Wetenschap: God of afgod 1 Wat zijn wetenschap en Bijbel en hun raakvlakken

Vijanden van elkaar

Het is vreemd, maar veel christenen menen dat Bijbel en wetenschap natuurlijke vijanden van elkaar zijn. Alles wat wetenschap in feite doet, is echter de wereld om ons heen systematisch beschrijven. Goede wetenschap berust op feiten en doet daar verslag van. Waarom zijn zoveel christenen daar dan bang voor? Vrezen zij dat een al te helder licht op de feiten wellicht zou kunnen aantonen dat hun opvattingen over de uiterste houdbaarheidsdatum heen zijn?
Natuurlijk, er zijn gezaghebbende wetenschappers die hun status misbruiken om hun privé opvattingen over atheïsme gezag te verlenen, zoals er ook theologen zijn die hun gezag als theoloog misbruiken om onverantwoorde uitspraken te doen. Dat
zegt weliswaar veel over de beperkte betrouwbaarheid van mensen, maar nog niets over nut of onnut van wetenschap, of van theologie.

Wat is wetenschap?

Wetenschap beschrijft de werkelijkheid. Je gaat uit van waarnemingen, vaak meetresultaten al hoeft dat niet. Die probeer je te verklaren; dan krijg je een ‘hypothese’. Vervolgens redeneer je: als ik dit doe dan moet er dat gebeuren, en dat ga je dan controleren d.m.v. experimenten. Als het klopt wordt je hypothese een theorie. Die theorie is een mogelijke verklaring/beschrijving van wat je in de natuur waarneemt, en daar mogen geen uitzonderingen op bekend zijn. Het vervelende is alleen dat zo’n uitzondering altijd morgen kan opduiken. Als dat gebeurt moet je je theorie zodanig aanpassen dat die nieuwe waarneming daar ook in past.
Als dat niet lukt, moet je hem weggooien en een andere bedenken. Maar een theorie is altijd gebaseerd op waargenomen feiten. En die zijn in elk geval juist. Alleen de verklaring daarvan zou tekort kunnen schieten. In concreto: dinosaurussen hebben bestaan; de vraag is alleen: hoe zijn we er ooit aangekomen, en hoe zijn we er weer van afgekomen. Dat laatste
is een verklaring, een theorie, waar je over kunt discussiëren. Maar te ontkennen dat die beesten ooit hebben bestaan is niet aan de orde.

Wat is de Bijbel?

Aan de andere kant hebben we de Bijbel, Gods instructieboek aan ons, ons ‘Handboek-soldaat’, dat ons alles vertelt wat we moeten weten om een goed christen te zijn. Zoals dat Handboek-soldaat de dienstplichtige destijds alles vertelde wat hij moest
weten om een goed soldaat te zijn.

Maar de Bijbel vertelt je beslist niet waar de dinosaurus vandaan kwam, of waar hij is gebleven, want dat hoef je als christen niet te weten. Zoals het Handboek-soldaat je niet vertelde wie de Mona Lisa heeft geschilderd, of waar je die nu kunt zien. En zoals de wetenschapper er van uit gaat dat zijn waarnemingen juist zijn – dat zij de feiten zijn waar hij zich op kan baseren – zo gaat de bijbellezer er van uit dat de tekst die hij voor zich heeft juist is, dat die de waarheid is waar hij zich op kan baseren.

Strikt genomen is noch het een noch het ander volledig gegarandeerd. Waarnemingen kunnen achteraf wel eens vals blijken te zijn geweest, en evenzo kan de Bijbeltekst wel eens verkeerd zijn overgeleverd, en wij lezen hem in elk geval altijd in een vertaling!
Maar door de band genomen klopt dat allemaal wel.

Maar zoals feiten op zichzelf geen betekenis hebben, en eerst moeten worden geïnterpreteerd voordat ze iets voor ons betekenen, zo moeten we ook de Bijbeltekst eerst uitleggen voordat die iets voor ons betekent.

En zoals een wetenschappelijke theorie achteraf wel eens onjuist, of op zijn minst onvolledig, kan blijken te zijn, zo hoeft ook een theologische uitleg niet altijd de absolute waarheid te zijn. Anders gezegd: feiten liegen niet, maar wetenschappers soms wel, en die zijn in elk geval niet onfeilbaar. Maar evenzo: Gods woord is weliswaar de waarheid, maar Bijbellezers en Bijbeluitleggers kunnen, al dan niet met de beste bedoelingen, soms heel scheve schaatsen rijden.

