How can a Perfect God create the potential for imperfection?

I received the following comment on my Yin Yang, God and the devil: A cosmic chess game? He writes:

My issue is this: If “God” created and allows all things… then “God” also created Satan and the potential to become Evil. The potential must have existed within “God” at least as a thought/possibility or it never would have come into existence. Another way to word it is: How could something “imperfect” come from something “perfect”?

My basic assumption, which seems to be the same as the respondent, is that the only perfect being that exists – that could possibly exist – is God. Based on this assumption, I think it is also reasonable to assume that nothing perfect can arise from something imperfect. The  respondent’s problem is: how can imperfection arise from a perfect God? He provided the example of God creating another perfect being – an angelic being – with the potential for evil; a potential that monotheists such as Christians, Jews and Muslims claim does not exist in God Himself.

I would like to change the example from Satan to man, which does not change the basic issue, which is, if God creates beings with the potential to become evil, why does this potential for evil not exist in God, in his nature, or his essence.

I focus on the term “nature.” There is the nature, or essence, of an entity, which distinguishes the identity of one entity (being) from another. Every created being, living and non-living, has its own nature; Humans, lions, roses, trees, diamonds, and so on. The uncreated God, of course, also has a nature (uncreated in the Bible implies that He must be the creator of all entities, which by defnition, must be different to His nature.

God’s creation, however, is not part of his nature. Here is an analogy: the potter is not part of his pot (unless he’s potty). The analogy goes only so far, because both the (human) potter and what he makes (the pot), are imperfect, for they are both God’s creation. They both do not, therefore, share in God’s nature. The Talmud and Jewish Kabbalistic writings teach that man is a piece (spark) of God, but that is certainly not in the Bible, nor is it good exegesis to find it there.  (See Rabbi Tani Burton).

I shall not discuss man as the image of God because that would take us too far from our main focus, which is how a perfect God can create the potential for imperfection, specifically, evil.(I discuss man as the image of God  elsewhere).

After God had created everything – before Adam (hmmm) – He “saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good (TOV M’OD) (Genesis 1:31).  ”Very good” implies complete, whole, harmonious. And those are the connotations of Hebrew word, which is translated into English as ”perfect.” For example,

Gen 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Deut 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Perfect” (Hebrew: tam/tamiym) here does not mean “flawless,” ”impeccable” (incapable of sin – Latin peccatum) but “whole,” “complete;” as far as it is possible for a human being to be complete. When Jesus says, Mat 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” He is not saying that his disciples must aspire to share in God’s perfect nature, but rather that they must try to remain faithful to their new status as children of God, which is done by keeping His commandments. If they do not remain faithful, they (their wholeness) will fall apart. More accurately, if they do not remain faithful, this shows that ”they went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19).

I mentioned that after God had created the pinnacle of his creation, Adam, He “saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good TOV M’OD (Genesis 1:31). At the beginning of Chapter 2, we read:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:1-3).

Something’s missing, or rather somebody – Eve. She’s not included as part of the original ”very good” creation, because she was formed after and from Adam. Which I think was also very good, even if it doesn’t say TOV M’OD.

Now, to the issue of how imperfection can result from God’s perfection. The Christian answer is that God created the first human beings (Adam and Eve) with the ability to disobey Him. They were created complete (“perfect”). They, however, decided to disobey God. This sin resulted in their “Fall,” which sowed the seeds of radical corruption ( Latin radix ”root” ) and death. (The rabbinical view rejects radical corruption, and describes sin as more akin to a soiled face than a corrupt heart.

Why God would create a world where He knew man would become radically corrupt is not something we can ever know. If you think about it, who are we tell God how to run his creation? “Let God be true, and every man a liar” says Paul, on behalf of the Jew, and addressed to both Jew and Gentile:

1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment (Romans 3:1-4).

The majority of Jews rejected their Messiah. This lack of faith did not only smudge their face, it polluted their soul. The million shekel question, which my respondent could have asked, is: Why did God choose the Jews (or anyone else) if He knew that he would only save a remnant (the ancient prophets make it abundantly clear that only a remnant will be saved)? The answer is because the Bible teaches that if you love God’s word, you love everything He does. Outside of God’s word, unbelievers end up where they started; on the rickety bridge of philosophy – or whatever grabs their imperfect fancy.

