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Nature of Reality, Will the Real YHWH Please Step Forward, 13) How to Kill a living God

Updated on January 27, 2015

Christianity and syncretization

We evangelicals have long accused the Roman Catholic Church of syncretizing with other beliefs (you can check that out elsewhere), and stated from my half century in Evangelical churches that they don’t think syncretism, the blending of two different beliefs, is the right thing to do because it waters down the gospel, and many if not most believe, or claim to believe the phrase from the Reformation, Sola Scriptura, only the Scriptures. Here the reformation was right. Only the scriptures have any correct statements about the God of the Bible whom we have been referring to for simplicity and clarity as YHWH.

But could we syncretize Christianity, say, with a new religion I have just formed, Lincolnism (the belief the statue of Lincoln is god)? Well, let’s see. Let’s compare the two side by side:

Comparing YHW to the Lincoln Statue, Crazy, I know.

Lincoln Statue
Acting in time
No, impassionate, no emotions
Yes, passionate, both positive and negative emotions
Why, yes, man shaped him, and could again change his appearance. Recently someone splatted paint on him.
Yes, responds to man, positive and negative, even gives you If/Then statements
Yes, he learns about men and the choices we make, and responds to the new information
No, well, almost immovable, fixed to the ground
Yes, Mt. Sinai, Egypt, Jerusalem, etc.
Yes, the incarnation is the greatest possible change
Change mind?
No, no mind to change
Yes, he even repents, regrets, etc.
Compare the Lincoln Statue to the God of the Bible. This is a mental exercise in comparison of characteristics displayed and observed.

Surprise the Lincoln Statue is not YHWH

So, Lincoln really doesn’t share anything significant with YHWH, but then if you are going to syncretize, there needs to be some differences and then in a Hegelian sense we synthesize the differences to come up with a synthetic answer. To syncretize you really can’t think of antithesis, that is, it is either true or false, this way or that. Rather you need to compromise your belief and synthesize a new one by just thinking about how to blend the two to come up with a third answer.

So, what is it about YHWH we are willing to give up to make this work and synthesize an artificial god for our syncretized belief system?

Do you object to this?

Oh, well, then let’s see if we can synthesize Lincolnism with Zeus, specifically Platonic or Neoplatonic beliefs:

Zeus vs Lincoln Statue, Washington D.C.

Not really
Acting in Time
No, Timeless, cannot act
No, Timeless, cannot act
No, impassionate, no emotions
No, impassionate, no emotions
No, unmoved, not to worry, didn't really exist
Why, yes, man shaped him, and could again change his appearance. Recently someone splatted paint on him.
No, immovable, the "unmoved mover" that, according to speculative philosophers, was needed to start everything else moving. Yep, absurd.
No, well, almost immovable, he was moved into place in three large pieces.
No, immutable
No, well almost immutable, very slowly changing over time
Change mind?

Lincoln is not a deity

That does fit better, does it not? Very little needs to change about Lincoln to syncretize my Lincolnism with Neoplatonism, it is nearly a perfect fit.

Ah! But Lincoln is not a deity.

Two Different Types of Deity

We have seen two very different types of deity. YHWH, the living being who moves, changes, responds, becomes angry, is filled with emotions including love for people, anger when they do wrong, and so on, and the Greek ultimate Being from Plato who does not change in any manner whatsoever, doesn’t move, and so is inanimate, had no emotions, can’t feel, isn’t concerned, and literally, can’t lift a finger to help mankind.

We also have two locations, Greece and Israel. Can we syncretize them?

Let’s lay these two side by side and see how that compare:

Zeus or YHWH?

Not really
Acting in Time?
No, Timeless, cannot act
Yes, can and does, long history of acting in time
No, impassionate, no emotions
Yes, passionate, both positive and negative emotions
No, unmoved.
Yes, responds to man, moves from location to location, especially the second member
Learning?Change of Mind?
Yes, repents, regrets, etc.
No, immovable
Yes, Mt. Sinai, Egypt, Jerusalem, etc.
Which characteristics match your thinking about God? So, which are you going to worship?

Not much to say here, they want photos

Which is it?

So here we see that YHWH is nothing at all like Zeus. In fact, quite the antithesis.