Welke raakvlakken zijn er eigenlijk

U vindt een en ander geïllustreerd in het schema. Wetenschap is gebaseerd op waargenomen feiten en christendom op de tekst van de Bijbel.
Die kunnen nooit met elkaar in strijd zijn. Dat kan hooguit met de uitleg van die feiten en teksten, maar hoe groot is die kans? Wetenschap gaat vooral over fysieke zaken, en de Bijbel over geestelijk leven. De meeste ‘conflicten’ ontstaan wanneer christenen in bepaalde teksten een beschrijving gaan lezen van natuurkundige of biologische principes. Zoals de middeleeuwse kerk in de Schrift de bevestiging zag van een wereldbeeld met de aarde als het middelpunt van het heelal. Daar kwamen geleerden als Copernicus en Galileï mee in conflict toen ze beweerden dat de aarde om de zon draaide, in plaats van andersom.

De Italiaans natuurkundige, astronoom, wiskundige en filosoof Galilei en Viviani, 1892, Tito Lessi

Maar de Bijbel gaat niet over de fysieke inrichting van het heelal, die gaat over het feit dat God de aarde heeft geschapen als
geestelijk middelpunt van zijn plan met de mens. Wat hier mis gaat is daarom niet de
interpretatie van bepaalde teksten als zodanig, maar het feit dat de Bijbel wordt gelezen vanuit een totaal verkeerde invalshoek. Waarna die invalshoek vervolgens tot zulke misinterpretaties leidt.
Helaas is die middeleeuwse invalshoek tot ons christelijk erfgoed gaan behoren, zodat dit soort misinterpretaties nog steeds voorkomen. Wanneer de wetenschap dan aantoont dat die niet overeenstemmen met onze waarnemingen, ligt dat echt niet aan die waarnemingen. Ja,
de Bijbel is geïnspireerd, en kan niet fout zijn. Maar onze uitleg van die Bijbel is niet geïnspireerd, en kan er wel degelijk mijlenver naast zitten!

Het schema toont ons dat, en we moeten ons dan steeds afvragen of de interpretatie van de feiten onjuist is, of toch onze uitleg (exegese) van de Bijbel. Maar het schema toont ons ook waar het veel vaker mis gaat: feilbare mensen, aan de ene kant of aan de andere, bouwen op hun begrip van de feiten of van de Bijbeltekst een verdere redenering (bij gebrek aan een betere term heb ik dat maar filosofieën genoemd) die in conflict is met wat we aan de andere kant weten. Maar dat mag je de Bijbel niet verwijten, en evenmin de wetenschap. Dat ligt aan de neiging van mensen die iets willen ‘bewijzen’ om daar hun vakgebied
voor te misbruiken, of dat nu Bijbelexegese is of juist wetenschap.
Maar in feite is het geen van beide, in feite is het in beide gevallen een vorm van bijgeloof. In de komende afleveringen willen we daarom een aantal van dit soort confrontaties wat nader beschouwen.

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Aanvullende lectuur

  1. Rond de Bijbel
  2. Bijbel verzameld Woord van God
  3. Boek der boeken de Bijbel
  4. Boek in onze handen
  5. Bijbel baken en zuiverend water
  6. Bestseller aller tijden
  7. De Bijbel als instructieboek
  8. De Bijbel als instructieboek #1 Lezen van de Bijbel
  9. De Bijbel als instructieboek #2 Effectief Bijbellezen
  10. De Bijbel als instructieboek #3 De Taal van de Bijbel
  11. Nut van het lezen van de Bijbel
  12. Missionaire hermeneutiek 1/5
  13. Missionaire hermeneutiek 2/5
  14. Hermeneutiek om uit te dragen #3 Wetenschap
  15. Hermeneutiek om uit te dragen #7 In Harmonie
  16. Hermeneutiek om uit te dragen #8 Tegenspraak

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Gerelateerd

  1. Herman Bavinck on Traveling and the Theology of Nature Hoe leert men dan nog beter dan voorheen de taal van Psalmen en Profeten waardeeren en de heerlijke natuurpoëzie van den Bijbel verstaan?
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Followers, protestors and reformers

When we read the Acts of the apostles chapter 11 we find how the first followers of Christ Jesus went on to step in the footsteps of their master.

 “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (verse 1).