My title is  ”How can a Perfect God create the potential for imperfection?” ”Can” in the title has the meaning of ability. So we can rephrase the question so: ”Is it within God’s power to create something imperfect?” I argued that this is possible. There is another question my respondent did not ask, to which I only gave a partial answer. It’s a question that relates more to the moral side of God’s character than to His omnipotence: ”Why would/did God create the potential for imperfection, for sin, for evil, for damnation? The scriptures do not explain all we want to know, but they do explain much.

The Bible tells us:

First, God was not taken by surprise when Satan and his angelic cohort sinned and when Adam sinned. Everything that happens is “according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (Ephesians 1:11, ESV). God designed the universe to display his perfection. This perfection takes three forms: creation, providence/sovereignty and redemption. So God created the world to manifest his sovereignty in redemption: “For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men” (1Corinthains 4:9). “I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge” (Psalm 71:7).

God has designed everything to manifest (show off) the radiance of His perfection and holiness; in a word, his glory:

[1] In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2] Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. [3] And one called to another and said:

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory!”

[4] And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. [5] And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5 ESV).

Second, and here is where human indignation, among many Christians as well, boils over: God foreordains all events: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36 ESV). “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11 ESV). We read in Joshua Liebman’s “Peace of mind” that religion is “at its best” merely “the announcer of the supreme ideals by which men must live and through which our finite species finds it’s ultimate significance.” If people were honest, says Liebman, “they would admit that the implementation of these ideals should be left to psychology.” Whereas the Scripture (Hebrew and New testament) says “Man proposes, God disposes,” Liebman says, “God proposes, psychology disposes.” “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps (Proverbs 16:1); “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

Here’s the rub: the Lord’s purpose is fulfilled not in spite of Satan and man but because of Satan and man:

[15] When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” [16] So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: [17] ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. [18] His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” [19] But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? [20] As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [21] So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:15-21 ESV).

[22] “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know [23] this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:22-23 ESV).

When we say God is all-knowing, we mean He knows everything past, present and future. That’s fine say most; omniscience is one of the incommunicable attributes of God, which He doesn’t share with man. God is also eternal, that is no beginning, no end. It follows that an eternal all-knowing God learns nothing. The Bible says that everything that happens is because God pre-ordains it, even in the number of hairs on your head. So, the reason why God knows everything and learns nothing is because He pre-ordains everything. The scriptures above are clear that this is so. 

Related post: God, the infinitely good, creates evil




36 thoughts on “How can a Perfect God create the potential for imperfection?

  1. Well it seems to me that you did not answer my first question at all… but skated around it, or should I say slithered?

    The absolute best answer you did give is this: “Why God would create a world where He knew man would become radically corrupt is not something we can ever know.”

    But it truly throws me that you then later say this: ”Why would/did God create the potential for imperfection, for sin, for evil, for damnation? A comprehensive answer to that question can be found in the scriptures.”

    So which is it my friend? Obviously the second statement of yours would answer your previous statement about it being an unknown mystery. I surely would like to know… 🙂

    If you would really just like to say: “leave it at as a mystery and let your faith fill in the gaps…” We can leave it at that, cause that’s always the best and most satisfying answer.

    “God works in mysterious ways…” “the donation box is over there…”

    Aside from my previous question that you tried to answer within this post… I would like to argue that one or many (religions) cannot truly know God and when they claim to they are really just pushing their own agenda and well… trying to speak for Creation itself which doesn’t seem to have a book, race, divide or native tongue.

    It just is.

    Whether you call yourself a Jew or you call others Gentiles… You in your mind make that divide… along with all and any other “beliefs” you choose to label and throw at “God”, life, creation and the breath of existence. Whether you justify it by a book you are still wrong.

    • Frank you are right, I am contradicting myself. The second statement is the correct one.

      Let me say it a better way: Human wisdom cannot find the answer to this question; but the Bible can. You reject this, naturally.

    • Dear Frank
      I don’t know the answer naturally, as everybody else. But I was somehow convinced by earlier Greek philosophers who considered creation as a step down from the Perfect First Being.
      For them perfection could only create imperfection because God can’t recreate Himself and this is quite rationally understandable.
      In the Catholic and in general Christian Creed we say: And we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; His son, begotten not made of the same substance of the Father”.
      Instead human beings and the fallen angels were created and therefore not of the same perfect nature of the Father.

