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#1 Phil

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 05:36 AM

Hope Fortigurn and Evangelion don't mind, but i've decided to move a discussion we were having into this new thread, just for my own personal clarity, since it's spread out in the "How sin entered into the world", to which this topic bears no relevance... i suppose they can tidy it up if they wish, maybe delete the excess threads or something. (*ahem* yes i had too much time this evening!) Hopefully my slightly tongue in cheek commentary causes no homicides. I amuse myself if no one else... :P

Anyway, after the following...

Questions -

My point stands - belief in demons and the Devil were a common belief of the day.


Your point still stands because nobody has ever disputed it - and you can rest assured that we won't! I wholeheartedly agree with you that these were indeed the common beliefs of the day.

But you're forgetting two important points:
  • Nowhere does a belief in evil spirits or daimonion play any part in the theology of the early Christians.
  • The apostle Paul himself categorically denies the existence of daimonion. [expanded upon in another article of Evangelion's here]


... i had this to say:

One main question arises from these two points (neither which i disagree with - the first because i'm no authority on early christian writings, the second because i came to the same conclusions independently for a recent bible class!!). This question is of course regarding fellowship boundaries, and you can move the post to a separate area if you wish, i'm not exactly sure where it should go.

Before i ask, i'll expand slightly on your second point. Paul does indeed deny the existence of these daimonion, but he does so in the context of protecting the consciences of those who struggled with this belief, without asking for them to leave the ecclesia.

With those in mind, i'd have to ask, why do we make similar beliefs such the presence of evil spirits etc, such an issue of fellowship nowadays? Especially given that similar arguments regarding cultural conditioning (depending on religious background etc) could be used to defend the situation. (btw, i'm not necessarily proposing we CHANGE that situation, just wondering about your opinions on the matter)



#2 Phil

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 05:48 AM

Inexplicably different font sizes aside, Gurny couldn't help himself, and soon replied with:

Actually Phil, I think you're thinking of a completely different passage. You're thinking of the 'meat offered to idols' thing. And that is speaking of the consciences of brethren and sisters who know full well that demons and other gods do not exist.

(... his emphasis, not mine)

Smelling blood, i followed up with:

erm... yes, i am talking about the 'meat offered to idols' thing, and last time i looked that was in the same passages in 1 Cor 8 & 10 that Evangelion uses in his daimonion proofs in the armoury.  The context of 1 Cor 8 makes it quite clear that "not all [the brethren and sisters] have this knowledge". My insertion, but i'll back it up if you want. Come to think of it, you agreed with me over in the Devil's Vision thread...  


Gurny disagreed, and responded as follows:

The knowledge they don't have is that eating meat offered to idols is nothing. The habits of a lifetime render it difficult or even impossible for them to eat meat offered to idols without feeling that they are treating the god represented by the idol as living. Other translations make this clear:

NAB:
7 But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.


[... many versions removed here ...]

At the bottom line, this is the 'knowledge' which Paul wishes them to understand:

TLV:
8Food, however, will not improve our relations with God; we shall not lose anything if we do not eat, nor shall we gain anything if we do eat.


As far as Paul is concerned, that fixes the problem. The issue here is not one of believing in other gods, it's of feeling guilty by acting as if they exist - and eating food offered to idols is one way in which such a conscience is hurt.



#3 Phil

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 06:02 AM

My next post went (goodness me the nested quotes are getting out of control here):


The knowledge they don't have is that eating meat offered to idols is nothing.


While strictly speaking, this is true, it is an oversimplification of the matter.

At the bottom line, this is the 'knowledge' which Paul wishes them to understand:

TLV:
8Food, however, will not improve our relations with God; we shall not lose anything if we do not eat, nor shall we gain anything if we do eat.


Unfortunately, to assert that verse 8 is the 'knowledge' Paul was speaking about in verse 7, is stretching the text. You can quote all the versions you want, since they all say exactly the same thing, but none of them help your case because it totally ignores the preceding verses:
v1:we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
v2:And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
v4-6:we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

It is these verses which are directly followed by: Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge:
It doesn't matter which of those versions you wish to quote, all of them except the CEV connects verse 7 with the preceding verses with either a 'but' or a 'however'. The 'knowledge' Paul speaks about in verse 7 can ONLY be the knowledge revealed in verse 4. It was this knowledge which in some measure was lacking in some of the brethren and sisters.

The feelings of guilt/defiled conscience did not come because they are "acting" or "treating" them as if the idols exist, while simultaneously knowing full well that they didn't. These b&s were unable to 100% declare with personal congruity that "an idol is nothing in the world", because they were as yet unable to totally shake off their upbringing. The versions you quoted support this. If this wasn't the case, then Paul's preceding argument is rendered totally redundant, and "but not all have this knowledge" is a fallacy.

Now, please answer the question... what implications does this have for us today in terms of the way we treat those who because of upbringing and social conditioning are unable to totally shake off beliefs divergent to ours?


For reasons which remain unclear, Gurny wished to further debate the point:

I was referring to the knowledge of verse 4. That's the knowledge which I quoted. I think you've missed my point.

I also proved that Paul's correction of the problem is to instruct them that eating meat offered to idols is not a sin. He does not correct the idea that there is only one God.