For them it was very special to see how heathen people came to find the Way to God. In their writings they told about their experiences and where not afraid to show how they struggled with certain things. Though not always agreeing with each other over all matters they did everything to stay under the teachings and guidance of their master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) From him they had learned how important it was to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

500 years after Luther placed his 95 remarks on the Roman Catholic Church on the doors of the of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 we can find many churches who where under the influence of him and of other theologians who stood up against the ruling Roman Catholic Church. In those times of ‘revolt’ many where not afraid to talk to others about the Word of God and to use the Bible to show others what is really written in it.

It was made possible to ordinary people to come to read and to hear about the message of the kingdom and of Christ’s return to establish it. Today we can look back at a movement which changed a lot in church-world.  The Reformation caused major upheaval in Europe, leading to wars, persecutions and exoduses, including the departure of the Pilgrims for what was later to become America. Lots of those escaping for the power of churches could find time to read the Scriptures and talk to others which came from all sorts denominations.  Some of those voyagers got an eye-opening sight. Hearing all those different church doctrines they where brought down to earth with a bump, but once run aground they continued to search the Scriptures to disentangle its secrets. From those bible searchers came active Bible Students who wanted also to step in the footsteps of the apostles, following the task Jesus had given them.

Lots of Biblestudents received the bible message into their heart and mind. But at the European continent Roman Catholics received the help from protestants to fight against those who did not want to follow the false doctrine of the Trinity. From those actions taken we can see that though the Bible had come more available and there had come preachers or pastors to show the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic Church we can see how difficult it was for many really to “receive” the peace message. Lots of people who started calling themselves Protestant came in a similar situation as they were before in the Roman Catholic Church. They did not transformed by reading the Bible and did not find that Jesus was the way to God and that they had to share Jesus his love with those around them.

Paul spearheads the carrying of Christ’s name, God’s message of salvation through His Son. In doing this he sets the example to others like Silas, Titus and Timothy to do the same. These are among the examples that have come down to us today!

In the book of Luke about the first years  after Jesus’ dead we read of “the enrolment of the priests” (verse 17) and how “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy” (verse 18), and we can see this renewal as foreshadowing the dramatic events which must surely take place when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom!

From Daniel 11 we know that when that time of return is near there shall be lots of trouble, such as never has been” (verse 1), and then the resurrection shall take place.

After this Acts 11 and 12 seem almost an anti-climax; but dramatic events are described! We read of the conversion of the first Gentile – to the great surprise of Peter – and the first disciple killed, James. However,

“the word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).

Sadly, we can see little of that today, but

“the ‘faithful’ must keep themselves holy”

facing the challenges of the “time of trouble such as never has been” that seems to be almost upon us! Our minds must embrace the words of the Psalmist,

“9 For evil-doers are cut off; But those who wait on יהוה, They shall inherit the earth …

37 Watch the perfect, and observe the straight; For the latter end of each is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The latter end of the wrong shall be cut off.
39 But the deliverance of the righteous is from יהוה, Their strength in time of distress.
40 And יהוה does help them and deliver them; He delivers them from the wrongdoers and saves them, Because they took refuge in Him.” (Psalm 37:9, 37-39).

Of the Protestant denominations there are only a few which teach about the spreading of the Good News. Not many of their church members go out on the streets and spread the Gospel. Lots of those who belong to the reformed churches are now like Catholics, having become very passive Christians. The evangelicals and Pentecostals being the exception. They often let others hear their voice or can be seen on television with their services which are closer to a show than a worship service for God.

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Additional reading

  1. Bringing Good News into the world
  2. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation

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Further related

  1. In 1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth, Devon, England.
  2. August 15, 1620  Pilgrims
  3. The Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers
  4. The New World …
  5. The New World & The Pilgrim Fathers
  6. George Whitfield
  7. The Pilgrim’s Bible
  8. Martin Luther and the Fear of Breaking the Rules: Sermon for October 8, 2017
  9. Martin Luther, Catholics and Jews
  10. Review: Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography
  11. Review: Martin Luther – A Spiritual Biography
  12. Wednesday Testimony – Martin Luther
  13. History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther
  14. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  15. Martin Luther The Idea that Changed the World (PBS)
  16. Martin Luther and Me
  17. Martin Luther tells me so
  18. Learning from Martin Luther (The Kingdom Of God: Romans and Galatians)
  19. How to Spread the Gospel
  20. Faithful Congregations Share the Good News

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Overdenking voor vandaag

Niets is eindig…
maar een overgang!


‘Wanneer gij door het water trekt, ben Ik met u, gaat gij door rivieren, zij zullen u niet wegspoelen, als gij door het vuur gaat, zult gij niet verteren en zal de vlam u niet verbranden. Want Ik, de Here, ben uw God, de Heilige Israëls, uw Verlosser, Ik geef Egypte, Ethiopie en Seba als losgeld in uw plaats.’
Jesaja 43:2-3

Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ

Unbelievable what we encountered to day at some websites to which was reacted, by repeating it

The power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ.

