The Shared Basis of Libertarian Free Will and Torah Fundamentalism

 

A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

You might think that this is something Jews think about a lot, but if you did think that, you would be wrong. The Torah is focused on what we do in this world. The way we see it, if we always try to do our best, G-d will sort things out in the end.

So the question got me thinking. The Torah itself contains no hint of an afterlife. Similarly, there is no concept of an end to the world, or even end days. Yet the text is very interested in helping us grow in this world. If we want to ask about redemption, it is easily enough done: look at how the text discusses redemption.

We started with the word itself, the word for “redemption” in the text. In Hebrew, the word is based on the root ga-al. It appears in the text no fewer than 37 times.

The vast majority of these examples deal with redeeming an animal that has been promised to be sacrificed, redeeming land from its current owners, and redeeming servants or slaves. In other words, they are all about achieving a degree of freedom, of autonomy, of separation from existing obligations.

The first time G-d uses the phrase, He says to Moses:

Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am the LORD. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements.

And indeed, when the Exodus occurs, the people sing:

In Your kindness You lead the people You redeemed;
In Your strength You guide them to Your holy abode.

What is this redemption? The meaning seems clear: in this case, redemption is freedom from slavery. But this is not a freedom merely from something: it is a freedom to something as well. Redemption in the Torah is tightly connected to the concept of free will, with all of its concomitant rights and responsibilities, including suffering (or enjoying) the consequences of our actions.

When the people left Egypt they were like children, still possessing a slave mentality, and much growth ahead of them. This was the most basic redemption, freedom from outright institutional slavery. But, like freed slaves throughout time, the mental and cultural changes to go from slavery to truly being free in one’s own mind can take many generations.

Yet it is clear that this is where the Torah goes. Torah redemption is not about a savior, or celestial angels affecting an end of time. It is instead deeply and profoundly earthy, dealing with buying back a sheep, relationships with servants, land defaults, and even blood feuds (the person with a right to kill someone for a murder is called a “blood-redeemer.”)

Redemption is about daily freedom, including with one’s person and assets. It is about people being able to both have freedom, and possess the maturity to use it wisely.

There is an even-higher state of redemption in the Torah than merely freedom. It is not divine deliverance, but rather divine assistance! This divine assistance is explained the first time the word for redemption is used in the Torah, in the words of Jacob:

And [Jacob] blessed Joseph, saying,
“The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day—

The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil—

Bless the lads.
In them may my name be recalled,
And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.”

What is this angelic redemption? I think it connects back to Jacob’s life. Jacob took risks and he invested, time and again. Of all of the forefathers, it is Jacob who displayed the most initiative, who made bold choices. Those choices may well have had terrible consequences – Esau or Laban may well have killed him, for example – but those worst-case consequences did not happen. Jacob suffered, to be sure, but it could easily have been much worse.

Instead, Jacob was redeemed from evil. He gained divine favor to allow him to go through life and survive his own mistakes. This is the kind of redemption to which we are told to aspire, not a relationship with G-d in which G-d swoops in like a superhero to save the day, to get us out of jail free, but instead a relationship in which we do our best each and every day, where we work hard and try, and aim to always grow. And when we do that, in good faith and with good intentions, then G-d is involved with our lives, to save us from others and from the worst consequences we would otherwise have brought upon ourselves.

Redemption is thus not an open miracle, but a quiet and supportive partnership. Torah redemption is not a product or the End Days, but an ongoing process in which we are all invited and able to grow closer to one another as adults, making decisions as free men, and able to enjoy the fruits of our labor and appreciate the G-d who has blessed us.

In the ideal Torah society, people have both freedom and the maturity to use it well. This latter piece, maturity, is particularly difficult to attain. Being able to make our own decisions as free men is far beyond the Exodus, merely escape from institutional slavery.  It is a development into partnership with G-d instead of merely servitude to G-d.

Redemption in the Torah can mean freedom from others. But it does not mean freedom from ourselves. On the contrary! The freedom to act and to choose comes with responsibility, consequences, and benefits from those choices. It is quite a lot like modern theories of free will and the role of a free man in a free society.

Redemption also does not mean freedom from G-d. Torah redemption comes with an involvement with G-d throughout the process, throughout our lives. Involving G-d is what separates religious libertarianism from libertinism. In the Torah, redemption leads to freedom and adulthood.

