Monday, June 2, 2008

The Bible Assumes

"The Bible assumes.."

This is a phrase I've heard a few times this past year. And I really love it. I was thinking about this phrase a couple of days ago, and my random mind began wondering, "Wait a minute, how do we know what the Bible is assuming and what people are assuming?" Assumptions are just that - assumptions.

At it says:

take to be the case or to be true; accept without verification or proof

I'm not saying that as a Christian I don't take the Bible to be verified or proof enough for me, but rather with comments like, "The Bible assumes..." - how do we know that it's the Bible assuming and not us as people?

In my journey through LDS doctrines - a few major things hit right into this. How do we know the Bible assumes that God is an eternal, uncreated being? I'm not making a case that is anything else, but rather - when Gen. 1.1 says, "IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" - how do we know what "beginning" this refers to? Does this refer to the beginning of our galaxy? To the beginning or our world? To the beginning of the universe? My concordance says:

re'shiyth {ray-sheeth'}
Hebrew: noun feminine
Possible Definitions:
1) first, beginning, best, chief
1a) beginning
1b) first
1c) chief
1d) choice part
re'shiyth {ray-sheeth'}

In context, it would appear that the beginning is referring to this world - Earth.

Gen 1:2

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

So when Mainstream Christians say that the Bible assumes that God is an eternal, uncreated being - does the Bible really assume this or are they the ones assuming this?

Rev 21:6
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

arche {ar-khay'}
Greek: noun feminine
Possible Definitions:
1) beginning, origin
2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader
3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause
4) the extremity of a thing, of the corners of a sail
5) the first place, principality, rule, magistracy
arche {ar-khay'}
Greek: noun feminine
from 756;
Translated as:
beginning (40 times)
principality (8 times)
corner (2 times)
first (2 times)
misc. (6 times)
Total: 58 times
Strong's Number 746
TDNT - 1:478,81
Show verses containing this translated root
(arche {ar-khay'} Greek: noun feminine)

Again, does this mean first and last in our world (Earth), galaxy, universe? First and last of what exactly? Specifically? Do we merely assume the things we do about God? I'm not saying that I believe that God is created or not eternal, but rather I am simply taking a step back and asking myself some more specific questions. When we delve into the 13 Articles of Faith, the first being God:

WE believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

Which then brings into question - what does Eternal mean in LDS teachings? Does it mean without beginning and end? Without end? Without beginning? When we say that God is Eternal, specifically WHAT does this mean and WHY do we believe this? What specific Biblical verses are we taking this from OR are we, human beings, finite creatures in the shadow of God who is not finite, making assumptions? Are we putting God into a tidy box when in reality, He doesn't belong there to begin with?

Finally, bringing this all back to the cross - the great Rescue and Atonement of Jesus, how important is this? Eternal, not eternal, created, not created? Relevant to salvation - how is this belief essential and WHY is it essential?

In light of this - I want to go through the Bible, Mainstream Christian, and LDS teachings and find out - what is taught that the Bible assumes, why, and what does the Bible really say or not say? At what point, on doctrine, tradition, and practical living, are making the assumptions and giving credit to the Bible?

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