At the particular website (reacting to it) they also quote some text where it is said that

the priest, reaches up into heaven, and brings Christ down from his throne and places Him upon our alter to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man. {Catholic Mass vs Biblical Salvation}

We never would think people could be so pretentious to think they have more power than Jesus and can bring him down form heaven.  Though it looks like the people writing at that website sincerely mean what they are writing. Even when they think Jesus is God they think they have so much power, not to say even more power, than their god, able to bring him down and to be equal to their god. They even go so far to consider it possible and righteous that their god would bow down for them.

The priest brings Christ down from heaven and renders him present on our alter as the eternal victim for the sins of man….not once, but a thousand times. Christ, the eternal omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the catholic priest. {Catholic Mass vs Biblical Salvation}

They even have no scruples to say

Lets compare this breathtaking scenario to what the bible says;

Who needeth daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people, for this he did ONCE, when He offered up Himself. {Catholic Mass vs Biblical Salvation}

They do seem to miss the point that it was man, Jesus Christ, who offered himself up. they, who take Jesus as their God, do not seem to understand what it meant for Jesus not to do his own will, but to do the will of his heavenly Father, the God of Abraham, Who is a singular eternal Spirit.

Though they themselves quote the Bible saying

But this MAN, after He had offered one sacrifice for the sins of man forever, sat down at the right hand of God forever. {Catholic Mass vs Biblical Salvation}

They do not seem to see nor understand that Jesus is now made higher than angels, having been lower than angels before, and now been taken up into the heavens to sit next to God and not in God His place, not having taken over from God but been authorised to act in the name of God, like he was authorised before here on earth.

They also seem to miss the point that

11But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come, He entered the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands (that is, not of this creation).

They also seem to miss the point of Jeremiah writing down that this sent one from God was going to cleanse the world from all its iniquity by which man have sinned against the Most High Elohim, and that it is the Most High Divine Maker Who will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Him and by which they have transgressed against God. {Jeremiah 33:8}

It is incredible that those Catholic priests may think they are able to be equal to Christ who appeared as a high priest of the good things to come and entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation. {Hebrews 9:11}

 

They may think that in their temples or churches, made with human hands, they have a building from God, but they do forget The God does not like to see any graven images of Him nor other gods where people bow in front of them or which are worshipped.  How then can their church be a temple for or of God?

We do know they like their churches decorated with saints and so called religious pictures.

The richness of the atmosphere, packed as the building is, with imagery of biblical scenes and saints, both oil paintings and murals, together with vast amounts of gold and silver (in colour, but I suspect real metal too, in leaf form), and the music – taken together it overwhelmed me. {Being Catholic}

writes Struans.

They are proud to have a

Romanish practice of bringing down Christ from heaven to sacrifice him again and again in order to relieve those in attendance from their sins means the Romanish religion says that Christs sacrifice on Calvary wasn’t enough.

but do not seem to fully understand the implications of them not accepting that Jesus ransom offering would not be good enough for God and that they as priest can make such better offerings each time over and over again.

Though he considers that priests are also Christs who can equally forgive sins (forgetting that it was not Jesus who forgave sins but his heavenly Father). He further writes

Cultural conditioning did not stop Our Lord from doing anything during His incarnation on earth nor has the Holy Spirit moved the Church to change what Christ established in His male-only priesthood. That which was begun in the OT Church and perfected in His NT Church is the Will of the Father and instituted by Christ Himself. {The Male Priesthood: Culturally Conditioned?}

Philip Augustine writes

we, the Charity of Christ do not invent our own faith–which is what someone is doing with “I” statements. We receive it from God, and we do so through the Church that Christ founded. Many will reject this sentiment, but it is because just like the Hebrews in the desert calling to go back to Pharaoh, they prefer the chains of slavery–the chains of the world–rather than the liberation of the God the Father Almighty.

On which Jamie Carter reacts

Jesus chose twelve men, mostly from around the Galilee, mostly fisherman, though one was a tax collector and a doctor, I think. They were all Jewish. If you’re saying that because Jesus chose men that only men may serve as priests, then you need to remember that he chose Jewish Galileans who spoke with distinctive accents. If you’re saying it’s not necessary that priests be Jewish Galileans with accents, then I’d agree that it’s not necessary that they be men either.