      Now why would God have made creation knowing that was going to be inherently imperfect and therefore this creation able to refuse the light of God? Evil is considered in itself the different degrees of the way matter (created) can refuse the light of God.
      Why don’t we play the game of God? Would you rather be as God being able to expand your being or retract your being in a void? All evil I would say is worth the possibility of love that God feels toward his Creation and one glimpse of his light accepted by the creation is worth the dark night even if for one glimpse of beauty and fulfillment. The day will come after the dark night and the Creation and the creatures know it and they wait for it.

  2. Frank, yours is a simple and obvious question that any rational, credible belief system has to answer. Christianity can’t and does not even try to answer it; to be a Christian you first must swallow “total depravity” as an axiomatic stipulation and pretend that it requires no evidence or justification.

    It doesn’t sound to me like you’re ready to make that leap of faith.

    But before you make an alternatively erroneous leap of faith to concluding that all other religions are equally illogical, perhaps you ought to ask around. See if your L.O.R. (local Orthodox rabbi) has a reasonable answer to your question. Let us know whatcha find out.

  3. bography,

    I am sorry about my use of certain “four” letter words, but I felt they had the impact I was going for. Anyways, I understand the editing and it wont happen again.

    In many ways, I would like to just develop this site into a good conversation seeking answers to my question. However, sometimes playing the devil’s advocate is needed to do such.

    With all my questions and pushes, really I am trying to strengthen anyone and everyones faith… whatever it is. I do not think all religions are bogus, I think they serve a very powerful purpose and that is that their general philosophical principles force or allow people to think about and conceive posibilities that lay beyond our day to day reach, but are the foundation of all that is and we do.

  4. Is the mistake here not that you all are viewing Evil or Corruption as a thing or separate entity as opposed to what it actually is? That is, the Lack of Goodness ~ .. Lets say you have a perfectly working computer and you open it up and move all the parts around or take some parts out of it rather ~.. It will no longer function as it was originally intended. So with our soul, once we have moved away from God (Who IS Love and the source of Goodness) we become corrupted & we dont function as we were originally intended to. .. God is Love – and what is Love? Read, 1Cor13:4 ; and what is the Fruit of the Spirit? Read, Gal5:22. Do you see this fruit in the world around you? Do you see it on TV? In Governments of the World?

    Gen 1:28 – we see that we were commanded to rule over the earth & all creatures. This we know is true – However through our own corruption we have corrupted the earth and nature, haven’t we?

    So, if God is Love and the Fruit of the Spirit (of God) is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then, the person who earnestly seeks after God and these things and who receives & submits to the Spirit will produce these fruits. As Matt.7:16 says, ‘ You will know them by their Fruit..’ ~

    Whereas, in contrast, the ‘acts of the flesh’ (where there is a lack of the Spirit, as it were) is Gal5:19-21.. and is this not what we see around us in the World?

  5. further on this (and i can go on & on as there is so much Truth in Scripture) – 1Cor2:15 reads ’15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments’ – How can this be so? Because the person with the Spirit is able to judge based on the Absoluteness of God. When you dont have the Spirit or this Absolute, you lose the ability to judge things. We live in a world which preaches ‘Relativity’, big time. You know, that whole ..”whats good for you is not what’s good for me, but if it makes you happy then thats good”… Christians believe in the Absoluteness of God. Absoluteness is a requirement in every day living, an absence of law leads to Chaos. Chaos is not a separate entity.. its just what happens when law is not applied to it in one form or another… We see Gods Natural laws in nature & science and, as I see it, Gods Spiritual laws which apply to us separately as Gods people. Dont get me wrong – im not talking about the old Laws which God gave to Israel, but the Laws written on our hearts (Jer31:33;2Cor3:3; Rom2:29..)

    • Dear Karen,

      Help us to get you right.

      You wrote “Dont get me wrong – im not talking about the old Laws which God gave to Israel” to clarify your earlier comment that “Gen 1:28 – we see that we were commanded to rule over the earth & all creatures. This we know is true”.