[An @iwe, @kidcoder, and @eliyahumasinter collaboration]

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    iWe: The Torah itself contains no hint of an afterlife.

    According to my very non-expert understanding, that’s not entirely correct.

    a) It acknowledges the existence of a “realm of the dead” below the surface of the Earth in Numbers 16 and Deuteronomy 32 (unless the original Hebrew has a different meaning). Of course this could be interpreted to mean simply that dead bodies decay and become soil so everything below the surface is “dead”, but it’s ambiguous.

    b) It arguably implies the existence of an afterlife in Deuteronomy 18 when it forbids consultation with the dead (unless one believes that this is actually a prohibition against con artists who merely claim to be able to consult with the dead).

    Honourable mention: In 1 Samuel 28 the witch of Endor claims to have summoned the spirit of Samuel.  Of course, 1 Samuel isn’t a part of the Torah, and also it’s possible the witch was lying.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I continue to appreciate that we are called to serve G-d with love and devotion, and it frees me not to focus on what the future might hold. Love it.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):
    b) It arguably implies the existence of an afterlife in Deuteronomy 18 when it forbids consultation with the dead (unless one believes that this is actually a prohibition against con artists who merely claim to be able to consult with the dead).

    I’ll take a shot at this one. G-d wants us focused on life, not on death. There are many requirements for our freeing ourselves from the conditions of the dead, death being an impure state, as with the Red Heifer.

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    iWe: The Torah itself contains no hint of an afterlife.

    According to my very non-expert understanding, that’s not entirely correct.

    a) It acknowledges the existence of a “realm of the dead” below the surface of the Earth in Numbers 16 and Deuteronomy 32 (unless the original Hebrew has a different meaning).

    It means the grave – below ground. It is used by Jacob as well, referring to death. Certainly not life AFTER death.

    b) It arguably implies the existence of an afterlife in Deuteronomy 18 when it forbids consultation with the dead (unless one believes that this is actually a prohibition against con artists who merely claim to be able to consult with the dead).

    The Torah accepts that the things people believe in have some truth, even if only to them (“other gods” are the best example). Other gods exist to the extent that people believe in them. So do necromancy and witchcraft. 

    The Torah forbids  engaging in any of these practices, regardless of any underlying reality.

     

     

    • #4
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    a) It acknowledges the existence of a “realm of the dead” below the surface of the Earth in Numbers 16 and Deuteronomy 32 (unless the original Hebrew has a different meaning). Of course this could be interpreted to mean simply that dead bodies decay and become soil so everything below the surface is “dead”, but it’s ambiguous.

    b) It arguably implies the existence of an afterlife in Deuteronomy 18 when it forbids consultation with the dead (unless one believes that this is actually a prohibition against con artists who merely claim to be able to consult with the dead).

    Honourable mention: In 1 Samuel 28 the witch of Endor claims to have summoned the spirit of Samuel.  Of course, 1 Samuel isn’t a part of the Torah, and also it’s possible the witch was lying.

    Ask me later when the kids are screaming less about what some old Rabbis said in the Talmud about this.

    • #5
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe:

    A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

    I’m lost. You think Christians must be thinking about the end of the world when we think about redemption?

    You might think that this is something Jews think about a lot, but if you did think that, you would be wrong. The Torah is focused on what we do in this world. The way we see it, if we always try to do our best, G-d will sort things out in the end.

    That’s also a Christian teaching.

    The vast majority of these examples deal with redeeming an animal that has been promised to be sacrificed, redeeming land from its current owners, and redeeming servants or slaves. In other words, they are all about achieving a degree of freedom, of autonomy, of separation from existing obligations.

    . . .

    What is this redemption? The meaning seems clear: in this case redemption is freedom from slavery. But this is not a freedom merely from something: it is a freedom to something as well.

    That is also said by, more or less, every Christian ever.

    Redemption in the Torah in the Torah can mean freedom from others. But it does not mean freedom from ourselves. On the contrary! The freedom to act and to choose comes with responsibility, consequences and benefits from those choices. It is quite a lot like modern theories of free will and the role of a free man in a free society.

    Redemption also does not mean freedom from G-d. Torah redemption comes with an involvement with G-d throughout the process, throughout our lives. Involving G-d is what separates religious libertarianism from libertinism. In the Torah, redemption leads to freedom and adulthood.

    Right on!

    • #6
  7. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe:

    A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

    I’m lost. You think Christians must be thinking about the end of the world when we think about redemption?

