Month: April 2015

If the Old Testament Law was meant to be temporary why is it always called eternal, enduring, and everlasting?  

old testament covenant eternal

 

Why is the Old Testament called eternal?

Most evangelicals say that the Old Testament was meant to be temporary covenant, one that was planned to be replaced by a better covenant, if that’s the case, why is this covenant (or series of them) in the Old testament frequently called an “everlasting covenant” not a “temporary covenant”? In fact, in Psalm 19:7 the Law is called perfect, which leads us to wonder, why should a “perfect” Law need replacing? (See below for examples)

Why does OT eschatalogical prophecy of the future include a restoration of Old Testament Law?

In fact Zechariah has a prophecy regarding the end times (Zech14:4-13) which undeniably shows the “the Day of the Lord.” In this prophecy The Lords feet rest on the Mount of Olives, there is eternal daytime, no night, and God ushers his reign of peace for the whole earth. During this eternal kingdom, God commands all nations to obey Old Testament law and celebrate the feast of Booths (Zech 14:16-19). Likewise, we see temple sacrifices continue in this vision of the future (Zech 14:21).

A few examples of Old Testament edicts described as Eternal/everlasting

“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as an ENDURING covenant” (Exod 31:16)

“The secret things belong to Yahweh our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children FOREVER, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29)

“A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an EVERLASTING covenant.”  (Gen 17:13)

“God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an EVERLASTING covenant for his offspring after him.” (Genesis 17:19)

“The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the EVERLASTING covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)

“it is from the people of Israel as a covenant FOREVER.” (Leviticus 24:8)

“It is an EVERLASTING covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you.”(Num 18:19)

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If purpose comes from above, where does God get his purpose from?

purpose of life meme god#toughquestionfriday: How does God derive meaning and purpose?

Generally speaking religious people often say that “life without God has no purpose.” Why? The principle seems to be that one cannot simply “invent” their own life purpose, that is like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Life purpose has to be *given* to you by a being higher than yourself.

If that is the case, who gives God his purpose? And what is God’s purpose anyway? Is it to “just exist” and to “receive worship”?

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OPTION 1 – Someone above God gives God his purpose. This is rather silly, for then God is not truly God, but there is another higher creature who is the true God, and we are back to the same question, who gives ‘that’ being purpose? This would go on ad infinitum.

OPTION 2 – God makes up his own purpose. This brings up interesting questions like (a) why does God pick one purpose over another? is it arbitrary? (b) can God change his purpose? Has he? Will he? (c) what made God even decide to have a purpose as opposed to not having one? And finally (d) if one being (God) can just make up his purpose, why can’t other beings do the same?

OPTION 3 – God derives his purpose from his nature. If that’s the case, then surely all creatures, for example humans, can just as well derive purpose from their nature not from God. If we allow it as a philosophical principle that some being (God) can find his purpose in his nature, then logically any other being (i.e. a human) can also derive purpose from his nature. It would seem that picking option 3 removes from one the ability to say “life without God is meaningless.”

OPTION 4 – God doesn’t need a purpose or meaning. Well then… this feels a tad nihilistic.

Can you think of any others?

There is a shared DNA sequence between all living organisms on earth

There is a DNA sequence that is found present in all living organisms; you and the tiniest of bacteria share this sequence as a part of your genetic makeup. Scientists say this makes it the oldest bit of DNA in existence.

oldest dna sequence

“Arguably, the most remarkable DNA sequence on Earth is GTG CCA GCA GCC GCG GTA ATT CCA GCT CCA ATA GCG TAT ATT AAA GTT GCT GCA GTT AAA AAG. It is present in every single living organism – even in organisms not technically classed as alive such as giant mimiviruses. The reason the sequence is so widespread is that it existed in the common ancestor of all life. Carrying out a crucial process, it has remained unchanged for 3 billion years: the oldest fossil in your body.”

‘What a Wonderful World’ by Marcus Chown, pg. 48

Belief in an afterlife did not emerge until nearly the end of the writing of the Hebrew Bible

Did the ancient Hebrews believe there was a heaven and hell? Most likely not.

Most biblical scholars say they did not (this coincides with the fact that the Sadducees during the period of Jesus, which included all the Jewish temple priests, did not believe in a Resurrection).

Marcus Borg writes:

“For a long time now, mainstream biblical and theological scholarship has recognized that the belief in an afterlife did not emerge until nearly the end of the writing of the Hebrew Bible. The first unambiguous reference occurs in the last chapter of Daniel, seen by most scholars as the latest document of the Hebrew Bible, written around 165 BCE. Though the authors of the Psalms and other books often pray for deliverance from death, there is no clear affirmation of an afterlife until Daniel.This means that for all the previous centuries of the biblical period, people in ancient Israel didn’t believe in life after death. To state the obvious, “going to heaven” could not have been their motive for taking God seriously.”borg marcus