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Angels, talking snake,... Literally?

proglib
Posts: 391
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5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'm happy to go along with Hamlet and allow for there to be more on heaven and earth than in all of one's philosophies, however, one cannot have one's cake and eat it, too. If the bible is the word of God because you have faith that it is, no amount of science and logic or reason is going to change your beliefs.

@medic0506 gave the following polite and to the point answer:

"In the same way as one can have a scientific discussion over a hypothesis that the entire universe can be squished into a dot as small as a period on this page, or about life being able to create itself from a mud puddle, or animals changing into different kinds of animals by passing down the genes from the previous animals. Both sides can sound nonsensical, it just depends on which nonsense sounds least nonsensical. I'd rather believe in a talking snake than believe that a universe and life can create themselves. Besides, a talking snake shouldn't be totally unexpected, given the magical effects of mutations that evolutionists believe in."

I'm interested in a dialogue with other religious folks who also have a scientific background. Do many of you really feel it necessary to take the stories literally/verbatim?

I agree that much of science is fairly incomprehensible to me (black holes, Big Bang, etc.), but assume (take it on faith, perhaps) that there is a logical, empirical progression that a scientist goes through to get from observable data to quantum physics, for example.

I'm hoping to avoid a lot of trolling from extremists of either persuasion, but of course one knows to expect the unexpected on DDO.:D

http://www.debate.org...
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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5/14/2013 9:50:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
There are reports of demonic possession of humans. If those cases are real then I would imagine that possession of an animal would be much easier to accomplish.
AbnerGrimm
Posts: 114
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5/14/2013 10:34:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
You are forgetting that the snake was in the garden of God and not earthly. It was spiritual. It make look like a serpent but not a physical snake we know.
proglib
Posts: 391
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5/14/2013 11:03:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 10:34:06 PM, AbnerGrimm wrote:
You are forgetting that the snake was in the garden of God and not earthly. It was spiritual. It make look like a serpent but not a physical snake we know.

A valid response in my book.

As a spiritual being it begins to sound to me like metaphor. This is not a criticism. Just an attempt to bridge the divide of understanding.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
proglib
Posts: 391
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5/14/2013 11:14:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 9:50:55 PM, medic0506 wrote:
There are reports of demonic possession of humans. If those cases are real then I would imagine that possession of an animal would be much easier to accomplish.

Thanks for your response.

As an open-minded (I hope) skeptic, though, I would say there is a link in this chain of reasoning that I'm not sure I make it all the way across:

* some have reported demonic possession of humans;
* it is possible that those humans were psychologically damaged in a way that caused them to exhibit behaviors that others interpreted as possession;
* snakes do not have the psychological or physiological attributes to exhibit demonic behaviors such as vocalizing

It's possible we have a divide here that will not be bridged short of a spiritual revelation that I have not had.

I can see the leap of faith to a higher power. However, barring certain types of revelation connected to the bible, I just don't see the reason for believing the supernatural descriptions in that holy book rather than those of Hinduism or Islam, etc.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
Composer
Posts: 5,858
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5/15/2013 2:54:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 9:50:55 PM, medic0506 wrote:
There are reports of demonic possession of humans. If those cases are real then I would imagine that possession of an animal would be much easier to accomplish.

If you ask me of course, I submit that this whole 'demon' thing is extraordinarily silly. There's a valid reason for that. Let's assume for a second that a demon possesses a so called xtian. That person - by being possessed - is not responsible for their actions and, without the demon, being a self acclaimed lover of Story book jebus, is undoubtedly under its protection? LOL!

Hence possessing them is a pointless endeavour. If, on the other hand, the possessed individual is a hell-bound atheist or pagan, it's pointless possessing them, you might as well just let them die all by themselves. In either instance, these demons are simply wasting immaterial energy.

In fact, I would submit that the very last people we would look at and ever consider demon possessed are the kind of idiots that run in front of trucks and cars. Instead, given their obvious knowledge of the inner workings of immortal existence and universe coupled with their apparent desire to push everyone towards evil, they'd actually possess presidents and global celebrities. The pope would be a prime example as would Santa Claus and David Beckham.

In the case of Santa, (an anagram of satan), what better way to get people on your side than to hand them free gifts consisting of everything they've ever wanted? (My thanks to SnakeyStew for the Original Concept.)

Your redeemer & saviour moi!
Composer
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5/15/2013 3:05:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 11:14:32 PM, proglib wrote:
At 5/14/2013 9:50:55 PM, medic0506 wrote:
There are reports of demonic possession of humans. If those cases are real then I would imagine that possession of an animal would be much easier to accomplish.

Thanks for your response.

At 5/14/2013 11:14:32 PM, proglib wrote:
As an open-minded (I hope) skeptic, though, I would say there is a link in this chain of reasoning that I'm not sure I make it all the way across:

* some have reported demonic possession of humans;

Who. when, whereabouts, what happened to them?

At 5/14/2013 11:14:32 PM, proglib wrote:
* it is possible that those humans were psychologically damaged in a way that caused them to exhibit behaviors that others interpreted as possession;

In olden days medical terms and the causes of diseases were unknown. Most illness, especially insanity, was attributed to evil spirits or demons. The Aramaic text refers to sick men and women, some mentally afflicted and others paralytic or lame, who were healed by the apostle Philip. It was these who cried with loud voices and gave thanks, and not the evil spirits. . .