Now you can claim that this means to Paul that the doctrine that there is only one God is not a fellowship issue, or a salvation issue, but that would require you to argue that Paul was relegating what Christ called 'The greatest commandment' to the level of a mere conscience issue.

I'll have to take you through the Greek grammar here. I'll find a similar example to illustrate the point.



#4 Phil

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 06:16 AM

Earning accolades from Fortigurn, who clapped his appreciation in a sickening display of brotherly admiration ( :P ), Evangelion decided to add some sage words:

Phil - since Fortigurn has addressed your other concerns, I'll simply take care of this:

With those in mind, i'd have to ask, why do we make similar beliefs such the presence of evil spirits etc, such an issue of fellowship nowadays? Especially given that similar arguments regarding cultural conditioning (depending on religious background etc) could be used to defend the situation. (btw, i'm not necessarily proposing we CHANGE that situation, just wondering about your opinions on the matter)


An excellent question - and one to which I have given a considerable amount of thought in the last year. From my point of view, the problem here lies not so much with a belief in "demons" (a hopelessly misleading term) and "the devil" per se, but rather, the predicates upon which these beliefs are established. What are those predicates?

They vary from group to group, but the essential points are these:

  • That supernatural angels are capable of sinning and "falling."
  • That supernatural angels turn into "demons" when they fall (ceasing to be angels?!)
  • That supernatural angels are not actually immortal (they just live for a very, very, very, very, very, very long time!)

All of the above are desperately problematic - not only from a logical perspective, but also from a Biblical perspective. In order to accept them, you have to perform all kinds of gymnastics with various passages of Scripture. You also have to throw out any idea that the angels might actually be (a) perfect and (b) immortal, but also the verse which says that we shall be "equal unto the angels" and the one which says that they "neither marry nor are given in marriage."

The standard defence for that last one is "But it doesn't say that evil angels can't marry or be given in marriage. So we have to understand that this is what happened when they fell. (Genesis 6.)" But this defence is nothing more than a piece of circular reasoning.

Observe:

  • We are told that the angels fell by marrying the daughters of men.
  • We are told that this is, in fact, how they became "evil" angels (or "demons", as some will claim.)
  • When we ask how angels could marry or be given in marriage (in contradiction to Scripture) we are told that this only applies to 'evil angels."
  • But the entire premise of the argument is that marrying and being given in marriage was the process by which the good angels fell from their exalted state!

But the entire premise of the argument is that marrying and being given in marriage was the process by which the good angels fell from their exalted state!

So you see, the argument collapses in a heap. This is not immediately apparent, because the answers tend to be glib and well-rehearsed. But probe the foundations, and they will not hold.

It is interesting to note that - for the most part - believers in "demons" and "fallen angels" and "the devil" make absolutely no attempt to justify these predicates. They will point to verses which they believe to substantiate them (few and far between) without ever addressing the logical problems. Even on those rare occasions when the logical problems are addressed, confusion reigns. (As we have seen from the example above.)

Here is another example: in another thread, Anastasis pointed to the parable about the evil spirit who leaves a man, wanders about for a while and returns with some of his fellows. He did this in order to prove that Jesus did indeed believe in evil spirits and "demons." When we pointed out that this was merely a parable (and of course, a parable does not necessarily endorse a particular belief) he expressed his dissatisfaction with this response.

However, it is worth noting that Anastasis rejects a belief in (a) the immortal soul, and (b) hellfire. This means that he places himself in a particularly awkward position by making an argument for his belief in evil spirits and "demons" on the basis of one parable, but rejecting any claims that proof for the existence of immortal souls and hellfire can be drawn from another parable (the rich man and Lazarus.) There is an inconsistency here which the Christadelphian hermeneutic easily avoids.

To date, I have seen only one believer in "evil spirits" and "demons" who correctly identifies all of these logical/Biblical problems and admits that he simply cannot provide an explanation. That individual is Allon Maxwell - a former Christadelphian.

In a moment, I shall post some excerpts from his work on this subject.


Not convinced that the words of Allon Maxwell are necessarily as relevant to this discussion as they are to the other one, and also being influenced by my increasing selfish desire to cease my self-appointed task of reformatting the posts of others ( :angry: ), i've decided not to repost them. Evangelion can do so if he feels it strictly necessary!!

#5 Phil

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 07:57 AM

hmmm.... think i've worked out the font size issue. It seems to be a slight bug in the software when dealing with nested quotes. When coming out of a quote, the font size rises slightly, and that's ok, as long as there are no nested quotes, since when going into any NESTED quote, the font size doesn't drop any more to compensate. Invision board isn't perfect it seems... that's ruined my night!

anyway, having performed all the thread gymnastics, i'm planning on adding to the discussion now!

Fortigurn (thanks Ev, i'll get to yours later, although i did leave a comment for you half way through this), i'm going to have to kick you while you're away for the weekend... in your last post, you made the following statement...

I was referring to the knowledge of verse 4. That's the knowledge which I quoted. I think you've missed my point.


I'm sorry to say this, but that blatantly contradicts your earlier comments:

The knowledge they don't have is that eating meat offered to idols is nothing.

and

At the bottom line, this is the 'knowledge' which Paul wishes them to understand:

TLV:
8Food, however, will not improve our relations with God; we shall not lose anything if we do not eat, nor shall we gain anything if we do eat.


