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TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

REVELATION 1:7

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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Saturday
Oct032009

Low-brow Higher Criticism

This excellent page on the HIGHER CRITICISM OF ISAIAH is worth reading.
It has often baffled me that there are Bible scholars who devote themselves to discrediting the supernatural integrity of a peerless body of work they have devoted themselves to studying. Why would a scholar feel drawn to study the Scriptures if the purpose was to discredit them and not to grow in wisdom and admiration of such transcendent writings? Why engage in questioning something or arguing about something which cannot be proved but must be experienced; of course I am referring to the mystical, supernatural aspects of faith. I suppose those who have not needed to draw on their faith view matters of faith as frivolous and even fraudulent, and the idea of that irks them. Some of us have not had that luxury — though it cannot be called that. Why would anyone ever feel prompted to honor God by producing fraudulent material, such as has been alleged against the prophet Isaiah? 
I also marvel that higher critics of the Scriptures will often allow their scholarship to be guided by non-belief and preconceived conclusions which do not fairly weigh both sides of the argument, when they must know that this is what they’re doing. Where matters pertaining to God are concerned, I would think someone would want to give God every benefit of the doubt as their souls and the redemption of them hang in the balance. I can better understand a believer possessing preconceived conclusions about matters pertaining to the faith: to defend God and Godly writers, though the scholarship may be poor, is at least a noble practice, with some chance of rewards. A critic of the Scriptures who does not begin with a blank slate and is not determined to turn over every stone puts himself in a position where he has much to lose if he happens to be wrong. The Christian and Jewish faiths are highly paradoxical at that, which must throw some scholars: presumably it seems to them that Jesus could not have amounted to much supernaturally speaking if he was eventually killed, which on the surface appears to be a defeat. But there is the mystery of the crucifixion and the resurrection, which no one else has managed to duplicate, pagan messiahs included. At least, no one worships them today, though some traditions credit pagan gods with being born of virgins and as having resurrected. That ought to tell us something. It also ought to tell us something that Jesus, his teachings and his legacy eventually overcame the forces which had him put to death, making Christianity the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire. That’s pretty good for an itinerant Jewish teacher after only three years work.
If a person is going to devote himself to biblical scholarship there must be no preconceptions; indeed, a true scholar after weighing both sides ought to be able to say to himself or herself: I’ve started with a blank slate because this is too important to allow my biases and prejudices to intrude, and I will come down on the side of truth, no matter what. I credit myself with having done that, being first mad at God that I had to, believing finally that if God is God he ought to be able to demonstrate that. I was determined that he must. And, of course, he did. I’m not believing anything unless I can prove it to myself objectively and fully as I can. — rcg ANOTHER EXCELLENT SITE ON THE “SECOND HALF” OF ISAIAH