Dr. George M. Lamsa New Testament Light (Philadelphia: A. J.Holman, 1945), pp. 57- 58.

At 5/14/2013 11:14:32 PM, proglib wrote:
* snakes do not have the psychological or physiological attributes to exhibit demonic behaviors such as vocalizing
Story book states that this creature before it was punished it didn't crawl on its belly (Gen. 3:14) KJV Story book

This creature spoke absolute Truth whilst Story book god lied!

Story book jebus also extolled the superior wisdom / accurate intellect of the Serpent Creature above ALL others including itself & its god! Matt. 10:16 Story book


It's possible we have a divide here that will not be bridged short of a spiritual revelation that I have not had.

I can see the leap of faith to a higher power. However, barring certain types of revelation connected to the bible, I just don't see the reason for believing the supernatural descriptions in that holy book rather than those of Hinduism or Islam, etc.
Composer
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5/15/2013 3:09:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 10:34:06 PM, AbnerGrimm wrote:
You are forgetting that the snake was in the garden of God and not earthly. It was spiritual. It make look like a serpent but not a physical snake we know.
Story book states that there is ONLY 1 Spirit - (Eph. 4: 4) KJV Story book

So IF you claim you have a ' Holy-Spirit person / being ' then that's all your Spirits used up, hence the Serpent Creature CAN NOT BE ANOTHER SPIRIT being!
Fruitytree
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5/15/2013 4:19:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
That snake, is Satan, Devils can take the shape of men or animals or can also be unaparant, they are creatures we haven't been able to study yet, doesn't mean they don't exist.

And Angels, equally, do come to earth and can appear manly or just be unapparent, but we haven't been studying them, because we can't know them scientifically, but we can't affirm they do not exist!

Those are just creatures of God, our given knowledge cannot study.
Sidewalker
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5/15/2013 5:17:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course Genesis is not literal, it is a metaphorical or allegorical Biblical narrative.

The Book of Genesis is a foundational narrative to half of the world"s people; this would be completely unaccountable if it were merely a literal description of very unusual events that occurred in our distant past. A literal translation of Genesis makes it remote and irrelevant and quite frankly, doesn"t make sense. A literal translation could never account for its historical status as the western world"s foundational orienting myth for over three thousand years of mankind"s development, and to treat it as merely an historical narrative account alters its original intent and completely obfuscates the profound truths which the symbolic narrative imparts. Genesis was never intended to be an historical description of events that actually happened; and the people who told it and heard it knew that. It is a myth that symbolically expresses mankind's codified subjective memory of real events that occurred in our distant past. It is not literally true; it's more profound than that, rather it is the embodiment of a deeper truth; it imparts important metaphysical postulates which have not lost their relevance.

Our spiritual detractors have tried to redefine myth as simply a story that isn"t true, but of course they don"t know what they are talking about, that is nothing but an agenda driven, simplistic, and petty definition that is based on their own uninformed and one-dimensional literalism, it has no bearing on an informed or true definition of myth. As an unfortunate consequence and in a self defeating reaction to this nonsense, many believers try to defend their beloved myths on that literalistic level, which only serves the purpose of sharpening doctrinal debate and strengthening an anti-Theistic position by negating the text and eliminating any chance that it could foster religious awareness, which of course is the spiritual detractors agenda.

Science tries to tell the story from a strictly objective frame of reference, in order to do so it knowingly intends to completely eliminate the subjective "point of view" from its frame of reference. Ontologically speaking, science consciously detaches itself from a vital and defining aspect of reality, eliminating consciousness as an essential dimension of reality from its frame of reference, which from the external frame of reference of science becomes nothing but a secondary epiphenomenon, something purely incidental.

Enter the narrative form; that much maligned form of expression that the literalist pseudo-scientists of scientism like to denigrate because it is a non-literal style of writing. The narrative form tells a story, and in order to do so it must tell it from a subjective point of view, that of the narrator. It necessarily presupposes consciousness, the inner aspect of reality, and in so doing, it provides for an experiential point of view, placing the attributes of humanity back into the picture the story becomes a human story with context, it relates to a coherent worldview and it is able to speak to values, meaning, and purpose.

In the narrative form consciousness is primary and an additional dimension of reality becomes available to the story teller, one that corresponds to an increase of depth that transcends science"s four dimensions of outer reality. The narrative adds a dimension that introduces to the element of perception the subjective connection to Man, it reintroduces consciousness into the world of objects. This is why it has always been historically used by people of faith to provide interior unity and wholeness, to integrate the subjective and experiential elements of humanity to include values, meaning, and purpose, and provide a coherent and integrated worldview consistent with what it means to be human. In the vehicle of the narrative form the linear, rational, and objective human mind of the left brain is balanced by the nonlinear, synthesizing, and subjective mind of the image processing right brain, the R-Complex, the emotional limbic system, and the prefrontal cortex come into play. In the narrative form the ability of language to convey concepts advances, it is not a primitive form of language use, it is an advancement of language, a breaking of structure providing a dramatic change in the frame of reference that completes knowledge and makes it relevant to a human being.