As far as Paul is concerned, that fixes the problem. The issue here is not one of believing in other gods, it's of feeling guilty by acting as if they exist.

The problem is that not once in that post did you even mention verse 4. And therefore it certainly wasn't the knowledge which you quoted. Um... i believe that was me. ;) So i hope you can understand my confusion here. You offer v8 as a direct rebuttal of my point that verse 7's 'knowledge' refers to verse 4-6, and then promptly take it back, saying that was your point all along.

I also proved that Paul's correction of the problem is to instruct them that eating meat offered to idols is not a sin. He does not correct the idea that there is only one God.

I didn't notice that you'd proved anything of the sort. Paul's solution to the problem was two fold. First an exposition of the uniqueness of God and that as a result eating meats offered to idols is nothing. Notice that the second point here is a direct result of the first, and that those who in verse 7 gained a defiled conscience did so because their 'knowledge' (of God's uniqueness) was not perfect. Secondly, Paul asserted that those who did lack 'knowledge' were to be protected in their vulnerability. A natural assumption to make is this protection was accompanied by education as to the true state of affairs, theologically speaking. Hence the reason for verses 4-6.

Now you can claim that this means to Paul that the doctrine that there is only one God is not a fellowship issue, or a salvation issue

I haven't yet claimed either of these, and i'm not sure i'd want to. Rather, i've simply presented the situation and asked what correlation this can possibly have to us today, for example in beliefs relating to evil spirits, demons, etc. I can have absolutely no idea, from the text, to what degree this conflict regarding the existances of other gods was present in the minds of the weak brethren. Was it niggling doubt? Was it fully fledged belief? The language Paul uses leads me to believe it's probably the first, but having never grown up in a pantheistic society, i have no idea how hard these ideas are to throw off. Perhaps our b&s in the caribbean or Africa could help there. Anyone got any info? Many versions certainly hint in v7 that environment has something to do with this problem. Hence my reasons in asking for a modern day analogy. (Evangelion, i'll get to your response later, but if you've got a more positive example in the meantime, that would also be helpful, since beliefs are more easily defined from both directions)

(Note: i'm glad you separated fellowship and salvation issue. I'm not convinced the two are strictly the same, although sometimes they will definitely overlap)

but that would require you to argue that Paul was relegating what Christ called 'The greatest commandment' to the level of a mere conscience issue.


Firstly, the greatest commandment defined: Matt 22:37 - "You shall love the Lord you God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind."

I believe you have committed a logical fallacy of some description here, (Phil cackles maniacally, brandishing his new tool like a true amateur, injuring all who come near... thanks Skeptic :D ) although i'm not sure which (and is quickly deflated in his misguided enthusiasm :blush: ). You make the assertion that to admit a belief in something other than God is to therefore NOT love him with all our power. However, the first doesn't of necessity imply the second. Christ clearly acknowledged the presence of another will inside himself, and yet this did not stop him from loving his father with everything he had. Admitting the presence of another power does not preclude one from chosing to reject it and choose a different path with wholeheartedness.

I'll have to take you through the Greek grammar here.


is it really necessary? No amount of greek grammar can destroy the context of a passage to that degree, surely? Enough greek grammar can cast such a net of obfuscation that the sense of the argument is totally lost, along with the will to participate. I'm not encouraging ignorance, but please don't just think the hitting me with big stick of greek knowledge will make much difference...

I think i might leave it at that now... i've truly asked for it, haven't i? be gentle... :blink:

#6 Evangelion

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 09:26 AM

Phil -

Not convinced that the words of Allon Maxwell are necessarily as relevant to this discussion as they are to the other one, and also being influenced by my increasing selfish desire to cease my self-appointed task of reformatting the posts of others (  ), i've decided not to repost them. Evangelion can do so if he feels it strictly necessary!!


Here's why they're relevant, Phil:
  • Anyone who wants to claim that "demons", "evil spirits" and "the devil" literally exist as personal, supernatural beings, must necessarily explain where they came from.
  • The standard line of argument is the "fallen angels" hypothesis.
  • However, as I have shown (and as Maxwell has confirmed) this argument simply will not stand.
  • This means that the problem of origins has yet to be solved.
Now, some people might like to take Maxwell's path, and state (quite honestly) that they have absolutely no idea, that the Bible simply doesn't tell us, and that they're not going to run the risk of formulating a hypothesis which might not even be correct. (Especially when there's so little raw material to work with.)

But as Maxwell himself has pointed out, this still doesn't get us anywhere. It merely begs a whole string of questions which remain unanswered to this very day. :blink:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#7 Evangelion

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 09:40 AM

This brings us back to the other issue - the question of implications.
  • If it was possible to prove the literal existence of "demons", "evil spirits" and "the devil" without descending into doctrinal chaos, we might actually have something here.
  • Maxwell believes that this is possible - but only just! - which is why he takes the "Don't know; don't really care" road.
  • I don't believe it that this is possible at all.
  • But instead of taking the "Don't know; don't really care" road, I actually refuse to believe in "demons", "evil spirits" and "the devil" because there is no way of reconciling such a belief with (a) my current set of doctrines, (b) the solid mass of Biblical evidence upon which my current set of doctrines is so firmly built, and © the very poor (and largely circumstantial) evidence in favour of the "demons/evil spirits/devil" theology.
One of the greatest sticking points is this "small gods" thing.