    Actually, I plead ignorance. I thought the Second Coming is redemption?

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe:

    A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

    I’m lost. You think Christians must be thinking about the end of the world when we think about redemption?

    Actually, I plead ignorance. I thought the Second Coming is redemption?

    They’re connected. But redemption starts with redemption, which is literally the redemption from slavery in the Torah, the Hoseah-Gomer thing, etc.

    • #8
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe:

    A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

    I’m lost. You think Christians must be thinking about the end of the world when we think about redemption?

    Actually, I plead ignorance. I thought the Second Coming is redemption?

    Also, since when is the Second Coming the end of the world?  That’s a bad categorization based on a misunderstanding drawn from an oversimplification of the New Testament.

    • #9
  10. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    iWe: The Torah itself contains no hint of an afterlife. Similarly, there is no concept of an end to the world, or even end days.

    What about the books of the prophets, such as Isaiah with his beating swords into plowshares and the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and so forth?  Not part of the Torah, I understand, but still a part of the Hebrew Bible, are they not?  Don’t they give us some hints or clues as to G-d’s plans for the future of the world?

    • #10
  11. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    iWe: The Torah itself contains no hint of an afterlife. Similarly, there is no concept of an end to the world, or even end days.

    What about the books of the prophets, such as Isaiah with his beating swords into plowshares and the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and so forth?

    I think this is metaphorical, and we are already at least partway there. Weapons are converted into tools – that happens, from time to time. And lions and lambs are about mighty people connecting positively with weak people, with both sides appreciating that each person is worthy of respect by virtue of their souls alone.

    Otherwise it makes no sense to me: I don’t ever expect to lie down with my food, and I would not expect a lion to do so, either.

    Not part of the Torah, I understand, but still a part of the Hebrew Bible, are they not? Don’t they give us some hints or clues as to G-d’s plans for the future of the world?

    I think they represent an option, an inspiration – even an aspiration for mankind to follow. But I do not think that G-d has definitive plans – He gave us free will, and he meant it.  The world is ours to fix. G-d can be with us as a quiet partner, the “still, small voice.”

     

    • #11
  12. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The Old Testament is longer than the first 5 books. The major and minor prophets do prophesize about future events, are visited by angels and are given warnings about future events.  These same warnings carry into the New Testament, which doesn’t cancel the Old Testament – they are linked. God warns Israel all through the Bible – the Psalms have many prophetic warnings. They were Watchmen on the Wall with a specific message – the same message that Jesus gives: turn from your sins and back to God or suffer the consequences. He always gives signs before His wrath, such as the story of Noah, and Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. 

    Man today is being worshiped instead of God. We don’t earn our way to heaven, no matter how many good deeds. God is more than a whisper. If humans could fix the world, it would be “fixed” by now?  Does it look like things are getting better?  

    • #12
  13. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    The Old Testament is longer than the first 5 books.

    Judaism and Christianity disagree on the primacy of the texts. To Jews, the 5 Books are the only literal word of G-d to Jews – and the text specifically forbids any later prophets who might contradict or nullify the commandments therein. 

    Christianity sees newer texts as overlays on the old – and LDS takes this to its logical limit, IMO.

    … turn from your sins and back to God or suffer the consequences. He always gives signs before His wrath, such as the story of Noah, and Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Not really. Noah’s contemporaries were not necessarily warned. Nor were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Man today is being worshiped instead of God.

    The Greeks did this even more – their gods looked exactly like men!

    We don’t earn our way to heaven, no matter how many good deeds.

    Judaism holds that our deeds are what matter the most. 

    God is more than a whisper.

    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    If humans could fix the world, it would be “fixed” by now?

    We are just bad at it. To address the problem, we first have to accept it. People who refuse responsibility for the world cannot help fix it.

    Does it look like things are getting better?

    No. Which is why we must be more committed and creative in solving the problem, especially through our marketing. To succeed, we need more people on board. To achieve that, we need to do a better job of explaining what G-d wants, why it matters, and how the meaning and purpose of this grand task is deeply fulfilling.

     

    • #13
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    iWe (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe:

    A Mormon friend called me the other day, and wanted to talk about the concept of redemption. He wanted to better understand the Jewish/Torah point of view on what, especially to Christians, is quite an important topic. After all, what does the end of the world look like? Are there End Days of some kind?

    I’m lost. You think Christians must be thinking about the end of the world when we think about redemption?