That said, you can"t understand Genesis unless you understand what it is, it is indeed a myth, a rich repository of wisdom that was an oral tradition handed down through the ages through narrative story telling. Consequently, Genesis was not originally linguistic in its true nature and it was never meant to be read in a left-brained, linear or analytical fashion, as story telling it is meant to convey images that take place in the inner world.

Genesis is narrative story telling through imagery, words are used to create the images, but the images are primary, not the words. If it is perceived initially by the image processing functions of the brain rather than the linguistic functions, it becomes an interactive story for the whole brain that reads it. Both hemispheres are engaged in processing the narrative, which gives it the potential of promoting personal growth and spiritual awakening. Our neural ability to process new ideas is dependent upon first being able to process new imagery, new ways of seeing precede new ways of thinking. It"s the vivid imagery of Genesis that makes it so captivating, by viewing it through its imagery, we open up our brain"s interpretive mechanisms and learn to see in new ways, which is what has made it such a profoundly influential and foundational myth for the last three thousand years. By reframing Genesis as mythology, we expand our awareness and enlarge our perception, activating generative forces at work in the brain and psyche.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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5/15/2013 5:20:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So what is it about? It certainly isn"t about two individuals named Adam and Eve, it is about mankind, the Hebrew word "Adam" translates to the word "Mankind", and this is explicitly confirmed in the first two verses of Genesis 5. The word "Genesis" means "in the beginning", it relates the true nature of mankind and poignantly addresses the subject of "knowledge", particularly speaking to the development of the "reflective knowledge" that distinguishes mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom, and it talks to the consequences of our having taken that humanizing step.

In so doing it establishes the basis for all that follows; it must be kept in mind that Genesis "prefaces" a book that quite explicitly states we are all "One" and consequently, we should not judge one another. Genesis teaches us to recognize the relationships inherent in wholeness, growth from incompleteness to wholeness is the real subject of Genesis. Genesis is an orienting myth that provides us with subjective meaning, it tells us why things are like they are and it positions us within the universe and speaks to our relevance in the grand scheme of things, relating our emotional reaction, establishing it's significance, providing it's meaning, and demanding a response. It conveys a deep understanding of the birth of consciousness and the subsequent transition from a life based on instinct to one involving self-awareness, explaining and relating the resultant requirements for conscious and moral decision-making, as well as responsible stewardship for Life and Earth, over which we have been "given dominion" because of the unique way we think.

To do that it begins by providing external context with a brief description of external reality through a technique of recapitulation that was widely practiced in ancient Semitic cultures. Genesis 1 recapitulates the story of the creation of external reality in only thirty-one sentences and while the Bible is not a science textbook, there is indeed a remarkable correspondence between what science tells us and what Genesis tells us about the creation of physical reality up to the point when mankind emerged.

After providing that brief external context the story of internal reality begins, Genesis 1 is chronological and Genesis 2 is topical, the transition of the point of view from external to internal reality is an inversion clearly signaled with reversed language ordering (heaven/earth and earth/heaven for instance) and the use of different names for deity, in Genesis 1 the plural form Elohim is used to reference God"s external nature as the power of a mighty creator of the plurality of external reality, Genesis 2 is about internal reality, and the sacred singular name YHVH is used to reference the essential moral, spiritual and singularly personal nature of the internal dimension of deity. In Genesis 1 mankind is the final creation in a chronological series, created in the "image of God" with no further explanation, Genesis 2 references 1 by saying that we were formed from the dust of the ground, and then explains the phrase that we were "made in the image of God". In Genesis 2 mankind is primary in a topical discussion of internal reality, the inverted point of view is now an internal subjective point of view, and therefore necessarily begins with mankind as central. The context has been set, and the story is now about our consciousness, about the unique way that human"s think, and it is told from an internal point of view in a language of images created by the psyche that are psychological, spiritual, and personal, using metaphors of the psyche"s struggle to empower its growth process.

The Genesis narrative is about the genesis of consciousness, the birth of something new, it is a new beginning that represents a new life, with new potential and new opportunities to move beyond all previous limitations and constraints, and along with that new life come the deepest truths of human essence. It is therefore a necessary preface to the Bible that introduces the birth of "free will" and sets an explanatory stage for exploring its attendant consequences and associated moral responsibility.

Genesis 1 externally places us in the context of the wholeness of reality, a reality that culminates with the emergence of mankind, we like to say we must "face reality" but we can"t face reality because we are in it, we are an integral part of reality, so why do we say that? It"s because of the way we think, Genesis 2, explains that it is in our nature to think that we "face reality", Genesis addresses that aspect of the nature of Man and speaks to what we must do to overcome that nature, setting the stage for everything that follows, which is what a books preface does.

