RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Fri Mar 14 2008 - 19:48:12 EDT

The Akkadians (who were Hebrews in waiting) most assuredly believed in
the divinity of their three gods. The Sumerians readily adopted Enlil,
and Ea was accepted as Enki - "lord of the earth." If Christ is
coeternal with God the father, who is to say that this Ea wasn't known
to God's people before the incarnation? Christ as God did not come into
existence at Bethlehem, only the human Jesus did. You can't possibly
know whether or not the Son wasn't known. And if He was, was it this
Akkadian god? I'm not saying it is. I'm only saying it is entirely
possible. To say the "concept of the Trinity has nothing to do with ."
may be your conviction, but you have nothing to base it on.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 5:47 PM
To: Dick Fischer; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
A comment on just one point. The Christian concept of the Trinity has
nothing to do with "the three gods of the Akkadians" (a myth beloved by
Jehovah's Witnesses) - or three deities of the Hindus, Kelts or anybody
else. Belief in the Trinity (perhaps hinted at by the personalization
of Wisdom, Word, Shekinah, Memra &c in the OT & the targums) depends on
belief about who Jesus of Nazareth is in relationship with the God of
Israel & their mutual Spirit. Belief in the divinity of Christ is a
necessary condition for the Christian dogma of the Trinity & without him
that dogma evaporates.
----- Original Message -----
From: Dick <> Fischer
To: ASA <>
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 5:24 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
Max Muller in his Introduction to the Science of Religion reasoned as
"Do you still wonder at polytheism or at mythology? Why, they are
inevitable. They are, if you like, a parler enfantin [children's
language] of religion. But the world has its childhood, and when it was
a child it spoke as a child, it understood as a child, it thought as a
child . . . The fault rests with us, if we insist on taking the language
of children for the language of men . . . The language of antiquity is
the language of childhood."
Speaking as one who has tried to make sense of it all, I can tell you
the task is not easy. Our faith is based upon an evolving religion.
Living in the here and now we believe in things eternal that are current
in contemporary thought. We have no choice, we can't go back or forward
in time to have belief in a previous form of our religion or hold to
whatever may be in vogue thousands of years hence.
The New Testament has roots in the Old Testament which in turn has roots
to the Babylonian period which has roots in the Akkadian era which was
influenced by the Sumerians. Our Trinity today has roots to the God of
the Old Testament who became obscured by Babylonian gods (which evolved
under Sumerian influence) from the three gods of the Akkadians. In
effect we have come almost full circle.
Was the God we worship today the same god in heaven the Akkadians called
"Ilu," or has only the name been preserved in the Hebrew "El"? Was Ea,
god of wisdom and creator of mankind, the same as the one we call
"Christ," or merely coincidentally linked to the Hebrew "Yah"? Is the
Holy Spirit the very same Enlil, god of the air, breath, or spirit? The
Akkadians worshipped an overarching supreme being who manifested himself
in things they could see. They gave names to these natural phenomena
reflecting their god's action in nature. These names became affixed to
the phenomena and by the time the Akkadians had become Babylonians these
became gods unto themselves. Polytheism was a natural progression
forced by the language they were working in. Look at the various names
God is called in the Old Testament and many of these have roots. For
example, El Shaddai from the Assyrian, "Il Shadde," meaning "mountain
So it is not surprising we have confusions. We can rightly root out
what we can perceive to be dead wrong, such as YEC and the cults. But
the continued parsing of OT Hebrew we seem to want to do on this list
trying to make 21st century sense out of every word and phrase is a
futile exercise in my opinion.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of John Walley
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:18 AM
To: 'David Opderbeck'
Cc: 'David F Siemens';;
Subject: RE: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
I agree with you that the mission of the church ought to be about
reaching and alleviating the suffering of the less fortunate of the
world instead of soaking up our endless blessings and debating how many
angels can fit on the head of a pin, but that is a different argument.
At least for the rich, educated Westerners like you and me who have the
privilege of even thinking about and debating these issues, we have the
responsibility of getting it right, because the mission of the church
above depends on it. There is a direct correlation between what we
believe here and whether some starving kid in Africa gets a meal today
or not. Why? Because it takes the resources of the other rich educated
Westerners that haven't come into the church yet to help us feed that
kid in Africa and they aren't coming in as long as we insist they take
stupid lessons in order to become a Christian.
Bottom line, I feel Protestantism is flawed because there is currently
no mechanism to excommunicate people like Ellen White, Herbert Armstrong
and Ken Ham and we have to let them tarnish the whole church and that
actually becomes counter-productive to the mission of the church.
Although we have seen abuses of a centralized control structure in the
church before, I am not certain that the de-centralized Protestant
church is any better off without one now. Hopefully though this whole
new form of science/faith apologetics is the work of the Holy Spirit and
will prove to make the church relevant again and we can recapture the
role of honest and reality-based intellectual thought leadership we once
had in our culture, and then there will be a consensus and a mechanism
to dispatch the Ken Ham's and we can get on with feeding those kids in
Africa in a bigger and better way.
-----Original Message-----
From: David Opderbeck []
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 11:58 PM
To: John Walley
Cc: David F Siemens;;
Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
No, it's not relativism. It's just that the world, the church, the
gospel, are all so much bigger than this one concern. There are nearly
7 billion people alive in the world right now. About 1 billion lack
access to clean drinking water. About 1.6 billion have no access to
electricty. About 3 billion people live on less than two dollars a day,
and about 30,000 children die every day because of poverty. Think about
this for a minute: by the end of this week, more children will die
because of poverty than the total number of people who have ever visited
the creation museum.
Does that mean the creation museum is ok? Of course not. It makes it
even more of a travesty to spend millions on such a thing. But you are
taking a problem rich, educated Westerners like you and me have because
we're so rich and so educated that we have time to worry about how
Genesis relates to modern science, and you're making it into priority
one when billions of starving, dying people don't give a crap about it.