      If, as you believe, they’re only “old” laws that have since been superseded, and since you correctly delineated that they were only given particularly to the Jews anyway, don’t you personify the height of cynicism by borrowing from the Jewish Biblical commandments to illustrate the what you consider the scope of your divine mandate as a gentile? Aren’t you trying to have your cake and eat it too?

      Consider that perhaps the reason you’re so fascinated with the Jews and their teachings is because you recognize that, before the publication of Paul’s dreams and the Nicene committee that gathered to vote on a new religion, long before that, there was a revelation at Sinai. That was something unprecedented in human history, and it has never been repeated since then. An entire nation stood together at the base of a mountain and experienced collective prophecy. Not one person having a dream, but all of them. Theirs is thus the only credible religion in the world. Why else do you suppose all of the other extant major religions today begin with an acknowledgement that G-d gave the Jews their commandments at Sinai? Of course, from that starting point, none of them can agree on how many times G-d changed His mind and issued subsequent contradictions to His Sinai revelation in spite of the many Biblical statements that it will never be revoked or outmoded, but the truth of the Sinai revelation to the Jews is peculiarly agreed to given the historically unique strength of the Jews’ national revelation fact pattern. You believe it too, even as you attempt to shield your eyes from it by calling it “old”. People do that because it entails obligations and consequences. You should know that it also entails rewards, and it is for their purpose that G-d created the world for you. So that you should exercise your G-d-given free will and merit those rewards. The Jews were commanded “choose life”, but in order for them to have the ability to select good over evil, obviously G-d had to put both options in front of people. That is a fundamental element of free will, and not a mark that G-d is partially, if it could be said, evil. G-d is not the one doing the evil, or choosing the evil, or instructing others to do evil; rather, G-d is the one providing people both alternatives and therewith the opportunity and instruction to do what’s right and to reap the reward. And the reward for doing something that one has earned is the ultimate good, far better than a free gift. Both an urban panhandler and a country ditch digger make about the same amount of money in a day, but there can be no comparison between the two in terms of their enjoyment of their take. The one suffers a lack of self esteem and self worth, the other receives his paycheck as one honorable party to a bilateral transaction. If you want to know more about what G-d told the Jews at Sinai, and more about the real duties and obligations and rewards for being an honorable gentile, then check out, and explore the part that applies to you of the only religious tradition in history that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. agree really happened.

  6. Anon, with respect, you have strayed from the actual subject, which is the article above and responses thereof. But, as a believer of the same God, and a humble seeker of the same Truth, hereunder is my response, to your response 🙂 :

    The laws and specifications which God gave the Israelite peoples – (for His purpose and plan you understand – which were given to Moses were given, I believe, to impress on the people, the knowledge of righteousness and fear of God, and to keep the israelites Holy in order to fulfil His purpose and plan. And in this came salvation to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6, and of course, the new Testament) – Anon, I dont ‘shield’ my eyes from the law by calling it Old – what I mean, by Old laws and decrees is, perhaps something like, these are the laws of the physical? (if i can put in words.. and hope it makes sense..) but what I was referring to above are the laws of the Spirit (Love one another .. maybe these are the fruit of the Spirit, the spiritual qualities which enable us to meet righteousness) – It is right and true, that Jesus Christ came to uphold the law that was given. He came to Perfect the Law and elevate it as intended. .. hmm, interesting that we had a sermon on this the Sunday past.

    I am of course naturally obligated to learn the Word of God and it is Commanded to study the Scriptures. What do you mean by facinated by the Jews? You shouldnt elevate yourself –

    Anon, be careful that you realize and remember that there is One God. I serve the same God.

    I am a believer in the promised Messiah Jesus Christ who came and died for our sins as prophesised (Isaiah 53:5)

    I dont belive that God created Evil – he separated Order from Chaos, LIght from Darkness. He said Let there be Light and separated it from Darkness (John 1:1-5). I believe that moving away from God brings evil or chaos. Evil is all that is not good. All that is not good leads to corruption and chaos. The only way we can be with God is to be pure and righteous. Since it is impossible to be completely righteous, the only way we can be reconciled to God is the Way that He has provided to us as promised from the Beginning of creation, throughout scripture. xxx God bless you and show you that way xxxx
    With love & respect,

    • Karen,

      You wrote “The only way we can be with God is to be pure and righteous. Since it is impossible to be completely righteous….”