Grandpa Zeke finds

to insist that the priesthood is limited to males, as the Catholic Church does, is not limiting the power of God’s word and is possible to implement, no matter the ethnicity or language of the priest.

God himself differentiates between men and women, in Genesis 2 for instance. It might be worth a re-read of Gen 2 in light of this discussion. This does not demean women, it merely faces the reality, both physically and spiritual, that God created men and women equally in His image, but different. (We are not all clones of each other, every individual human being is different and still a child of God made in his image.)

But the priests also made in the image of God may not consider themselves to be Christs nor to be equal to Christ and most of all certainly not to be equal to God.

The Three Ages of the Interior Life - Volume 2 - Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P._html_57ca4d8e

 

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Additional reading

  1. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  2. Which Christian sect is the only true Christian church?
  3. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  4. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  5. Hello America and atheists
  6. Engaging the enemy

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Further reading

  1. Who Is Melchizedek | Bible Question
  2. Jesus Christ’s High Priesthood was of the Order of Melchizedek
  3. Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 25: Priesthood: “The Power of Godliness”
  4. Responses to Jesus Christ’s High Priesthood
  5. What is your vocation?
  6. “Lord Jesus, Grant Us More Priests!” – Homily by Fr. Nathan
  7. Ordinations, or the lack thereof – an update
  8. Ordinations: Good men so happy to be of service to the Holy Family
  9. Are All Christians Priests? The Biblical Evidence for Priests Separate from the Laity
  10. Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off
  11. Catholic Priest By the Side of Congressman Scalise
  12. Ye Shall Have Power – Moroni 2:2
  13. The Branch — Zechariah 6.
  14. A Friar Life: Fr. Joe
  15. original therapy
  16. Abram and Lot Part
  17. What a difference a year makes…
  18. Priestly Ordination of Deacon Dennis
  19. Prophets have Melchizedek Priesthood
  20. Lines of Authority
  21. Jesus Overthrows a Corrupt Priesthood
  22. This Catholic priest’s Glock 19 target practice: Rope swinging video
  23. A Royal Priesthood?
  24. Saturday Sermon and a Special Mass
  25. Bruce R. McConkie Explains The Revelation On The Priesthood
  26. What Will Endure?
  27. Men Raised Up
  28. “The Latin Mass Has Made Me a Better Priest.”
  29. Healings, Heroes, and Heartaches
  30. Baptist Church Problems with Race
  31. Congratulations to Newly Ordained Priests
  32. 7 7 7 – Summorum Pontificum: the 10th anniversary in Lourdes. “Just wear dental guards, Father George!”
  33. A Heroic Priesthood 
  34. BBC’s #Broken: 5 things it revealed about Christianity and Faith
  35. The search for shephers: Challenges
  36. Voices and Faith of Women
  37. Women and the Priesthood
  38. She’s my vicar
  39. Sustaining Church Leaders
  40. Famous Exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth on How ‘Smoke’ of the Devil Entered the Church

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God isn’t dead though for many He is not relevant

In the 1960ies we often heard it said that God was dead.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was appointed pastor at Röcken by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, after whom Friedrich Nietzsche was named. Before Friedrich Nietzsche’s fifth birthday his father died in 1849. He was left to live in a household consisting of five women: his mother, Franziska, his younger sister, Elisabeth, his maternal grandmother, and two aunts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After attending a private preparatory school, the Domgymnasium, he was admitted to Schulpforta, Germany’s leading Protestant boarding school. Having graduated in 1864, he went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology.  Influenced by the textual criticism of the English and German classicists Richard Bentley and Gottfried Hermann, F.W. Ritschl, in full Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl became a classical scholar remembered for his work on Plautus and as the founder of the Bonn school of classical scholarship. It was under the tutelage of Ritschl in Leipzig that he further developed and became the only student ever to publish in Ritschl’s journal, Rheinisches Museum (“Rhenish Museum”). Ritschl assured the University of Basel that he had never seen anyone like Nietzsche in 40 years of teaching and that his talents were limitless and as such would be the best candidate to receive a professorship in classical philology that fell vacant in 1869 in Basel, Switzerland.

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882...

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882; One of five photographies by photographer Gustav Schultze, Naumburg, taken early September 1882. Public domain due to age of photography. Scan processed by Anton (2005)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his mature writings Nietzsche was preoccupied by the origin and function of values in human life.With his protestant background one can wonder if his expression “God is dead” was not misinterpreted.