The culminating point in the evolution of the external universe described in Genesis 1 is the emergence of man, a primate animal that ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and became different than all other creatures, it categorically became the first human, we don"t just know; we know that we know. This was not simply a change of degree, it was a change of kind, it is sometimes debated but certainly undeniable that we are quite "other". We fundamentally think differently and there can be no doubt about that, just look at our science and its resulting technology, our language, and our culture. The other animals are said to be perfectly adapted to their environment, it is a sharply defined and delimited environment but they are perfectly adapted to it. We are not, and to find peace and harmony, we must overcome that lost harmony with nature and once again integrate ourselves with the whole
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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5/15/2013 5:22:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The fact of "knowledge" would be unaccountable without a distinction between subject and object, knowledge requires a distinction between the knowing subject and the reality known and our access to self-reflective consciousness achieved that, but when we ate from the fruit of that tree, we necessarily separated ourselves from perfection, we were no longer perfectly attuned to, and One with nature, we were "cast out of the garden of perfection", so to speak. The first humans were the first animals to image reality in a detached and symbolic manner, and everything that is distinctively human, language, culture, science, technology, it all followed from that "break" with the true reality we were once part of. We are separated from reality by this bifurcation of things into "us" and "not us", by this "illusion" that reality is not an unbroken whole, the illusion that the whole is not greater than the parts, and the illusion that we can somehow stand outside of and apart from reality and face it. Genesis tells us that we stand apart from it and look upon the universe "as if we were Gods", seeing a "reflection", an inverted and artificial image of ourselves as beings that are separate from reality. Interestingly, evolutionary theory tells us that this "change of state" caused an unprecedented explosion in brain growth which resulted in something believed even today to unique to humans, because the brain explosively grew faster than the evolution allowed the female"s body to accommodate that growth in brain size, we alone have painful childbirth, that as a consequence "we conceive in sorrow", so to speak.

The tree of life then represents the need to transcend the first tree. Genesis tells us that we do not "face" reality, that "we" and "it" are one and the same. To eat from "the fruit of the tree of life" then, is to overcome that separation, to once again transcend the illusion brought about by our having partaken of "fruit of the tree of knowledge". To transcend our fallen state of reflective knowledge is to live in the moment, to transcend the artificial categories we have artificially imposed on the unbroken wholeness. It is to overcome that flaming sword of reason which turns us in every direction and to reenter the Garden of Perfection. It is to transcend the artificial distinctions we make in our minds and love the ultimate reality (God) and love one another as we love ourselves, because there is no real distinction in the true, unbroken reality, they are one and the same.

For us, and only for us, this thing that made us human and gave us "dominion" over the earth, science"s crossing of the threshold of reflection and faith"s "casting us out of the Garden of perfection". This cognitive break with the whole transformed the world of perfection that we were once perfectly attuned to into a terrifying world of separate things and events. It became a world where we are naked and ashamed, where we must toil to survive, where we must have faith to live, and where we must recognize that we are also spiritual beings. What Genesis is telling us is that unless we accept a deeper understanding of our profound interrelatedness with all of life, until we recognize that a part can never be whole, if we don't consciously "eat from the fruit of the tree of life" so to speak, we will never find inner peace and external harmony, we will continue to lay waste to our mother earth and go on killing ourselves and each other.

When I read Christian scripture I read about a Man who truly understood the tree of life and completely embodied it in such a way that many identify him with it by saying that he and it are one and the same, He is said to be one who transcended the artificial category distinctions of knowledge so completely that two billion people today believe that that he was not fallen. He was a man that told us we must have faith in the totality of being and must love one another as we love ourselves, my conception of the two trees helps me understand that man"s words.

I stand in awe of the Book of Genesis, I see in it that "the end is in the beginning", and I see that Mankind knew three thousand years ago something so fundamental that we have forgotten it, and maybe now, after three thousand years of "progress", it is something we are prepared to understand again. We are the embodiment of two "polar opposites", two ways of "knowing", separating and unifying, linear and synthetic, left and right brained, body and soul, matter and spirit, Man and God, all are unified in Mankind. To say that opposites are polar is to say much more than they are merely "opposed", it is to say that they represent two ends of a unified whole. And only by embracing both sides of our nature in a grand unifying convergence, a divine dance of body and soul, can we overcome this fallen state, to be complete we must indeed dance to the harmony of nature.

If we eat of the fruit of the tree of life, if we choose to think of the universe as an unbroken whole and recognize that we are a part of it, that "we" and "it" aren"t really two separate things, then we will understand that we are essential. Then we will see that we as individuals are only a component part of a "greater life" and our participation in that greater life is what matters most. With a deep conviction in the fundamental solidarity of life maybe we can see that the distinctions we make in our minds may be useful, but they are only artificial distinctions that we make, only an illusion. Maybe then can we understand that life is not a "conflict" between opposites, and maybe we can begin to think differently about other things and other people. We can begin to see that cooperation is what is natural, that competition is what doesn"t make sense, and we can see that religious one-upmanship is a betrayal of spirit. If we can come to think that everything plays an essential part in a greater whole then maybe we can start seeing value in the differences between people rather than meet it with fear or resentment. Maybe we can stop confusing unity with sameness, and find the divine unity in the diversity by loving one another as we love ourselves. Maybe we can begin to realize that if we could just think differently, we could stop killing each other and live in harmony. If we eat from the fruit of the tree of life, maybe we will be back on our way to the "Promised Land" so to speak.

Maybe then can we come to understand that what lies between the poles is most real, genuine, and significant. It is at the equator where the poles of the earth intermingle and where the planet sustains the mutual interaction of its own two poles. It is also at the equator where the earth is warm and colorful, where life springs eternal with endless variety, and where the possibility becomes reality. At the poles the world is cold and barren, colorless and empty, harsh and practically lifeless.