I want all my questions answered too, I want everyone to agree with me,
and I want my faith to be simple, straightforward, and easy. I want to
be able to beat the stuffing out of my unbelieving friends in apologetic
arguments. I want my son to be perfectly healthy. I feel bad for
myself, but it ain't gonna happen. Meanwhile, I have to pick myself up,
stop blaming everyone else, and ask the Holy Spirit what his priorities
are for me. No doubt some of that involves doing what I humbly can to
promote good Christian scholarship and improve the life of the mind in
the evangelical church -- I'd say I feel that's part of my calling so
long as I get to serve in academia. But I have to fight myself not to
confuse my place on the pinky toe of the Body with the whole Body, and I
have to fight myself to allow the Holy Spirit to show me all the varied
areas in which the Kingdom of God needs to break in.
On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 11:22 PM, John Walley <>
But again David, this is the theological relativism I mentioned earlier
in my opinion. Excusing YEC and other flawed doctrine is not the answer.
Why would Jesus bother to warn us about false teaching then if it didn't
matter? Truth does matter and we shouldn't excuse our church leaders for
missing it. You recall my analogy before about the spiritual Arlingtons
and I think it still holds.
And as you know we have discussed before offline, these science/faith
issues are not just obscure, internal doctrinal issues like infant
baptism or speaking in tongues that the world doesn't know or care
about, but it is in fact the very definition of objective reality at
stake here and when it plays out in the courts and in the global media
at the very nexus with the world that Jesus commanded us to make
disciples of, I think we have more accountability than to just love
everyone. We have to make sure our faith is grounded in reality as well
and I really don't think that is too much to ask. The subject of this
thread highlights the need for this and the gravity of the consequences
of failing at it.
Plus there are other very practical drivers to getting this right as
well. This science/faith arena is the very battleground by which the
enemy is using to marginalize and even criminalize Christian faith in
our culture. We need to repent of our spiritual pride that has led to
this deception In order to prevent engendering further contempt and
scorn from those we are called to reach and to keep this from leading to
something much worse.
-----Original Message-----
From: David Opderbeck []
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 9:32 PM
To: John Walley
Cc: David F Siemens;;
Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
John, I understand some of what you're feeling right now. I think,
though, we ought to be a little more nuanced in what we say of how the
church has handled itself. The church is big. In every period of
history since the time of Christ, the church has been faithful in
somethings and not so faithful in others. From our perspective the
progress can be lurching, painful, and slow -- kind of like someone
giving birth. But the Holy Spirit has never left the church. Thank God
that today, most Christians around the world are taught to reject racism
and antisemitism, to help the poor, to combine the preaching of the
gospel with acts of mercy, and so on. The things that in my wisdom I
want to become "prefect" right now in the church might not be exactly
the things God in His wisdom is putting at the top of the list. Our
individual lives are like grass that dries up and blows away, and the
Kindgdom of God is a tiny mustard seed, but the "not yet" will come....
On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 9:10 PM, John Walley <>
When Jesus warned of false teachers, that logically implies that there
exists true ones. Where to find them is a different issue but Jesus did
say that His sheep hear His voice and if we seek the truth we would find
I reject the claims that due to the nuances of much learning, the truth
is unknowable because that is counter to the claims of Christ. Also I
agree with George that obvious doctrinal error can be sufficiently
filtered out easily enough by plain common sense, spiritual discernment
and testable science.
Granted we will all have unlearning to do on judgment day but the real
tragedy is that false learning came at the expense of not learning what
we should have and what God called us to. And I think that will be in
large part for a lot of people due to the fact that the church absolved
herself of this responsibility.
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David F Siemens
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?
There are several conflicting magisteria, like Ellen G. White,
prophetess of the Seventh Day Adventists; Herbert Armstrong who had
headquarters in Pasadena, CA. There are other theological traditions
that are held within the several denominations, including the now
abandoned Missouri Synod anti-Copernicanism. Since serious Bible
students differ on the Eucharist and Baptism (back to the time of the
Reformation), where will you find this magisterium? The fact is that,
when we stand before the Lord, we'll have things to unlearn, even among
those of us who are certain they are right.
Dave (ASA)
On Thu, 13 Mar 2008 08:29:25 -0400 "John Walley" <>
I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one and this same conclusion has
been my key takeaway from my recent OEC-TE journey. The church needs
more of an emphasis on what are reasonable and allowable interpretations
of the Bible (after getting it right first of course) and that would
diffuse a lot of this "private interpretation" nonsense that leads to
this disaster and others.
I think we need the office of the Majesterium restored to the church and
that was one unfortunate casualty of the Reformation and we are
suffering as a result of it. Ironically, I think the closest thing that
I have found that approaches this function in the church today is this
list. There may be better examples out there cloistered away in church
hierarchy somewhere but not easily accessible to the general seeking
public to my knowledge.
Today's Protestantism is afflicted with the intellectual equivalent of
moral relativism in our culture. We have intellectual or spiritual
relativism where every idea is equal including YEC and it is politically
incorrect and unacceptable to correct it. This denies the truth that
there is an absolute right and wrong and that we should have it or be
looking for it and have a way to know it when we do find it.
I think it will take a removal of all the complicit pastors from their
roles and it will take a new generation of leadership in the church but
I am hopeful that we will see it soon as I feel that is what the Holy
Spirit is trying to do.

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology 
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Received on Fri Mar 14 19:49:58 2008

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