Many people seem to assume that this implies God was once a living creature, and he has since passed away. But this is a misconception. Nietzsche was an atheist, and thus never believed that a God existed in any form except as a figment of the human imagination. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

Though we do find this man writing a lot about God and looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition, which according to him made suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God’s intention and as an occasion for atonement. For him this clinging to a flattering doctrine of personal immortality, could also seen as man having created its god to feel safe and sure, but those who did not believe in a god or God also tried to cling to an other “true” world, also offering symptoms of a declining life, or life in distress.

But for Nietzsche when there  is no god man also has not need of a god and man did not have to create a “slave” and “master” world, but should be himself the master. Facing the gut (“good”), schlecht (“bad”), and böse (“evil”) was something we made up ourselves as a nonmoral reference to those who were privileged, the masters, as opposed to those who were base, the slaves. For him his generation had come in a timespan where religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century positivism.

With the collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness would remain. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of nihilism: “God is dead.” Nietzsche thought, however, that most people could not accept the eclipse of the ascetic ideal and the intrinsic meaninglessness of existence but would seek supplanting absolutes to invest life with meaning.{ on Friedrich Nietzsche in the Encyclopaedia Britannica}

Many do forget that as a thinker it might well be that Nietzsche also had come into conflict with the trinitarian thought and the sayings in the Scripture that there is only One true God Who is One and an eternal Spirit, not having bones, flesh or blood, whilst so many people around him worshipped a god with flesh, bones and blood who was born and who died. All such contradictions with what is written in the Old and the New Testament could have muddled his mind.

Eventually the faithful get so worried about the well-being of God, that they build an armour to protect him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

When Nietzsche like others would have thought of that in such saying, he also could see the first sign that people were losing faith in God, also noticing around him how many people had lost faith in Him and did not trust God to take care of himself and able to endanger their safety.

The wannabe-philosopher of Finnish origin continues

Still at first, God is safe inside the armour and people continue to worship him. Over time though, God gets pissed off at the whole situation and leaves, or simply suffocates, leaving the armour for people to worship. People keep worshipping the hollow armour, and religion becomes a meaningless ritual with no substance to it. This is what “God is dead, and we have killed him” means. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

An “Autobiographical” philosopher also looks at the German philosopher, extremely critical of Christianity, but sees, like us, that we may not just take it as a sort of atheist statement which would be the “ultimate truth”. For Gabriel J. Mitchell

“God is Dead” simply means “The Christian god is becoming increasingly irrelevant to philosophy and culture”.  {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Mitchell writes:

In popular culture the phrase is often mistaken as an anti-Christian statement. Some sort of declaration of Atheism. This is most obviously manifested in Christian content like the film God’s Not Dead. In the movie, a disgruntled atheist professor demands his students declare the death of God and embrace atheism. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

With his background and his protestant family it would be strange that with his pretty bold statement that would be going against his own family’s belief and bring a serious anti-Christian message.
The saying „Gott ist tot“ or “God is dead” also known as “the death of God” first appeared in Nietzsche’s 1882 collection “Die fröhliche Wissenschaft” or “The Joyful Wisdom” also known as The Gay Science,  also translated as “The Joyful Pursuit of Knowledge and Understanding”. The German Wissenschaft never indicates “Weisheit” or “wisdom”, but concerns any rigorous practice of a poised, controlled, and disciplined quest for knowledge, typically translated as “science”. Nietzsche speaks about “what if” which does not mean “it is”.

As such Nietzsche writes

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ […] Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ — [The Joyful Wisdom §341]

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra).jpg

A statue of the Buddha from Sarnath, 4th century CE

A demon or sick person often is seen as a mad person or some one not by his senses. That mad man also can look at different deities and ascetics and sages like Gautama Buddha, probably a very attractive figure for Nietzsche because of all the philosophic thoughts of that teacher who lived in northern India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries before the Common Era.

We find the first occurrence of the famous formulation “God is dead,” first in section 108.

After Buddha was dead, people
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a
cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:
but as the human race is constituted, there will
perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which
people will show his shadow.—And we—we have
still to overcome his shadow! {— §108}

FW82.jpg

The Joyful Wisdom or The Gay Science, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887.

Section 125 depicts the parable of the madman who is searching for God. He accuses us all of being the murderers of God.

“‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers…”

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? {Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann}

Mitchell explains

The line is part of The Parable of the Madman a section from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science. It depicts a maddened individual running around a village asking where he can find God only to declare that God must be dead. In his ever creative style Nietzsche is using this madman as an outlet to explore an idea. Particularly he’s interested in the shifting values of European culture during his lifetime. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

More and more people took distance from religion, most people confusing God with Church. Having found so many lies in church they considered “God” also being a “fat lie”. Though many wondered what their life was to be and if there was nothing behind it or something hidden for them.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also had pondered the death of God, first in his Phenomenology of Spirit where he considers the death of God to

‘not [be] seen as anything but an easily recognized part of the usual Christian cycle of redemption’

But there some thought Jesus Christ to be the God, and when Jesus is God and Jesus died than really God would have died. Naturally Jesus is not God, because God is a Spirit Who has no beginning and not end and to Whom man can do nothing. In case Jesus is God and has died God would be dead and this did hurt Hegel, who writes about the great pain of knowing that God is dead

‘The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, (the feeling which was uttered by Pascal, though only empirically, in his saying: Nature is such that it marks everywhere, both in and outside of man, a lost God), purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’.

Nietzsche recognizes the crisis that the death of God represents for existing moral assumptions:

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”

Nietzsche saw how man went away from the faith in God and by doing so was looking for new answers or better answers than the churches could give. When not any more believing in the beautiful masterly concept of creation by the Divine Maker belief of cosmic or physical order also fell to the ground.

Nietzsche saw Europe was slowly transitioning into a sort of cultural Nihilism. As advancements in science and technology lead to more and more questioning of the status quo, Philosophical values were beginning to shift. What Nietzsche is getting at here isn’t a declaration of the truth value of Christianity. In fact truth is a topic Nietzsche is extremely critical of. Instead he’s pointing out the weakening of Christian influences on society. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Clearly the church was loosing its grip on the citizens. The ability to have the Bible in print and available to lots of people, made them also aware that for years those churches had lied about many things. Those who really went to study the Scriptures where confronted with many things the church said which were not written at all in the Bible.
An other problem arose by the growing knowledge and advancement in the sciences. Several people wanted to play for god themselves.

Later on people can take a look inside the armour and see there is no God there, and say God never existed in the first place. Whether or not God actually exists or existed at any point as an entity in the universe is not as relevant as the fact that there is an inherent need in most people to have faith in God. That in itself does change how people behave, hopefully for the better.

To put this hollow armour analogy in a more abstract way, is that at first people had a genuine faith in God whether or not this faith was reciprocated by an actual God. Over the course of time this genuine God was replaced by a man-made image of God. Man got rid of the real thing in favour of a man-made facsimile. I suppose the underlying motivation is that if man made God, man can also control him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

Seeing how man went away from God Nietzsche probably was very well aware that this could bring man in trouble.

Given Nietzsche’s strong animosity towards religion, you would think people realizing that ‘God is Dead’ would make him happy. After all, Nietzsche was dedicated in his quest to try and rid the individual of dogmatic and supernatural beliefs. Surely, people disregarding religion would be a comforting sight to Nietzsche. But this was not the case. Nietzsche was deeply troubled by the lack of a God, he feared that this may lead to the destruction of our society. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

The end of Christianity for Europe might bring desolation and chaos. Churches had fostered on human dogma‘s and now people had come to see how different they are to Biblical dogma’s. But when one finds that a church has lied so much would one go for an other church and not face the same problem? Mankind always have nuzzled dogmatic beliefs that are widely held and accepted by society and do not want to do away with so many traditions.

Many of these beliefs go unquestioned, and thus we live in a sort of ‘herd’ similar to sheep (the term sheeple is probably the best representation of this). By overcoming the herd perspective, a man can free himself and achieve new heights. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

When there is no God or when man himself is god, then man may be the master of everything (does he think). When there is no God,like so many think, then man loves to be as a god being the super being or Ubermensch, to which nothing is to small or to big and everything can be made possible. When it is not possible to do something today than it will be possible tomorrow or in the future, so why worry?

The Ubermensch is supposed to act as the answer to the problem of nihilism. Since God is dead, that means there is no objective truth or morality. Thus, an Ubermensch acts as his own ‘God’, abandoning the herd instinct and determining his own morality. He is neither slave nor master, as he does not impose his will on others. He is a master of self-discipline. He must be willing to embrace suffering and learn from it. In a way, the Ubermensch is the next step in human evolution. It’s a new intuition, perspective, and greatness for mankind. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

For sure, man has to take a long way before he shall reach such a state. He also seems to forget that is what the Word of God demands from man, that man work at themselves transforming their character to an ideal being without faults. Only problem that than poses, is to know what would be faults, and what would be the right things to strive for. For a Bible Student no such problems arise because he can find all answers in the Bible. But those who do not want to take a serious look at that Library of ancient works, still many questions shall stay unanswered.