I think that a central point where science, philosophy and all faiths are converging is that mankind is itself positioned at the equator of the universe. Humanity is that essential point where the seemingly opposed terms of reality come together and intermingle; that point where the mutual interaction of the polar opposites dance. It is in Man that subjective and objective, life and death, good and evil, matter and space, grace and works, transcendence and imminence, science and religion, the finite and the infinite, personal identity and unbroken wholeness; all of these things dance together in the light of eternity.

And that is what Genesis is trying to tell us, that to find inner peace and harmony; we must dance in such a way that we integrate the different spheres of influence to embody the perfect harmony of the universe in body and soul.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
v3nesl
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5/15/2013 7:40:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM, proglib wrote:
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'd just like to make the point that things can both be literal, and be parables. We do this sort of thing all the time when we "make an example" of someone, or "send a message" by some action, etc. So you can have a real talking snake without the story really being in essence about a talking snake.

And btw, there is, technically, no talking snake in Genesis. There is a creature that is turned into a snake. The Hebrew is a little vague on what the original being was, something on the order of "shining one".
This space for rent.
Composer
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5/16/2013 12:14:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/15/2013 7:40:37 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM, proglib wrote:
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'd just like to make the point that things can both be literal, and be parables. We do this sort of thing all the time when we "make an example" of someone, or "send a message" by some action, etc. So you can have a real talking snake without the story really being in essence about a talking snake.

And btw, there is, technically, no talking snake in Genesis. There is a creature that is turned into a snake. The Hebrew is a little vague on what the original being was, something on the order of "shining one".

According to the bible Story book this ' shining one / Lucifer ' = jebus!

See 2 Pet. 1:19 & Rev. 22:16
proglib
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5/16/2013 2:21:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/15/2013 7:40:37 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM, proglib wrote:
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'd just like to make the point that things can both be literal, and be parables. We do this sort of thing all the time when we "make an example" of someone, or "send a message" by some action, etc. So you can have a real talking snake without the story really being in essence about a talking snake.

And btw, there is, technically, no talking snake in Genesis. There is a creature that is turned into a snake. The Hebrew is a little vague on what the original being was, something on the order of "shining one".

Thanks for your response, and for the clarification on Genesis. (Which still leaves us with magical thinking, though.)

Your call to not take things too literally (and the response of Sidewalker that I'm still only part way through reading) is more the way I lean. To me the answers to meta-physical questions are SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED than any literal discussion could possibly touch.

And though the Original Proposition (or "OP", did I get that right?) seem to some like an obvious straw person that I've set up, that was not my intention. There are clearly smart people who take many of the supernatural stories from the bible fairly literally. I have a hard time understanding that, and appreciate the dialogue about it.

CHEERS!
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
proglib
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5/16/2013 2:39:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/15/2013 5:17:11 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
Of course Genesis is not literal, it is a metaphorical or allegorical Biblical narrative.

The Book of Genesis is a foundational narrative to half of the world"s people; this would be completely unaccountable if it were merely a literal description of very unusual events that occurred in our distant past. A literal translation of Genesis makes it remote and irrelevant and quite frankly, doesn"t make sense. A literal translation could never account for its historical status as the western world"s foundational orienting myth for over three thousand years of mankind"s development, and to treat it as merely an historical narrative account alters its original intent and completely obfuscates the profound truths which the symbolic narrative imparts. Genesis was never intended to be an historical description of events that actually happened; and the people who told it and heard it knew that. It is a myth that symbolically expresses mankind's codified subjective memory of real events that occurred in our distant past. It is not literally true; it's more profound than that, rather it is the embodiment of a deeper truth; it imparts important metaphysical postulates which have not lost their relevance.

Our spiritual detractors have tried to redefine myth as simply a story that isn"t true, but of course they don"t know what they are talking about, that is nothing but an agenda driven, simplistic, and petty definition that is based on their own uninformed and one-dimensional literalism, it has no bearing on an informed or true definition of myth. As an unfortunate consequence and in a self defeating reaction to this nonsense, many believers try to defend their beloved myths on that literalistic level, which only serves the purpose of sharpening doctrinal debate and strengthening an anti-Theistic position by negating the text and eliminating any chance that it could foster religious awareness, which of course is the spiritual detractors agenda.

Science tries to tell the story from a strictly objective frame of reference, in order to do so it knowingly intends to completely eliminate the subjective "point of view" from its frame of reference. Ontologically speaking, science consciously detaches itself from a vital and defining aspect of reality, eliminating consciousness as an essential dimension of reality from its frame of reference, which from the external frame of reference of science becomes nothing but a secondary epiphenomenon, something purely incidental.

Enter the narrative form; that much maligned form of expression that the literalist pseudo-scientists of scientism like to denigrate because it is a non-literal style of writing. The narrative form tells a story, and in order to do so it must tell it from a subjective point of view, that of the narrator. It necessarily presupposes consciousness, the inner aspect of reality, and in so doing, it provides for an experiential point of view, placing the attributes of humanity back into the picture the story becomes a human story with context, it relates to a coherent worldview and it is able to speak to values, meaning, and purpose.