    Actually, I plead ignorance. I thought the Second Coming is redemption?

    No – Jesus offered Redemption through belief in Him, being baptized and forgiveness of sins. That is why God became man in the person of Jesus, yet still Divine. When He ascended into heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in believers (The Book of Acts) and all Christians. We can’t earn forgiveness, but the desire to please God through our behavior is still free will. The Second Coming is when the world turns against Israel and tries to destroy her, and at that point the world will be so bad that “if those days were not shortened, no man could survive it”. God will not allow it, but He will allow the world to go through a purification process (of it’s own making) and realize the need for a Savior, that man cannot save himself.

    Are not the Jews still waiting for the Messiah or is that not taught anymore? If man can fix things, then why the need for a Messiah?  The issue of free will is present in the Jewish faith? So what happens to the Jews who reject God? If nothing, then what is the point of a Messiah?  Do the Jews believe in an immortal soul? It is in the Old Testament. What happens to those souls who reject God? There is more common ground here with Christians than you think.

    • #14
  15. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    iWe (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    The Old Testament is longer than the first 5 books.

    Judaism and Christianity disagree on the primacy of the texts. To Jews, the 5 Books are the only literal word of G-d to Jews – and the text specifically forbids any later prophets who might contradict or nullify the commandments therein.

    Christianity sees newer texts as overlays on the old – and LDS takes this to its logical limit, IMO.

    … turn from your sins and back to God or suffer the consequences. He always gives signs before His wrath, such as the story of Noah, and Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Not really. Noah’s contemporaries were not necessarily warned. Nor were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Man today is being worshiped instead of God.

    The Greeks did this even more – their gods looked exactly like men!

    We don’t earn our way to heaven, no matter how many good deeds.

    Judaism holds that our deeds are what matter the most.

    God is more than a whisper.

    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    If humans could fix the world, it would be “fixed” by now?

    We are just bad at it. To address the problem, we first have to accept it. People who refuse responsibility for the world cannot help fix it.

    Does it look like things are getting better?

    No. Which is why we must be more committed and creative in solving the problem, especially through our marketing. To succeed, we need more people on board. To achieve that, we need to do a better job of explaining what G-d wants, why it matters, and how the meaning and purpose of this grand task is deeply fulfilling.

    God clearly avoids open miracles? Wow! What about Moses parting The Red Sea and all the miracles he did in front of Ramses? The falling of manna from the sky? What about the marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing the trumpets and they fell? You can’t fix the world through better marketing! Are you pulling my leg?

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    God clearly avoids open miracles? Wow! What about Moses parting The Red Sea and all the miracles he did in front of Ramses? The falling of manna from the sky? What about the marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing the trumpets and they fell? You can’t fix the world through better marketing! Are you pulling my leg?

    I think he no longer provides miracles because people are not changed by them. We may be temporarily grateful, but then we go back to our old ways. 

    I always expect @iwe to correct or add to what I’ve said if I have it wrong!

    • #16
  17. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Are not the Jews still waiting for the Messiah or is that not taught anymore?

    There is a disagreement on this. I view the concept of Messiah as a foreign corruption, since the Torah has nothing of it. Most mainstream orthodox Jews would disagree with me. 

    If man can fix things, then why the need for a Messiah? 

    Ibid.

    The issue of free will is present in the Jewish faith?

    Absolutely.

    So what happens to the Jews who reject God?

    They, too, have free will. Those who do not want a relatioship with the divine will not have it. That is its own consequence.

    If nothing, then what is the point of a Messiah? 

    Not clear, even to those who believe in it. Certainly to bring the temple back, but beyond that…. no consensus.

    Do the Jews believe in an immortal soul? It is in the Old Testament.

    Yes, but it may return to its Creator – our souls may end up in an afterlife, or they might be recycled, or they might return to become part of G-d again, adding to His glory.

    What happens to those souls who reject God? 

    Not clear. It is a loss for G-d and the world, to be sure.

     

    • #17
  18. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    God clearly avoids open miracles?

    After the temple, certainly. No doubt about it.

    Wow! What about Moses parting The Red Sea and all the miracles he did in front of Ramses? The falling of manna from the sky? What about the marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing the trumpets and they fell?

    All ancient. And of limited efficacy. It turns out the people do not change or grow just because G-d does a miracle. The change has to come within us.

    You can’t fix the world through better marketing!