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  2. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  3. Christian values and voting not just a game
  4. 3rd question: Does there exist a Divine Creator
  5. Is there no ‘proof’ for God? (And why that statement is not as smart as you might think.)

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Further reading

  1. Moral Collapse Didn’t Begin Yesterday. Occult Paris
  2. Everything and Nothing
  3. No Lives Matter
  4. The Nil God
  5. Wake up; There is no God
  6. The death of God (and politics?)
  7. Because God is not efficient in revealing himself to us, He must not exist.
  8. With God vs Without
  9. God
  10. O God…
  11. Lunch n’ Bats
  12. Collecting our thoughts: opening prayer
  13. A walk on the sea
  14. The End of the World
  15. A Defense of Religion (From an Atheist)
  16. Seraphim Rose: “large numbers of Catholics and Protestants are hardly to be distinguished from unbelievers “
  17. On Nihilism
  18. Dostoyevsky’s Übermensch in Crime & Punishment
  19. God’s Heartbreak
  20. Can You Be A Happy Nihilist?
  21. Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics
  22. The New Nihilism
  23. A Journey Toward A Theory Of Stupidity 3 | The Grandfather Of Stupidology Part 1
  24. The Weaponisation Of Popular Culture
  25. Chapter 6
  26. What We Can Gain From Detachment
  27. Nietzsche and Buddhism
  28. Buddhism, Nietzsche, Jung, Christianity, and Plato: Religious and Philosophical Themes in Westworld
  29. Identification
  30. Who I am and why I’m here
  31. Übermensch
  32. Nietzsche #7 – Der Übermensch
  33. Nietzsche: Eternal Recurrence (Part 3)
  34. Nietzsche, a philosophical biography (Rüdiger Safranski, 2000)
  35. Übermensch by Mathew Babaoye
  36. Editorial 23: Frank Castle, Ubermensch
  37. How to become Superman: Nietzsche’s overwhelming concept and questions to ask yourself
  38. The Ubermensch as an Archetype

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Dying for or instead

Tragically, the simple words “Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) have been grossly misunderstood as meaning that Christ died instead of us.

There are a number of connections between Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15 (e.g. v. 12 = 1 Cor. 15:21; v. 17 = 1 Cor. 15:22). “Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) is matched by “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). His death was in order to make a way whereby we can gain forgiveness of our sins; it was in this sense that “Christ died for us”. The word “for” does not necessarily mean ‘instead of’; Christ died “for our sins”, not ‘instead of’ them. Because of this, Christ can “make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25) – not ‘instead of’ us. Neither does “for” mean ‘instead of’ in Heb. 10:12 and Gal. 1:4.

Jesus is Our Representative Not Our Substitute

– Peter Foster

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a Place to discuss religious matters and Christadelphianism

“The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as ‘nones’ – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.” {People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales – study}

wrote the Guardian in May 2016.

No only is it escalating on the Western Islands of Europe, it is a significant phenomenon all over the capitalist European continent. Even the growing Muslim population may not yet outweigh the atheist population in Europe.

People who were brought up with some religion now saying they have no religion at all. They dare to come out for it though in countries like Belgium lots of them though not believing still want to have a participation of the pagan/Christian feasts and celebrate ‘first communion’, ‘second communion’, Easter, Halloween, Christmas and some even other religious connected celebrations.

Religiosity is something where many today only want to talk about in the shade are in the darkness of the night. It is not a subject for a common open discussion in full day light.

The Belgian Christadelphians their electronic mail box though is often full of letters, people having questions about the same things. Them not reacting on our postings on our article platforms, makes that we, each time have to reply them personally and manually, which is a time consuming situation.

For those people who have no faith in God or who our doubting about religion we started a Forum, where all are welcome to discuss matters around religion, faith, how to make the best out of life, how to react on present situations, etc.

We do hope many may find the forum to make use of it. To get it going you are invited to contribute to it also and to bring subjects in the picture.

You may find the Forum on the Message Board Yuku, from a server in the United States of America under the name: Christadelphian

 

Christadelphian Forum (started August 2016)

Christadelphian Forum (started August 2016)

Please do find the following opening articles

  1. Welcome to Christadelphian
  2. Places of interest to get more knowledge about God
  3. Places of interest to get more knowledge about God
  4. Christadelphian a Christian
  5. A god, The God and gods
  6. How do you look at religion
  7. What or which god are you looking at and going for and who or what do you want to worship
  8. Christianity and Religiosity in Europe

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