      It follows from those two premises that it is not possible to “be with” G-d. Since that conclusion is wrong, one or more of your premises must also be wrong. It turns out that your second premise is wrong. Your second premise contradicts the Hebrew scriptures:

      “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11)…”I command you today to love the L-ord your G-d, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the L-rd your G-d will bless you” (ibid verse 16).

      Although you swear it’s impossible to keep G-d’s commandments and thereby be righteous, G-d expressed the exact opposite opinion. Something for you to think about.

      • Dan, have you ever sinned? Can you confidently say that you do consistently uphold this law 100%? (“love the L-ord your G-d, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the L-rd your G-d will bless you”)

            • Karen,

              In your previous response you criticized me for what you described as changing the topic. Now you’re changing the topic. Let’s turn the conversation back to the question at hand instead of getting lost in a pointless discussion of my appropriately anonymous and irrelevant personal life.

              “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11).

              So are you saying G-d’s commandments to the Jews are too difficult for them and beyond their reach?

              • Anon, your

                Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11).

                יא כִּי הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם–לֹא-נִפְלֵאת הִוא מִמְּךָ, וְלֹא רְחֹקָה הִוא

                Here is another translation KJV

                11. For this commandment, which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off:

                As you know לֹא-נִפְלֵאת has the meaning of either “not too difficult to do,” or “not too difficult to understand,” or both.

                The KJV’s “not hidden” focuses on “not too difficult to understand.”

                Your argument is that verse 11 means not only that the Word is easy to understand but also easy to accomplish. Do I understand you correctly?

                • The “authorized” revision of the Hebrew scriptures that bears gentile King James’ Christian imprimatur is full of errors, some of them are clearly intentional, as in the case of changing the Hebrew word that means, throughout the Bible, “like a lion”, suddenly becoming “pierced” in one particular passage.

                  The key to understanding the Jewish scriptures is the Jewish tradition from Sinai of which the Jewish Bible is one small part. I know that you reject the tradition that tells you that the Bible is something other than a work of fiction, while you at the same time accept the Bible as a true document. Your position is irrational. That’s okay with me, but let’s recognize it for what it is.

                  So when a known deceiver like King James, who has no connection to the data transmission at Sinai, comes along and contradicts the people who do have that connection, you accept his hermeneutic over their at your own hazard, or, more precisely, to your own detriment.

                  The meaning of the passage is as I quoted it (by the way–I clipped it from a Christian English translation, one more honest than your King James’). But the silliness of your argument goes beyond your push to misunderstand it. Consider the logic behind your argument: let’s presume G-d only meant that the Jews should understand, but never actually perform, His commandments. Your argument presumes that G-d is stupid, and that He therefore took great care not only to instruct the Jews in conduct He purposely designed them to be unable to abide by, but then He emphasized that He wanted them to understand (but not actually do) His commandments that He commanded them to DO. This is a nonsensical scenario in its own right, nevermind that it requires a rejection of the actual meaning of scripture to imagine it.

                • Anon, you are trying sometimes; very.
                  I merely wanted to clarify. I said: “Your argument is that verse 11 means not only that the Word is easy to understand but also easy to accomplish.” I then asked: “Do I understand you correctly?” Instead of throwing your usual DOODOO around, you could have simply answered: “Yes, it means both OBVIOUSLY.” And I wouldn’t have minded if you had added “Duh!”

                  By the way, I have a reason why I asked you that question, which I will summarise for you once I have written something on the “Impossibility of fulfilling the easy to understand law.”

                  About that “like a lion” jab. Ok, say it says “like a lion,” what was the lion doing round the feet of the person on the cross; licking them. Could be, if it were Androcles hanging there. If not, I see claws and teeth; and what do claws and teeth do? They pierce.

                  As you know I wrote about “like a lion” and Psalm 22 here:

                  • Regarding “like a lion”, that’s the exact quote from the Hebrew Bible. It just doesn’t say “pierced”. I know that pierced would fit a lot better with the Christian narrative, but at the end of the day we have to be honest about Psalm 22 and admit what it actually says. It was written in Hebrew, with the word k’ari. K’ari means “like a lion”. Even King James translates k’ari as “like a lion” throughout the Bible, except, suddenly in Ps. 22 he translates it as “pierced”. K’ari does not mean pierced in the Hebrew language. King James changed the Bible, the inerrant, eternal, unalterable, perfect word of G-d to fit his gentile religion. Again, you want to accept KJV over the word of G-d.