The Bible categorically denies the existence of daimonion, and yet there were people who believed in them. The Greeks thought that Jesus was being preached to them as a daimonion, and yet Paul takes care to say that they don't really exist.

IMHO, there are serious logical problems here which have yet to be resolved by anyone who professes such a belief. :cool:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#8 Grace

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Posted 09 March 2003 - 09:35 PM

But Evangelion,

Anyone who wants to claim that "demons", "evil spirits" and "the devil" literally exist as personal, supernatural beings, must necessarily explain where they came from.


The question that comes to my mind, is that we don't know where angels come from, as we are not told. So do we then assume that angels don't literally exist?

#9 Evangelion

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 01:23 AM

Grace -

The question that comes to my mind, is that we don't know where angels come from, as we are not told. So do we then assume that angels don't literally exist?


No, we need not assume any such thing.

You see, it's actually a very different case with angels, because:
  • Angels were seen on a regular basis.
  • The existence of angels does not present any logical, rational or doctrinal problems.
The first point is highly significant, because nobody can tell me what a "demon" looks like. I have yet to meet anyone who's actually seen one or been present when it was supposed to be doing its thing.

The second point is equally significant, because although we are not told where angels came from, we can at least arrive at a few hypotheses which are perfectly compatible with what we already know about (a) God, and (b) angels themselves.


This is not true in the case of "demons." :)
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#10 Fortigurn

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 03:12 AM

Hi Phil,

I take full responsibility for you being confused with my argument, and I take further responsibility for not clearing it up in this post. ^_^

There are two reasons for this:

1) It's easier to make short posts than long posts. :D

2) I prefer the reader to do the work - it's called thinking - instead of spelling it all out and putitng it on a plate for them (witness my work on the Jephthah thread, to which I intend to return eventually).

You're confused because you don't see that the wisdom in verse 8 is the wisdom in verse 4. You think I've changed my tune. In fact, I haven't.

The problem is that not once in that post did you even mention verse 4.


No, the problem is that you don't see that verse 7 is connected to verse 4.

I'll give it to you very simply here:

1 Corinthians 8:4-8

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

 For though there be that are called gods,
 whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him;
 and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

So the knowledge our weak brethren need to understand is that meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.


What is important to note here is that the existence of gods other than Yahweh is not the issue. No one has a problem with that - that there is only one God, 'we know', and that an idol is nothing in the world, 'we know'. Despite that, the idol is still an issue to some - which is why Paul has to deal with 'meat offered to idols'.

Firstly, the greatest commandment defined: Matt 22:37 - "You shall love the Lord you God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind."


Nope:

Mark 12:
29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.


No amount of greek grammar can destroy the context of a passage to that degree, surely?


I've shown you very simply what I mean, above.

If you want another example, have a look at this:

1 Corinthians 11:
13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.  

16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.


What does verse 16 refer to?

#11 Phil

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 08:30 PM

Fortigurn, apologies for not responding to this one for a while, i thought there were a few other things more pressing to wade into, and you were quite busy elsewhere!

I take full responsibility for you being confused with my argument, and I take further responsibility for not clearing it up in this post.


nothing like a bit of defeatism to start things off. :lol:

1) It's easier to make short posts than long posts.


Yay... you may have noticed i have a similar theory... repitition really does get us nowhere (which is why i probably won't respond to this any more after this post, unless something new comes into it).

Apologies for the length of this one - it was necessary to clear up all the misunderstandings which seem so prevalent. Rest assured that unless some new material is brought into the discussion, and my original question addressed, i have no intention of continuing to repeat myself.

2) I prefer the reader to do the work - it's called thinking - instead of spelling it all out and putitng it on a plate for them


Believe me, as a Maths and CompSci tutor at uni, i am in total agreeance. There are those who end up doing the work for the student - i call that bad teaching, because the student learns nothing more than how to spunge off others.

You're confused because you don't see that the wisdom in verse 8 is the wisdom in verse 4


Not strictly true. I'm confused because i can see that the wisdom Paul offers in verse 8 is not precisely equivalent to the knowledge in verse 4, whereas you seem unable to make that distinction. It is only one small subset (ew, the more i post on here, the more mathematical terminology i start using!! :smart: ), a part of the greater whole. The knowledge Paul speaks of in verse 4, if thought about properly, gives rise to that which he reveals in verse 8. Verse 7 supports this, when Paul explains that the reason people's consciences were affected upon eating the meat was because they had not yet fully grasped the "knowledge" he was speaking about earlier. As you quoted:

v 7: Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol


Facts are, you contradicted me when i said the knowledge was that contained in verse 4-6, and effectively said "actually, the knowledge referred to in verse 7 is that contained in verse 8". The post after, you said you had "quoted" the knowledge in verse 4. You did no such thing, you didn't even mention verse 4. I've pointed out this contradiction, and you have flatly denied it. I provided you with the evidence of this in my last post, which you totally ignored. This is not conducive to effective discussion. :angry: "You don't understand" followed by a contradictory statement, doesn't fool anyone.

Moving on:

No, the problem is that you don't see that verse 7 is connected to verse 4.