    Of course you can. If you can convince people to aim to be good, then that is success. And it comes through marketing.

    Are you pulling my leg?

    Not even a little. We are in a marketing campaign for the soul of each person and the future of our world. The forces of evil know it, understand it, and are beating us, in no small part because we refuse to even acknowledge that there is a marketing war going on!

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):
    And of limited efficacy. It turns out the people do not change or grow just because G-d does a miracle. The change has to come within us.

    Hence Deuteronomy 30, Isaiah 61, Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 36.

    • #19
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    God clearly avoids open miracles?

    After the temple, certainly. No doubt about it.

    Wow! What about Moses parting The Red Sea and all the miracles he did in front of Ramses? The falling of manna from the sky? What about the marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing the trumpets and they fell?

    All ancient. And of limited efficacy. It turns out the people do not change or grow just because G-d does a miracle. The change has to come within us.

    You can’t fix the world through better marketing!

    Of course you can. If you can convince people to aim to be good, then that is success. And it comes through marketing.

    Are you pulling my leg?

    Not even a little. We are in a marketing campaign for the soul of each person and the future of our world. The forces of evil know it, understand it, and are beating us, in no small part because we refuse to even acknowledge that there is a marketing war going on!

    So miracles don’t work because the change has to come from within us.

    And yet marketing works.

    Marketing works, but miracles don’t work–not even miracles as marketing!

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):
    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    So despite Psalm 95’s entirely accurate observations on the Torah, miracles threaten free will.

    And G-d interfered with the free will of Moses. But G-d definitely won’t interfere with ours.

    iWe, this doesn’t make much sense.

    If my kids know by very good evidence that I exist and have instructed them to do such-and-such, they still have free will to obey or disobey. It may even be that this knowledge is a prerequisite for a meaningful use of free will. I don’t value their obedience to what they guess I might possibly have said if I exist. I value their obedience to what they well know I did say.

    • #21
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    iWe (View Comment):
    Judaism and Christianity disagree on the primacy of the texts. To Jews, the 5 Books are the only literal word of G-d to Jews – . . .

    I thought about replying from my notes, but . . . there’s too much! Maybe later from a proper desktop. (But maybe not!)

    . . . and the text specifically forbids any later prophets who might contradict or nullify the commandments therein. 

    Of course it does. Tell a Christian who doesn’t know that. Good luck finding one.

    • #22
  23. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Rabbi Tovia Singer, addressing an audience, explained one of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.

    Rabbi Tovia Singer said:

    In Christian teaching there is a doctrine of incarnation.  It is expressed most vividly in the prologue of John.  That somehow the Word became Flesh and dwelt among you.

    And therefore that would be a source of comfort for someone who is struggling mightily with pain, loneliness, a self-esteem that’s been shattered, a person who’s constant companion is hurt from the people who are closest to you, who betrayed you.

    In order to solve man’s problem God came and dwelt among you.  The Christian effort is to create God in the image of man.  Judaism really is the reverse.  It’s God’s successful effort to in creating man in His image.  The opposite. 

    • #23
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Rabbi Tovia Singer, addressing an audience, explained one of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.

    Rabbi Tovia Singer said:

    In Christian teaching there is a doctrine of incarnation. It is expressed most vividly in the prologue of John. That somehow the Word became Flesh and dwelt among you.

    And therefore that would be a source of comfort for someone who is struggling mightily with pain, loneliness, a self-esteem that’s been shattered, a person who’s constant companion is hurt from the people who are closest to you, who betrayed you.

    In order to solve man’s problem God came and dwelt among you. The Christian effort is to create God in the image of man. Judaism really is the reverse. It’s God’s successful effort to in creating man in His image. The opposite.

    That conclusion is a pretty epic misrepresentation of Christianity.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Rabbi Tovia Singer, addressing an audience, explained one of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.

    Rabbi Tovia Singer said:

    In Christian teaching there is a doctrine of incarnation. It is expressed most vividly in the prologue of John. That somehow the Word became Flesh and dwelt among you.

    And therefore that would be a source of comfort for someone who is struggling mightily with pain, loneliness, a self-esteem that’s been shattered, a person who’s constant companion is hurt from the people who are closest to you, who betrayed you.

    In order to solve man’s problem God came and dwelt among you. The Christian effort is to create God in the image of man. Judaism really is the reverse. It’s God’s successful effort to in creating man in His image. The opposite.