In the narrative form consciousness is primary and an additional dimension of reality becomes available to the story teller, one that corresponds to an increase of depth that transcends science"s four dimensions of outer reality. The narrative adds a dimension that introduces to the element of perception the subjective connection to Man, it reintroduces consciousness into the world of objects. This is why it has always been historically used by people of faith to provide interior unity and wholeness, to integrate the subjective and experiential elements of humanity to include values, meaning, and purpose, and provide a coherent and integrated worldview consistent with what it means to be human. In the vehicle of the narrative form the linear, rational, and objective human mind of the left brain is balanced by the nonlinear, synthesizing, and subjective mind of the image processing right brain, the R-Complex, the emotional limbic system, and the prefrontal cortex come into play. In the narrative form the ability of language to convey concepts advances, it is not a primitive form of language use, it is an advancement of language, a breaking of structure providing a dramatic change in the frame of reference that completes knowledge and makes it relevant to a human being.

That said, you can"t understand Genesis unless you understand what it is, it is indeed a myth, a rich repository of wisdom that was an oral tradition handed down through the ages through narrative story telling. Consequently, Genesis was not originally linguistic in its true nature and it was never meant to be read in a left-brained, linear or analytical fashion, as story telling it is meant to convey images that take place in the inner world.

Genesis is narrative story telling through imagery, words are used to create the images, but the images are primary, not the words. If it is perceived initially by the image processing functions of the brain rather than the linguistic functions, it becomes an interactive story for the whole brain that reads it. Both hemispheres are engaged in processing the narrative, which gives it the potential of promoting personal growth and spiritual awakening. Our neural ability to process new ideas is dependent upon first being able to process new imagery, new ways of seeing precede new ways of thinking. It"s the vivid imagery of Genesis that makes it so captivating, by viewing it through its imagery, we open up our brain"s interpretive mechanisms and learn to see in new ways, which is what has made it such a profoundly influential and foundational myth for the last three thousand years. By reframing Genesis as mythology, we expand our awareness and enlarge our perception, activating generative forces at work in the brain and psyche.

Thanks very much for an incredibly thoughtful response. To say that I appreciate it is an understatement. I'll leave it there, since my descriptive abilities are inadequate.

What you wrote puts me in mind of the work of Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts and others whom I've read (or listened to or watched) a bit.

As I said, I really didn't intend to set up a straw person. You have definitely elevated the discussion. [I've only read your first post as I don't have as much time for DDO as I'd like.]

THANKS, again!
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
Rational_Thinker9119
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5/16/2013 2:56:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 9:50:55 PM, medic0506 wrote:
There are reports of demonic possession of humans. If those cases are real then I would imagine that possession of an animal would be much easier to accomplish.

"There are reports of demonic possession of humans"

There are reports of Alien abductions too, and Big Foot.
Fatihah
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5/16/2013 4:57:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM, proglib wrote:
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'm happy to go along with Hamlet and allow for there to be more on heaven and earth than in all of one's philosophies, however, one cannot have one's cake and eat it, too. If the bible is the word of God because you have faith that it is, no amount of science and logic or reason is going to change your beliefs.

@medic0506 gave the following polite and to the point answer:

"In the same way as one can have a scientific discussion over a hypothesis that the entire universe can be squished into a dot as small as a period on this page, or about life being able to create itself from a mud puddle, or animals changing into different kinds of animals by passing down the genes from the previous animals. Both sides can sound nonsensical, it just depends on which nonsense sounds least nonsensical. I'd rather believe in a talking snake than believe that a universe and life can create themselves. Besides, a talking snake shouldn't be totally unexpected, given the magical effects of mutations that evolutionists believe in."

I'm interested in a dialogue with other religious folks who also have a scientific background. Do many of you really feel it necessary to take the stories literally/verbatim?

I agree that much of science is fairly incomprehensible to me (black holes, Big Bang, etc.), but assume (take it on faith, perhaps) that there is a logical, empirical progression that a scientist goes through to get from observable data to quantum physics, for example.

I'm hoping to avoid a lot of trolling from extremists of either persuasion, but of course one knows to expect the unexpected on DDO.:D

http://www.debate.org...

Response: It's not a matter of necessary, but what is. Allah (God) is a supreme being and it is well in His powers to literally make a talking serpent. So there's no difficulty in taking it literally.
Sower4GS
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5/17/2013 12:53:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
You should look up Lucifer, He's a bad boy. Don't follow Him.

"How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star, son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations?

The great dragon was thrown out, that ancient serpent, also known as the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
Rev_20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years.

He is a rotten snake! Bad air prince :(
Sower4GS
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5/17/2013 12:56:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Ya, don't trust no rotten talking snakes! TRUST YAHUSHA WHO IS ECHAD (ONE) with the FATHER who IS YHWH. Worship HIM!
Composer
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5/17/2013 6:26:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/17/2013 12:53:52 AM, Sower4GS wrote:
You should look up Lucifer, He's a bad boy. Don't follow Him.
True! The trinitarian jebus is a Mother Fukkr (Luke 1:35)

Also Story book jebus = Lucifer! cf. - The irony for those who believe that "Lucifer" refers to Satan is that the same title ('morning star' or 'light-bearer') is used to refer to Jesus, in 2 Peter 1:19, where the Greek text has exactly the same term: 'phos-phoros' 'light-bearer.' This is also the term used for Jesus in Revelation 22:16. (Source: http://lds-mormon.com...)