Surely you must be joking here? :oh: My argument is based on that connection - i recall spending significant energy trying to demonstrate this point to you. Observe:

Unfortunately, to assert that verse 8 is the 'knowledge' Paul was speaking about in verse 7, is stretching the text. You can quote all the versions you want, since they all say exactly the same thing, but none of them help your case because it totally ignores the preceding verses:
<dir>v1:we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
v2:And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
v4-6:we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
</dir>
It is these verses which are directly followed by: Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge:
It doesn't matter which of those versions you wish to quote, all of them except the CEV connects verse 7 with the preceding verses with either a 'but' or a 'however'. The 'knowledge' Paul speaks about in verse 7 can ONLY be the knowledge revealed in verse 4.


What is important to note here is that the existence of gods other than Yahweh is not the issue. No one has a problem with that -


No one has a problem with that????? Fort, if no one had a problem with that, Paul wouldn't have started off the chapter saying "knowledge" this, "knowledge" that, "we know" this, and "we know" that, and then immediately followed it up with "but not everyone does." The 'we' is contextually obviously talking about Paul and those who were in the position of not having the problem...

...and that an idol is nothing in the world, 'we know'. Despite that, the idol is still an issue to some - which is why Paul has to deal with 'meat offered to idols'.


Gurny, if the idols were "nothing in the world" to everyone, then it couldn't be "still an issue to some". Paul quite clearly says that "not all have that knowledge". You highlighted the wrong sections of the quote. "As concerning the eating of meats offered to idols" is not a piece of knowledge, it is simply Paul introducing the topic. And in introducing the topic, Paul is attempting to educate the Corinthians, who couldn't understand the problems their b&s had that the problem went deeper than simply "meats offered to idols". That was nothing more than an outward manifestation of a mental struggle. When Paul starts a clause with "we know" and then three verses of knowledge later refers to "not all have that knowledge", he is talking about the same piece of knowledge. It really can't be any plainer. :eye:

Firstly, the greatest commandment defined: Matt 22:37 - "You shall love the Lord you God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind."


Nope:

Mark 12:
29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.


Whatever... you asked for the "greatest commandment" so i gave you the greatest commandment. It still doesn't address the issue - to acknowledge the existance of something else does not require you to devote any energy towards it...

Besides which, you still haven't dealt with the 1 Cor 8 passage contextually.

If you want another example, have a look at this:

1 Corinthians 11:
13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 

16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.


What does verse 16 refer to?


I must say, i'm struggling to work out the relevance of this. I cor 11 isn't by any means the passage under discussion, nor does it bear any relationship to the topic. I think i remember making some comment about this (in support of you) on EE a while back. Unfortunately, my computer is in another city, so i don't have a copy. Any idea what i said then?

Anyway, i'd appreciate it if you didn't go bringing in other arguments until you've dealt with my current ones. So far, you've done nothing other than state self-contradictory counter-assertions without providing support, and made no attempt to rebutt my argument, other than saying what amounts to "you're wrong". Until you do so, i'll just continue with some of the other threads... :whistle:

Edited by Phil, 29 August 2003 - 04:36 PM.


#12 Evangelion

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 11:35 PM

Phil -

The knowledge Paul speaks of in verse 4, if thought about properly, gives rise to that which he reveals in verse 8. Verse 7 supports this, when Paul explains that the reason people's consciences were affected upon eating the meat was because they had not yet fully grasped the "knowledge" he was speaking about earlier.


You appear to be arguing that verses 7-8 leave an opening for sharing fellowship with those who believe in the "gods" behind the sacrifices. (Please do correct me if I'm wrong.) And yet, it is not just belief to which Paul refers, but also a mere vestige of superstitious association.

As I see it, there are two classes of people here:
  • Those who do still believe in the "gods" behind the idols (in which case they should not be in fellowship.)
  • Those who do not believe in the existence of the "gods", but still feel defiled by any association with the food which is offered to them. (Of course, there is no basis for feeling this way, as the apostle Paul informs us - but here he makes allowance for the weak conscience.)
I therefore argue that the problem with the Corinthian ecclesia was twofold:
  • There were people who had not been properly converted; they had not fully succeeded in leaving behind their pagan beliefs and traditions.
    The Corinthian ecclesia was foolishly indulging these people - a situation that Paul is keen to rectify.
  • There were people who - even though they had been properly converted - still wrestled with the pagan association of food offered to idols.
    The apostle Paul confirms that these people may be lost if their weak conscience is further eroded by those who can eat the food offered to idols without fear.
Standard authorities confirm that there are different shades of "belief" in this passage.

Thus A. T. Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament:
1Co 8:7 - Howbeit in all men there is not that knowledge (all' ouk en pasin hē gnōsis).
The knowledge (hē gnōsis) of which Paul is speaking. Knowledge has to overcome inheritance and environment, prejudice, fear, and many other hindrances.

Being used until now to the idol (tēi sunētheiāi heōs arti tou eidōlou).
Old word sunētheia from sunēthēs (sun, ēthos), accustomed to, like Latin consuetudo, intimacy. In N.T. only here and Joh_18:39; 1Co_11:16. It is the force of habit that still grips them when they eat such meat. They eat it “as an idol sacrifice” (hōs eidōlothuton), though they no longer believe in idols. The idol-taint clings in their minds to this meat.

This is the class of believers who did not believe in the "gods" behind the idols, but still felt tainted by the association.