                    • Anon

                      “they pierced” was in the Septuagint. But then you will probably say (will we ever know) that the Jews who translated the Tanach into Greek were incipient Christians , or better, the Christians fudged the Septuagint.

                      “But one of the pre-eminent Jewish scholars of the LXX text–Emanuel Tov–makes a summary statement that should quite settle the matter [Mikra:162-163]:

                      “Only a few data are known concerning the time of composition of the translations contained in the canon of the ‘LXX’. According to the Epistle of Aristeas the Pentateuch was translated in the third century B.C.E.; this seems plausible in the light of the early date of papyri of the Pentateuch (middle or end second century B.C.E.). The books of the Prophets and Hagiographa were translated after the Pentateuch, since in them extensive use is made of its vacabulary [sic] and it is often quoted. As for the terminus ad quem, since the grandson of Ben Sira knew the translation of the books of the Prophets and part of the Hagiographa (132 or 116 B.C.E., according to different computations), these translations were probably finished before the first century B.C.E. Most of the books may have been translated at an early stage (beginning second century B.C.E. or earlier). One may note that the following books are quoted in early sources: Chronicles is quoted by Eupolemus (middle second century B.C.E., and Job by Pseudo-Aristeas (beginning first century B.C.E.). Additionally, Isaiah contains allusions to historical occurrences which indicated that it was translated in the middle of the second century B.C.E.
                      “Originally the LXX was a Jewish translation, and hence was quoted by Jewish historians (Demetrius, Eupolemus, Artapanus, Josephus), poets (Ezekiel) and philosophers (Philo). Especially the Pentateuch was also used in the synagogue service. However, at the end of the first century C.E. many Jews ceased to use the LXX because the early Christians had adopted it as their own translation, and by then it was considered a Christian translation. This explains the negative attitude of many Rabbis towards the LXX…This negative approach is visible also in the view of the Rabbis who explained the differences between the MT and LXX as alterations of the latter.” [Mikra:162f].”


                      Why did the septuagint translators see “pierced” and not “like a lion” is an interesting story. It’s easy to find the answer. Just rev up your search engine; but be careful, ’cause there’s lots of drivel out there, not so?

                    • Raf,

                      The Jews disavow responsibility for and fault as inaccurate the Greek translation of the Prophets and Writings. The Jews say the only thing they translated into what they know as the Septuagint was the Pentateuch.

                      It is a Christian article of faith that the Jews did in fact render their entire canon into Greek.

                      Only one of these scenarios can be right. And while the Jews were there, the Christians weren’t.

                      Trying to prove k’ari means something other than “like a lion” to a Hebrew, on the strength of a Greek document Jews have learned from their parents and grandparents (who taught them Hebrew) is a hoax, certainly qualifies as a vain pastime.

                    • So, we should choose your anonymous word above Emmanuel Tov, a former chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls project? His CV we know; yours we don’t, for obvious reasons.

                      Emanuel Tov, FBA Former Editor-in-Chief, Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible Emeritus, Dept. of Bible Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel TEL: ++972-2-5883514 (o), 5815714 (h), E-mail: FAX: ++972-2-5881387

                      Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Emanuel Tov emigrated to Israel in 1961. He studied Bible and Greek literature at the Hebrew University and continued his studies at the Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Harvard University between 1967 and 1969. He obtained his Ph.D. degree at the Hebrew University in 1973.

                      Since 1986 Emanuel Tov has been a professor in the Dept. of Bible of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (since 1990 he holds the J. L. Magnes chair). He has been a guest professor at various Universities in Europe and the USA. He received several research awards, among them the Humboldt Research Prize, Germany and the Emet Prize in Biblical Research awarded to him by the Prime Minister of Israel. In 2006 he was appointed Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2009 he received the Israel Prize in Biblical Research. In 2010 he received the Samaritan Medal for Humanitarian Achievement from the High Priest on Mt. Gerizim.

                      E. Tov has specialized in various aspects of the textual criticism of Hebrew and Greek Scripture as well as in the Qumran Scrolls. He has written and edited numerous books and articles, among them two text books. One of them, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, was awarded the Prize for the Best Book Relating to the Old Testament in 1992 by the Biblical Archaeological Society in Washington.