    That conclusion is a pretty epic misrepresentation of Christianity.

    And of course, the whole elegance of God becoming man, is that man was in fact created by Him in His own image.  So it is not unseemly that He could become one of us, stepping into His own image without losing any of His divine nature.

    • #25
  26. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    So despite Psalm 95’s entirely accurate observations on the Torah, miracles threaten free will.

    And G-d interfered with the free will of Moses. But G-d definitely won’t interfere with ours.

    iWe, this just makes no sense.

    If my kids know by very good evidence that I exist and have instructed them to do such-and-such, they still have free will to obey or disobey.
    It may even be that this knowledge is a prerequisite for a meaningful exercise of free
    will. I don’t value their obedience to what they guess I might possibly have said if I exist. I value their obedience to what they well know I did say.

    With no disrespect to the writer of this post or anyone else, I’ve often thought how the Antichrist would emerge – who would believe him – to convince a fallen world on the brink of destruction to accept a mark on the hand or forehead, to be able to buy or sell or earn a living, to convince a fallen world that the answer is within ourselves – the oldest lie – the serpent in the garden – ye shall be as gods (selfies anyone?). If the Antichrist has a good marketing dept, that is how it will happen.  I think Klaus Schwab works in that dept. (not being facetious)……

    • #26
  27. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    So despite Psalm 95’s entirely accurate observations on the Torah, miracles threaten free will.

    And G-d interfered with the free will of Moses. But G-d definitely won’t interfere with ours.

    iWe, this just makes no sense.

    If my kids know by very good evidence that I exist and have instructed them to do such-and-such, they still have free will to obey or disobey.
    It may even be that this knowledge is a prerequisite for a meaningful exercise of free
    will. I don’t value their obedience to what they guess I might possibly have said if I exist. I value their obedience to what they well know I did say.

    With no disrespect to the writer of this post or anyone else, I’ve often thought how the Antichrist would emerge – who would believe him – to convince a fallen world on the brink of destruction to accept a mark on the hand or forehead, to be able to buy or sell or earn a living, to convince a fallen world that the answer is within ourselves – the oldest lie – the serpent in the garden – ye shall be as gods (selfies anyone?). If the Antichrist has a good marketing dept, that is how it will happen. I think Klaus Schwab works in that dept. (not being facetious)……

    Marketing is like rhetoric and philosophy, isn’t it?  Some of it’s good; some of it’s bad.

    • #27
  28. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    To Jews, G- clearly avoids open miracles, and works quietly enough that His existence can be denied by rational people arguing in good faith. Otherwise free will would be threatened.

    So despite Psalm 95’s entirely accurate observations on the Torah, miracles threaten free will.

    And G-d interfered with the free will of Moses. But G-d definitely won’t interfere with ours.

    iWe, this just makes no sense.

    If my kids know by very good evidence that I exist and have instructed them to do such-and-such, they still have free will to obey or disobey.
    It may even be that this knowledge is a prerequisite for a meaningful exercise of free
    will. I don’t value their obedience to what they guess I might possibly have said if I exist. I value their obedience to what they well know I did say.

    With no disrespect to the writer of this post or anyone else, I’ve often thought how the Antichrist would emerge – who would believe him – to convince a fallen world on the brink of destruction to accept a mark on the hand or forehead, to be able to buy or sell or earn a living, to convince a fallen world that the answer is within ourselves – the oldest lie – the serpent in the garden – ye shall be as gods (selfies anyone?). If the Antichrist has a good marketing dept, that is how it will happen. I think Klaus Schwab works in that dept. (not being facetious)……

    One would think that God would have a better marketing department than the Antichrist.  

    Psalm 44:23 

    Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?  Awake, do not cast us off forever!

     

    • #28
  29. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    With no disrespect to the writer of this post or anyone else, I’ve often thought how the Antichrist would emerge – who would believe him – to convince a fallen world on the brink of destruction to accept a mark on the hand or forehead, to be able to buy or sell or earn a living, to convince a fallen world that the answer is within ourselves – the oldest lie – the serpent in the garden – ye shall be as gods (selfies anyone?). If the Antichrist has a good marketing dept, that is how it will happen. I think Klaus Schwab works in that dept. (not being facetious)……

    1 Kings 18:25-27

    Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

    Is God sleeping?

     

     

     

    • #29
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Is God sleeping?

    No. He’s always working. He neither slumbers nor sleeps.

    • #30