Now Adam Clarke's Commentary:
1Co 8:7 - There is not in every man that knowledge -
This is spoken in reference to what is said, 1Co_8:4 : We know that an idol is nothing in the world; for some with a conscience of the idol, viz. that it is something, eat it - the flesh that was offered to the idol, as a thing thus offered, considering the feast as a sacred banquet, by which they have fellowship with the idol.

And their conscience being weak - not properly instructed in Divine things, is defiled - he performs what he does as an act of religious worship, and thus his conscience contracts guilt through this idolatry.

As in the commencement of Christianity, among the Jews that were converted, there were many found who incorporated the rites of the law with the principles of the Gospel; so, doubtless, among the Gentiles, there were several who did not at once throw aside all their idolatry or idolatrous notions, but preserved some of its more spiritual and imposing parts, and might think it necessary to mingle idolatrous feasts with the rites of Christianity; as the sacrament of the Lord’s supper was certainly considered as a feast upon a sacrifice, as I have proved in my Discourse on the Nature and Design of the Eucharist.

As the minds of many of these young Gentile converts could not, as yet, have been deeply endued with spiritual knowledge, they might incorporate these feasts, and confound their nature and properties.

We see a similar problem with the case of men who took their father's wives.

Thus:
I Corinthians 5:1-5.
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Does the Corinthian indulgence of this practice mean that Christians may be freely fellowshipped even if they pursue such a course? Not at all! Indeed, Paul insists that they must be expelled from the body if they continue in their sin. But the Corinthians were not taking action against fornication within the ecclesia, and so Paul rebukes them strongly, insisting that they must maintain the purity of the Christian life. There is no room for compromise here.

In the same way, he elaborates on the consequences of indulging those who believe in the "gods" behind the idols. What are these consequences?
I Corinthians 8:9-11.
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

The weak brother will perish if he continues in his erroneous belief. And why? Because he is still holding fast to false doctrine.

Remember - the principle belief of the Christians was the principle belief of the Jews: that there is only one God, who we worship.

Thus Albert Barnes (Notes on the Bible) in reference to I Corinthians 8:5 -
1Co 8:5 - That are called gods -
Gods so called. The pagans everywhere worshipped multitudes, and gave to them the name of gods.

Whether in heaven -
Residing in heaven, as a part of the gods were supposed to do. Perhaps, there may be allusion here to the sun, moon, and stars; but I rather suppose that reference is made to the celestial deities, or to those who were supposed to reside in heaven, though they were supposed occasionally to visit the earth, as Jupiter, Juno, Mercury, etc.

Or in earth -
Upon the earth; or that reigned particularly ever the earth, or sea, as Ceres, Neptune, etc. The ancient pagans worshipped some gods that were supposed to dwell in heaven; others that were supposed to reside on earth; and others that presided over the inferior regions, as Pluto, etc.

As there be gods many -
ώσπερ hōsper, etc. As there are, in fact, many which are so called or regarded. It is a fact that the pagans worship many whom they esteem to be gods, or whom they regard as such. This cannot be an admission of Paul that they were truly gods, and ought to he worshipped; but it is a declaration that they esteemed them to be such, or that a large number of imaginary beings were thus adored.

The emphasis should be placed on the word “many;” and the design of the parenthesis is, to show that the number of these that were worshipped was not a few, but was immense; and that they were in fact worshipped as gods, and allowed to have the influence over their minds and lives which they would have if they were real; that is, that the effect of this popular belief was to produce just as much fear, alarm, superstition, and corruption, as though these imaginary gods had a real existence.

So that though the more intelligent of the pagan put no confidence in them, yet the effect on the great mass was the same as if they had had a real existence, and exerted over them a real control.

And lords many -
(κύριοι πολλοὶ kurioi polloi). Those who had a “rule” over them; to whom they submitted themselves; and whose laws they obeyed. This name “lord” was often given to their idol gods. Thus, among the nations of Canaan their idols was called בּצל Ba‛al, (“Baal, or lord”), the tutelary god of the Phoenicians and Syrians; Jdg_8:33; Jdg_9:4, Jdg_9:46. It is used here with reference to the idols, and means that the laws which they were supposed to give in regard to their worship had control over the minds of their worshippers.

There is no room here for fellowship with individuals who profess a belief in any of the "gods" to which Paul now refers. Indeed, any suggestion of a plurality of gods (however these gods are defined) is ruled heretical by default. The early Christians insisted that no-one could be fellowshipped who continued to profess such a belief, just as they insisted that no-one could be fellowshipped who continued to commit fornication (or any other immoral act.)

Having established the context, Barnes goes on to provide an even-handed summary of the issue:
1Co 8:7 - Howbeit -
But. In the previous verses Paul had stated the argument of the Corinthians - that they all knew that an idol was nothing; that they worshipped but one God; and that there could be no danger of their falling into idolatry, even should they partake of the meat offered in sacrifice to idols.

Here he replies, that though this might be generally true, yet it was not universally; for that some were ignorant on this subject, and supposed that an idol had a real existence, and that to partake of that meat would be to confirm them in their superstition. The inference therefore is, that on their account they should abstain; see 1Co_8:11-13.

There is not ... -
There are some who are weak and ignorant; who have still remains of pagan opinions and superstitious feelings.

That knowledge -
That there is but one God; and that an idol is nothing.

