichen Iza, where I was reminded once again, how Christian doctrines have destroyed ancient wisdom around the world. Their creation of the trinity doctrine (that you mention) is one such destroyers of Wisdom. You may say what I wrote above as heresy or mythology, but I see that the Word of God permeates all cultures. And yes, much lands on stone and cannot grow, while in others the roots are not deep.


not on my planet.

(Shawn T Murphy) #98

So you are not a Christian? You do not believe that Jesus is the light of the world?


I’m not sure why you’d assume that of @beaglelady from her post. It seems clear to me that she’s reacting to your rather innovative way of approaching the texts.


Sunday was named for the sun, that big bright light in the sky, long before Jesus was born. Which is why some Christians refer to the day as The Lord’s Day preferring not to use the pagan name.


He likes to twist words. Perhaps he works in a pretzel factory.