At 5/17/2013 12:53:52 AM, Sower4GS wrote:
The great dragon was thrown out, that ancient serpent, also known as the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], the deceiver of the whole world.:

Oops!

The Serpent of the Genesis Story book Narrative' DIDN'T deceive the whole world ' even when it existed with just Adam & Eve, LMAO!

See: And Adam was not deceived, . . . . (1 Tim. 2:14) ASV Story book

So called trinitarian xtians have lied from the beginning!

Your vindicated mentor moi!
v3nesl
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5/17/2013 7:10:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/16/2013 2:21:50 PM, proglib wrote:
At 5/15/2013 7:40:37 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 5/14/2013 7:46:01 PM, proglib wrote:
Thanks to @medic0506 for a polite answer to my perhaps annoying question on another topic.* I'll move it here so that I'm not trolling someone else's thread.

What I don't understand is how one can have a debate over the science or inerrant accuracy of a book that has a talking serpent. [Genesis 3:1]

I'd just like to make the point that things can both be literal, and be parables. We do this sort of thing all the time when we "make an example" of someone, or "send a message" by some action, etc. So you can have a real talking snake without the story really being in essence about a talking snake.

And btw, there is, technically, no talking snake in Genesis. There is a creature that is turned into a snake. The Hebrew is a little vague on what the original being was, something on the order of "shining one".

Thanks for your response, and for the clarification on Genesis. (Which still leaves us with magical thinking, though.)

I'm not sure what 'magical thinking' means. If you mean 'supernatural' - well yes, it admits of an outside entity. And if you can get over the post-modern objection to finding out we're not alone in cosmos, a whole bunch of other emotional objections begin to fall as well.

Let's say you walk into your living room and find a deck of cards stacked into a castle. If you think you're alone in the house, you suspect magic. If you know someone else lives there, you suspect that person stacked them. So, if God is, which I personally consider a no-brainer, then the acts of God are not magic, even if we find them strange.

The biggest magic act is the fact that I exist, and am sentient. This miracle is undeniable, and it seems kind of silly to expect the explanation of this miracle to be anything other than exceedingly strange.
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Sidewalker
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5/18/2013 7:09:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Our neural ability to process new ideas is dependent upon first being able to process new imagery, new ways of seeing precede new ways of thinking. It"s the vivid imagery of Genesis that makes it so captivating, by viewing it through its imagery, we open up our brain"s interpretive mechanisms and learn to see in new ways, which is what has made it such a profoundly influential and foundational myth for the last three thousand years."

As our societies foundational orienting myth, what I am contending here is that the very way in which we think has been shaped by the orienting image conveyed by Genesis. As already mentioned, Genesis 1 recapitulates the story of the creation of external reality in only thirty-one sentences, recognizing that what it imparted to our brain"s interpreted mechanisms was an image that taught us how to see in new ways, it profoundly influenced both how, and what we subsequently saw and interpreted. It is therefore no coincidence, that today, the detailed image that science has provided regarding the story of creation of external reality, is the same exact image conveyed in that original thirty-one sentences. Genesis gave us the image of a spontaneous creation of the universe as light, it began as pure energy, and Big Bang theory gave us an image of a spontaneous creation of the universe as pure energy, and everything that follows in both stories, seen as images, correspond perfectly every step of the way. I believe that the process/product circularity of Genesis as a story that defined the way we think accounts for that.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
AlbinoBunny
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5/18/2013 7:38:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course the Devil-snake is real. I ate it for breakfast yesterday, yum!
bladerunner060 | bsh1 , 2014! Presidency campaign!

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http://www.debate.org... - Running for president.
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Composer
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5/18/2013 10:46:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
angels, talking snake? (actually NOT a snake before it was punished in Story book Land - (Gen. 3:14)) KJV Story book

The OP forgot to mention the Immortal Worms!

(Mark 9:44, 46 & 48) KJV Story book
proglib
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5/19/2013 1:06:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/18/2013 10:46:15 PM, Composer wrote:
angels, talking snake? (actually NOT a snake before it was punished in Story book Land - (Gen. 3:14)) KJV Story book

The OP forgot to mention the Immortal Worms!

(Mark 9:44, 46 & 48) KJV Story book

OK, so were there any trolls? :D

We've established that there are both believers and atheists who want to argue over the literal words of the bible. Some are very smart on both sides.

To me, though, the most interesting discussion comes beyond the literalist debates. I'd much rather engage in an intelligent discussion of what the myth and mystery were pointing to. What can we really know on a meta stage?

I.e., the Big Bang and evolution are interesting theories. Personally, I put my faith in the scientists who teach them--in the following sense only: I've studied enough science to know how it works, and enough evolution-related science to feel comfortable that folks are using the scientific method. And I make a conscious choice to give them the benefit of the doubt when they are arguing with people who believe in literal talking snakes.

HOWEVER, they are both just theories, as far as I can tell. They are fairly new theories in the scheme of things. This is the reason for my self-labeling "agnostic" rather than "atheist." I've always thought of an agnostic as someone who admitted that "there is more in heaven and earth than in all [my scientific knowledge.]