For some with conscience of the idol -
From conscientious regard to the idol; believing that an idol god has a real existence; and that his favor should be sought, and his wrath be deprecated. It is not to be supposed that converted people would regard idols as the only God; but they might suppose that they were intermediate beings, good or bad angels, and that it was proper to seek their favor or avert their wrath.

We are to bear in mind that the pagan were exceedingly ignorant; and that their former notions and superstitious feelings about the gods whom their fathers worshipped, and whom they had adored, would not soon leave them even on their conversion to Christianity. This is just one instance, like thousands, in which former erroneous opinions, prejudices, or superstitious views may influence those who are truly converted to God, and greatly mar and disfigure the beauty and symmetry of their religious character.

Eat it as a thing ... -
As offered to an idol who was entitled to adoration; or as having a right to their homage. They supposed that some invisible spirit was present with the idol; and that his favor should be sought, or his wrath averted by sacrifice.

And their conscience being weak -
Being unenlightened on this subject; and being too weak to withstand the temptation in such a case. Not having a conscience sufficiently clear and strong to enable them to resist the temptation; to overcome all their former prejudices and superstitious feelings; and to act in an independent manner, as if an idol were nothing. Or their conscience was morbidly sensitive and delicate on this subject, they might be disposed to do right, and yet not have sufficient knowledge to convince them that an idol was nothing, and that they ought not to regard it.

Is defiled -
Polluted; contaminated. By thus countenancing idolatry he is led into sin, and contracts guilt that will give him pain when his conscience becomes more enlightened; 1Co_8:11, 1Co_8:13. From superstitious reverence of the idol, he might think that he was doing right; but the effect would be to lead him to conformity to idol worship that would defile his conscience, pollute his mind, and ultimately produce the deep and painful conviction of guilt.

The general reply, therefore, of Paul to the first argument in favor of partaking of the meat offered in sacrifice to idols is, that all Christians have not full knowledge on the subject; and that to partake of that might lead them into the sin of idolatry, and corrupt and destroy their souls.

Regardless of how these "gods" were defined in the minds of the weak, the apostle Paul is insistent:
  • That such a belief will ultimately result in confusion and guilt.
  • That such a belief will result in personal condemnation.
For this reason, he argues forcefully against such a belief, and requests his brethren to be patient with those whose conscience is weak.

By contrast, those who profess false doctrine (such as a literal belief in the "gods" here referred to) cannot be permitted to remain in the body.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#13 Phil

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 12:18 AM

Evangelion... thanks for the response. I should let you know that i've just edited my previous post and finished it off... i thought it would be best not to leave two separate posts in the one thought process, given that i was writing them live.

By the way, what is going on with the quotes? It seems to be totally arbitrary whether they work or not!! panic, panic.

You appear to be arguing that verses 7-8 leave an opening for sharing fellowship with those who believe in the "gods" behind the sacrifices. (Please do correct me if I'm wrong.)


Ok... i can see where that misunderstanding has arisen, and i was hoping it wouldn't. I'm not trying to argue a case for "open fellowship" here. Personally, i think the practice is probably the most dangerous thing facing Christadelphia today... And i certainly don't believe that my arguments here have suggested such a thing (i hope noone thinks that anyway). But rather than read that belief into the text, i'm trying to work out what it actually SAYS. Let's establish what it contains first, and then worry about how it applies to today. Initially, i thought it was plain as day, which is why i asked the question, but it seems not... :huh:

This specific case does seem to involve a certain amount of latitude given to those for whom verse 4-6 and the eating of meat offered to idols still caused a level of confusion. As you pointed out from Robertson's work, verse 7 mentions a "force of habit" that was involved. I tried to make it clear right from the start that i was assuming environmental factors and indoctrination as a prerequisite for these people.

(might i add at this point that renowned scholars are still subject to the same forces of bias and indoctrination as the rest of us, and therefore cannot necessarily be conclusive on matters involved ambiguity)

Note then the Robertson does not attempt to define the knowledge (at least not in the quote you gave). He simply says that knowledge has to overcome indoctrination. Fair enough, i totally agree... "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" doesn't allow any level of personal complacency. (However, it doesn't imply the need for perfection, only the need for us to strive toward it.)

As I see it, there are two classes of people here:

  • Those who do still believe in the "gods" behind the idols (in which case they should not be in fellowship.)
  • Those who do not believe in the existence of the "gods", but still feel defiled by any association with the food which is offered to them. (Of course, there is no basis for feeling this way, as the apostle Paul informs us - but here he makes allowance for the weak conscience.)


I don't believe Paul makes this distinction here, and i'd need you to supply the evidence from the passage. :)

We see a similar problem with the case of men who took their father's wives.


Um, we certainly see a problem there, but i fail to see how it's similar. That passage specifically talks about disfellowshipping, 1 Cor 8 doesn't. The weak brother, continuing in this practice, would perish simply because that was the inevitable direction his belief would take him. How could continually doing something you believed was wrong have any other consequence? Nowhere is disfellowshipping mentioned.

Albert Barnes' quotes didn't say anything of great note, to be honest. Of course Paul didn't believe in any of the false "gods", he said it quite plainly beforehand, and i've never suggested anything otherwise. It seems strange that you highlighted that section.

(from Barnes) and that they were in fact worshipped as gods, and allowed to have the influence over their minds and lives which they would have if they were real; that is, that the effect of this popular belief was to produce just as much fear, alarm, superstition, and corruption, as though these imaginary gods had a real existence.