                      Emanuel Tov is involved in several research projects, but since 1990, most of his energy is invested in directing the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project. Under his guidance thirty-three

                    • It’s nice to know that E. Tov has a secular university credential in Biblical criticism to go with his opinions.

                      But, back to the tradition from Sinai of which the Hebrew scriptures are one small part: only the Jews were at Sinai, and only they had the possibility of being able to accurately convey to their children, down through the generations, what information they received at Sinai. The Christians, the secular Bible critics, and even Jews like you from families that experienced an interruption in the transmission and with it a forfeiture of their progeny’s participation in the destiny of Israel, all of these are without standing to rule on what information was given to the Jews at Sinai. The only ones with standing to make an authoritative declaration on the topic all agree that k’ari only means “like a lion” in the Hebrew language and that the Prophets and Writings Greek translation you today call a part of the Septuagint is non-Jewish in origin and incompatible with their ancient Sinaitic tradition.

                    • As we both know, E. Tov is “J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project. He was awarded the Israel Prize 2009 for his research in the Bible.”

                      So, according to you, the Israeli State has awarded the Israel prize to an apostate. What does that say about the (secular) State of Israel? Can’t get more anti-oral law than that, and surely, for a faithful follower of oral Torah, deserving of harsh judgment.

                      What you’re left with Anon, which for you is all that is needed, is “the council of Israel” has spoken (ex cathedra), and that’s the end of that.

                      In future, when you criticize Christianity, please play by your rules and don’t cite secular scholars but only Christian scholars.

                    • Jews whose families didn’t go off the rails don’t need a secular historian to tell them what they believe, or what their great-grandparents believed. They already heard all about what actually happened at Sinai from their parents and their neighbors. They don’t need a secular historian who has no real knowledge of what happened there to tell them their theories based not on the actual tradition but instead on thousand year old pieces of pottery and the like to concoct imaginary tales around.

                      I’m also unfamiliar with your “council of Israel” and references to Catholic cathedrals–none of this has anything to do with the tradition from Sinai that I and every member of my community received from our ancestors.

                      (Anon then goes on to say what he has said umpteen comments on this site, namely, “there is no Christian tradition passed down from eyewitnesses of Jesus to their descendants down through today,” whereas he has, as he says above, “the tradition from Sinai that I and every member of my community received from our ancestors.” Enough alrrready)

                    • You say you don’t need a Jew who was head of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” project and who is one of the top experts on the Septuagint, because what he says does not sync with your oral law. So be it, then.

                      You say you don’t know what The Council of Israel is. Have you come across the “Council of my people” (Ezekiel 13:9)?

                      Ezekiel 13:9
                      My hand shall be against the prophets that see false visions, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the council of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel.

                      Rabbi Blumenthal has written a whole book on it

  7. “but what I was referring to above are the laws of the Spirit (Love one another .. ”

    I wonder where did the Spirit get the Idea of “love one another…?” ( Lev. 19:18).

    I get a kick everytime Christians are speaking of the Spirit like it is an NT patent…

    • Dan, there are Jews that disagree with you:

      “It is written in the Torah (Leviticus 19:18): “You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” — here also the verse yells out “the children of your people.” In Torat Cohanim on the portion of Kedoshim, chapter 4, halacha 12: “You shall not avenge nor bear a grudge against the children of your people — but you can avenge and bear a grudge against others” (that is, against Gentiles — explanation of the Ra’avad). In the words of Maimonides in The Laws of Mental States, chapter 7, halacha 10 (in the printed edition, halacha 7): “One who avenges against his fellow transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not avenge’.”


  8. Bog,

    You are reading your agenda into it I am afraid. God gave the Law to His covenant community at the time. They where in the wilderness. The concept of global ecumenical crap was not yet known. This is another example of your Hellenistic/Platonic mindset.

    • Dan

      your “This is another example of your Hellenistic/Platonic mindset.”

      I don’t understand what you mean by Hellenistic/Platonic mindset. Please explain.

      • God gave the Torah to people who are under the covenant, not to the world.

        I know, I know….People under the covenant break it every day, but this is why I said that who cares?

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