Let My People Think

Archive for the ‘Research Lab’ Category

Women in society: recovering God’s original blueprint for womankind

Woman holding a BibleThe issue of the role of women in society is as old as the Biblical story of humankind itself. So, let’s revisit the creation account for a good starting point in our discussion. It contains some intriguing insights.

Unfortunately, most translations of the account of creation and the fall will not give you a faithful representation of the full meaning of what was being said, due to different translations of the same words, and haphazard capitalization of the noun “adam”. The word “adam” may be translated as “Adam” in one place, “man” in another, or “mankind” in the third, according to translators’ biases.

So, I will take NKJV for a starting point, and give you an straight translation from the original language in square brackets. Please feel free to verify this with your favorite interlinear or original language Scripture text.

Genesis 1
27 So God created man [adam] in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The word “adam” derives from the word “adamah”, or earth. Literally, it means “that which is made of earth”, or “earthly human”. Hebrew lacked capitalization and punctuation the way English language has it today. So, let me simplify this:

Genesis 1
27 So God created the earthly human in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

You see that the account is not describing Adam the man. Rather, it’s describing male and female collectively. Therefore, the masculine pronoun “him” is not a reference to the man, per se. Rather, it’s a reference to the unity of male and female.

The word “image” (“tselem” in Hebrew, “eikon” in Greek) is something that is meant to faithfully represent the original. An example would be an icon, or a photograph. So, both male and female collectively have a God-appointed function to be a divine image-bearer in the world. Any deviation from that is bound to skew God’s reflected image, so it’s very important for us to uncover and be mindful of that original blueprint.
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Gospel: an engineer’s perspective – part 3

(continued from part 2)

When people think about the word “sin”, they think about the sin nature acted out, or acted upon. Those are the outworkings of sin, usually called “sins” (plural, since they take several forms, depending on the context in which the sin nature is acted out). The entire book of Romans of Romans mention “sin” (singular, meaning sin as a principle or force) well over 40 times (including derived words like “sinful”), and the word “sins” meaning “acts of sin” only 3 times! If you read the first 8 chapters of Romans through this lense, they will make perfect sense. The issue is the sin force / nature, which generates acts of sin (sins) and which end in death. We can simply refer to the sin force as “malfunction”, and acts or manifestations of it as “breakdowns”, for the sake of simplicity.

If sin is malfunction, righteousness is the original perfect functionality. We can substitute that word with “being made right”, or “rightness”, or “right functionality”.
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Gospel: an engineer’s perspective – part 2

(continued from part 1)

God was on a quest to restore things to the original perfect condition. Since humans had authority on planet Earth, God sent a human (Jesus) with Earth-authority to reverse the effects of Adam’s gigantic misstep. Part of the greatest achievement of Jesus is that he absorbed all the malfunction into himself, and died with it:

2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

There it is! Jesus didn’t become sinful, he became sin – he became malfunction itself. So naturally, death had to follow.

Now, for the second part of what Jesus has accomplished. When he rose up from the dead, he had no malfunction / sin left – it was gone! Now, Jesus didn’t just get restored to his original condition. Before his death and resurrection, Jesus was sinless (perfect), but he did get “infected”, as it were, with our sin. He did it by choice, but still. After his resurrection, being contaminated with “sin” became a logical impossibility.
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Gospel: an engineer’s perspective – part 1

In my earlier post on what sin is, I explained that sin is entropy, or disorder, in an ordered system. Since that post, I’ve arrived at even better explanation. That right here ought to tell you that my views are not static, and I progress in understand more things that uncover the beauty of God’s original design, and his plan for restoration of that original design (perfection can only be restored, it cannot be improved upon, by definition). I am amazed at the plan’s coherence, orchestration, and simplicity (it actually is simple if you abstract your thinking above the majestic complexity of its inner workings).

Let’s start with this: imagine a perfect symbiotic system – everything is perfect, the interrelationships are perfect, nothing is wasted. Then at some point malfunction gets introduced into the system. One part of the system is not perfect now, and since everything is interrelated, the malfunction spreads to other parts of the system, sort of like a virus. You see where I am going with this. The system is the “world / universe”, and that systemic malfunction is what the Scriptures call “sin” – a noun in singular. The specific effects or expressions of that malfunction, which would be manifested as specific breakdowns, are “sins” (a noun in plural).

Let’s just put off the mantle and the gavel of a moral arbiter for this exercise, and let’s examine this issue from an engineer perspective.
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I am IN the spirit – part 3

I am spirit

(continued from part 2)

Here are two more ideas concerning the subject.

Here’s the first idea.

I looked over all the references in the Hebrew scriptures of the word “spirit”, and the spirit, as described there, could be:

troubled, revived, anguished, willing, hardened, sorrowful, inoperative (“there was no spirit in them”), becoming operative again (“his spirit returned, and he revived”) (the latter two examples are talking about living people, so it can’t be that their spirit was literally departed from them, or else they would be dead), sullen, stirred up, moved, broken, contrite, having deceit, steadfast, overwhelmed, searching, faithful, failing, departing (resulting in the “person returning to earth” – which confirms the point I made above), faithful, haughty, humble, ruled (by a person), calm, patient, proud, angry, fainted, anxious, excellent. That’s from Genesis to Malachi, inclusively.

As you look over this list, notice 2 things.
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I am IN the spirit – part 2

I am spirit

(continued from part 1)

Now, here’s the passage that turned the light on for me:

1 Corinthians 15 (KJV)
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (ψυχή – “psuche”); the last Adam was made a quickening (ζωοποιοῦν – “zōopoioun” lit. “life-making”) spirit (πνεῦμα – “pneuma”).
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual (πνευματικὸν – “pneumatikon”) , but that which is natural (ψυχικόν – “psuchikon” – soulish); and afterward that which is spiritual (πνευματικὸν – “pneumatikon”).

First Adam became a soul (from a mere pile of dust), the second Adam – Christ – became a spirit after being born from the dead (Jesus was firstborn from the dead, but not first raised from the dead, others (e.g., Lazarus) preceded him in the latter). That shift is a huge key to the puzzle!
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I am IN the spirit – part 1

I am spirit

The discussion below is somewhat technical, more so that my usual posts. It goes to the original languages of the Scriptures, but I am giving you all the definitions and explaining all the nuances right on the spot. If you care to read through it, I think you will discover something new and quite exciting.

Here’s a very curious phenomenon that I recently picked up on in the scriptures.

Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
7 And the Lord God formed man (אָדָם – adam) of the dust (עָפָר – aphar) of the ground (אֲדָמָה – adamah), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (נָ֫פֶשׁ – nephesh).

The word “soul” (נָ֫פֶשׁ – “nephesh”) is rendered in NKJV and a lot of other modern translations as “being”. For the purposes of this discussion, I will stick with the word “soul” as it uniquely maps into both Hebrew and Greek equivalents. The downside is that the word “soul” does have a lot of baggage passed down through the centuries.

Strong (H5315) defines the word נָ֫פֶשׁ – “nephesh” as: “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion”. Based on that, let’s constrain the meaning of the word to mean 2 things: 1) “living being that has an identity”, and 2) life (not just a fact of biological existence) lived by such living being. That definition should semantically reflect a more or less complete range of meaning, without dragging in most of the religious baggage into it.
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