Another statement of the obvious which amounts to simply "the populace believed them to be real".

(from Barnes) ...though the more intelligent of the pagan put no confidence in them


Irrelevant. Intelligence wise, the Christian community would have been a fairly normal cross-section of the community.

(from Barnes) There is not ... -
There are some who are weak and ignorant; who have still remains of pagan opinions and superstitious feelings.

That knowledge -
That there is but one God; and that an idol is nothing.

For some with conscience of the idol -
From conscientious regard to the idol; believing that an idol god has a real existence; and that his favor should be sought, and his wrath be deprecated. It is not to be supposed that converted people would regard idols as the only God; but they might suppose that they were intermediate beings, good or bad angels, and that it was proper to seek their favor or avert their wrath.

We are to bear in mind that the pagan were exceedingly ignorant; and that their former notions and superstitious feelings about the gods whom their fathers worshipped, and whom they had adored, would not soon leave them even on their conversion to Christianity. This is just one instance, like thousands, in which former erroneous opinions, prejudices, or superstitious views may influence those who are truly converted to God, and greatly mar and disfigure the beauty and symmetry of their religious character.


I must say i'm baffled as to why you quoted this section. Is it supposed to be rebuttal?? It's exactly what i've been trying to say all along. Do you disagree with me and agree with Barnes? Do you not think Barnes went far enough?

Regardless of how these "gods" were defined in the minds of the weak, the apostle Paul is insistent:

  • That such a belief will ultimately result in confusion and guilt.
  • That such a belief will result in personal condemnation.


While it is clear the context supports this, the second is qualified. Only those who act AGAINST their conscience in this matter would receive the personal condemnation:
v 10-11: For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

For this reason, he argues forcefully against such a belief, and requests his brethren to be patient with those whose conscience is weak.


Indeed.

By contrast, those who profess false doctrine (such as a literal belief in the "gods" here referred to) cannot be permitted to remain in the body.


Again, i'm not sure any of these would have been "professing" this belief, as such. Paul never says that they were, he simply argues that their knowledge wasn't perfect, providing their reticence to engage in perfectly harmless meat-eating as evidence. As for disfellowshipping, i don't believe it's even mentioned in the passage, and i'll need to see evidence.

thanks

Phil

#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 01:02 AM

Hi Phil,

I'm confused because i can see that the wisdom Paul offers in verse 8 is not precisely equivalent to the knowledge in verse 4, whereas you seem unable to make that distinction.


Some of it is, and some of it isn't. That's my point.

The knowledge Paul speaks of in verse 4, if thought about properly, gives rise to that which he reveals in verse 8.


Agreed - the first knowledge, not the second.

Facts are, you contradicted me when i said the knowledge was that contained in verse 4-6, and effectively said "actually, the knowledge referred to in verse 7 is that contained in verse 8". The post after, you said you had "quoted" the knowledge in verse 4.d.


Fact is, the knowledge I'm referring to is in verse 4, verse 7, and verse 8. But there is knowledge in verse 4 which you did think was the issue - I disagreed with you that the knowledge in verse 4 to which you referred was the issue.

I pointed to verse 8 to try and illustrate to you just which knowledge in verse 4 I think is the issue.

You seem to think that I'm contradicting myself, because you don't appear to realise that I recognise two sets of knowledge in verse 4. One is the issue, the other is not.

The one which is the issue is dealt with in verses 7 and 8.

And that's my point. ^_^

Whatever... you asked for the "greatest commandment" so i gave you the greatest commandment. It still doesn't address the issue - to acknowledge the existance of something else does not require you to devote any energy towards it...


I was trying to point out that the greatest commandment directly addresses the issue of one God. That was the point of that.

I must say, i'm struggling to work out the relevance of this. I cor 11 isn't by any means the passage under discussion, nor does it bear any relationship to the topic.


It does. I pointed out why I was using that example. I was using that example to illustrate my argument in 1 Corinthians 8 that a verse which is in direct proximity to another does not necessarily relate to that verse. A verse which precedes another is not necessarily its context.

It would have taken a bit of Greek, and a boring grammar lesson to explain that usually, but I preferred to use a simpler example. That example in 1 Corinthians 11 is perfect.
It shows that the immediate proximity of a verse is not necessarily the context.

#15 Phil

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 01:18 AM

Whoops... i've gotta get out of the habit of editing old posts.

Guys, two of my old posts there were edited and possibly posted AFTER you responded. Just letting you know. But i probably won't reply again until tomorrow anyway.

Phil

#16 Fortigurn

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 01:22 AM

No probs. ^_^

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 03:20 AM

Uh .. Phil, may I comment on your Avatar?

When was the last time your hair saw a pair of scissors? :wacko:

#18 Phil

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 09:17 PM

When was the last time your hair saw a pair of scissors?  


I can't help it!! it just grows and grows... plus i've heard the girls like it... :blush:

ahh.... so far from real life. It's long gone, cut off years hence.

He wanders off in a mist of nostalgia...

#19 Fortigurn

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 09:22 PM

:thumbsup:

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 03:13 AM

I can't help it!! it just grows and grows... plus i've heard the girls like it...


Yes, the Samson type can be rather appealing I suppose ;)




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