And there are a lot of people I respect very much who believe in God, and seem to have reasons they think are good reasons, so I give them the benefit of the doubt, also.

It is just when it comes to arguing over literal resurrection, for example, and to up the ante a bit, I need a bit more reason to believe than I've ever seen.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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5/19/2013 5:01:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/15/2013 5:17:11 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
Of course Genesis is not literal, it is a metaphorical or allegorical Biblical narrative.

So Jesus lied??

The Book of Genesis is a foundational narrative to half of the world"s people; this would be completely unaccountable if it were merely a literal description of very unusual events that occurred in our distant past. A literal translation of Genesis makes it remote and irrelevant and quite frankly, doesn"t make sense. A literal translation could never account for its historical status as the western world"s foundational orienting myth for over three thousand years of mankind"s development, and to treat it as merely an historical narrative account alters its original intent and completely obfuscates the profound truths which the symbolic narrative imparts. Genesis was never intended to be an historical description of events that actually happened; and the people who told it and heard it knew that. It is a myth that symbolically expresses mankind's codified subjective memory of real events that occurred in our distant past. It is not literally true; it's more profound than that, rather it is the embodiment of a deeper truth; it imparts important metaphysical postulates which have not lost their relevance.

Our spiritual detractors have tried to redefine myth as simply a story that isn"t true, but of course they don"t know what they are talking about, that is nothing but an agenda driven, simplistic, and petty definition that is based on their own uninformed and one-dimensional literalism, it has no bearing on an informed or true definition of myth. As an unfortunate consequence and in a self defeating reaction to this nonsense, many believers try to defend their beloved myths on that literalistic level, which only serves the purpose of sharpening doctrinal debate and strengthening an anti-Theistic position by negating the text and eliminating any chance that it could foster religious awareness, which of course is the spiritual detractors agenda.

Science tries to tell the story from a strictly objective frame of reference, in order to do so it knowingly intends to completely eliminate the subjective "point of view" from its frame of reference. Ontologically speaking, science consciously detaches itself from a vital and defining aspect of reality, eliminating consciousness as an essential dimension of reality from its frame of reference, which from the external frame of reference of science becomes nothing but a secondary epiphenomenon, something purely incidental.

Enter the narrative form; that much maligned form of expression that the literalist pseudo-scientists of scientism like to denigrate because it is a non-literal style of writing. The narrative form tells a story, and in order to do so it must tell it from a subjective point of view, that of the narrator. It necessarily presupposes consciousness, the inner aspect of reality, and in so doing, it provides for an experiential point of view, placing the attributes of humanity back into the picture the story becomes a human story with context, it relates to a coherent worldview and it is able to speak to values, meaning, and purpose.

In the narrative form consciousness is primary and an additional dimension of reality becomes available to the story teller, one that corresponds to an increase of depth that transcends science"s four dimensions of outer reality. The narrative adds a dimension that introduces to the element of perception the subjective connection to Man, it reintroduces consciousness into the world of objects. This is why it has always been historically used by people of faith to provide interior unity and wholeness, to integrate the subjective and experiential elements of humanity to include values, meaning, and purpose, and provide a coherent and integrated worldview consistent with what it means to be human. In the vehicle of the narrative form the linear, rational, and objective human mind of the left brain is balanced by the nonlinear, synthesizing, and subjective mind of the image processing right brain, the R-Complex, the emotional limbic system, and the prefrontal cortex come into play. In the narrative form the ability of language to convey concepts advances, it is not a primitive form of language use, it is an advancement of language, a breaking of structure providing a dramatic change in the frame of reference that completes knowledge and makes it relevant to a human being.

That said, you can"t understand Genesis unless you understand what it is, it is indeed a myth, a rich repository of wisdom that was an oral tradition handed down through the ages through narrative story telling. Consequently, Genesis was not originally linguistic in its true nature and it was never meant to be read in a left-brained, linear or analytical fashion, as story telling it is meant to convey images that take place in the inner world.

Genesis is narrative story telling through imagery, words are used to create the images, but the images are primary, not the words. If it is perceived initially by the image processing functions of the brain rather than the linguistic functions, it becomes an interactive story for the whole brain that reads it. Both hemispheres are engaged in processing the narrative, which gives it the potential of promoting personal growth and spiritual awakening. Our neural ability to process new ideas is dependent upon first being able to process new imagery, new ways of seeing precede new ways of thinking. It"s the vivid imagery of Genesis that makes it so captivating, by viewing it through its imagery, we open up our brain"s interpretive mechanisms and learn to see in new ways, which is what has made it such a profoundly influential and foundational myth for the last three thousand years. By reframing Genesis as mythology, we expand our awareness and enlarge our perception, activating generative forces at work in the brain and psyche.
annanicole
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5/19/2013 8:39:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Composer: "If you ask me of course, I submit that this whole 'demon' thing is extraordinarily silly."

Neither demon nor deity personally, literally indwell humans today.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Sower4GS
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5/19/2013 9:09:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Composer, your composition is a confuzzeled, tangled mess. Leave truth to the one who designed you.
Sower4GS
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5/19/2013 9:10:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
And semicolon ; , don't listen to composition man up there, he's got his wires all crossed in a real bad way.