What would we expect? One comes from the Bible, the Inspired Word of God, a revelation of YHWH to his people, and those he hopes to make his people. The other came from Greek Speculative Philosophers who had no knowledge of the living God at all. They simply guessed about him.

There were out gunned.

In fact, if you syncretize the two beliefs, as with the mummy, or the executed prisoner, you end up removing all living aspects of YHWH. You replace him with a Geek god, a dead, inanimate false god.

But this is exactly what western theology has done.

Now I have place the blame on the larger general group, where I have been blaming the Evangelicals who merely inherited the belief in this dead god from Catholicism and have never reexamined the beliefs because they are comfortable with the dead god of Augustine and Plato. He sounds so big, but like Lincoln, yes, he is large, but he is inanimate, you have killed YHWH and replaced him with a dead mummy of a god that is clearly not from the Bible.

YHWH Cannot Die

Of course, YHWH cannot die, but most churches today replace him with a false Greek god and use the name YHWH (God) and claim it is the God of the Bible. As you can see, it isn’t the same at all.

“But isn’t this a simple replacement, and not an admixture?” you ask.

Yes, in one sense it is, but first the pastor goes to theology school and learns of a dead god, he is inanimate, impassionate, immovable, untouched by our needs and desires, and nothing at all about him can change. Sound familiar? If not, see Zeus above, you will recognize him, but, I suspect, you have already recognized him. This may have simper names applied, but the characteristics are purely Greek gods.

Then when we get into church and the pastor or priest start preaching they feel the need, without thinking of theology, to talk as if they were talking about the true God, and suddenly we have a God that is compassionate, loving, caring, and we ask him through our prayers to move and change things, and, some of us believe he can.

Cemeteryians, or Semitarians? Who worships a dead god?

There is the admixture, somewhere between seminary (sometimes called “semitary”) and the person in the pew the admixture appears and suddenly we have God back.

However, this is grossly incoherent, it cannot be both ways. Risking redundancy let me lay out the rules of logic as they apply here, and, let’s only use one characteristic: Emotions. Remember this is the term “impassible,” having no passions, pain, suffering, incapable of feelings. Technically, linguistically, the antonym or opposite word is Impassioned, but also, passionate, emotional, demonstrative or fervent can be used.

Basic Rules of Logic

So you don’t need to refer to them, here they are:

1) The Law of Identity: “A = A” (Read this, “A equals A”)

2) The Law of Non-Contradiction: “A ≠ Non-A” (Read this, A does not equal non-A.” In other words, this is not something else.)

3) The Law of Excluded Middle: “A ν Non-A” (where the Greek letter nu, ν stands for "either, or" so, read this, “Either A or non-A.” In other words, you can’t have both A and non-A at the same time and in the same manner. You can’t have it both ways.)

4) Rational Inference (words strung together have inference beyond actual meaning, for instance, the antithesis, or opposite is false, so “the sky is blue” infers that the sky is not red.)

Apply them thusly with each of the characteristics, here, impassionate: A=A either God is Impassioned or he is not (i.e. he is impassionate).

A ≠ Non-A, Impassioned is not the same as impassible.

A ν Non-A, he might be impassioned or impassible, but he cannot be both.

Rational Inference: The Bible, as we have seen, states clearly that God is impassioned, in fact at one point killing most living things because he was angry and he repented that he had made man. (Sorry, raised on KJV, “repent” means to turn around, NIV uses “relented” instead.)

So how was this Greek mask affixed onto YHWH?

The title above is the point of this entire series of articles. Who put this mask of false dead gods onto YHWH, that I refer to as killing God or Killing YHWH?

There are many excuses. Some are name calling (ad hominem) in one manner or another, that is the theologian calls you stupid in one manner or another, perhaps a simpleton because you didn’t go to seminary, semitary, whatever.

But I can read the Bible, and I can see the extreme number of emotions God displays, and that he changes his mind more than forty times in the Bible.

“Well, these are anthropomorphisms so man can understand more about god but they are not real.” This is the same, somehow humans are not credited with the ability to understand the simplest of concepts. But we can understand these concepts of they are said of the Greek gods, how is it that we can understand those, but not the exact concepts of they are about the true and living God?

How is it that God is unable to communicate adequately with man, whom he made in his image, and communicate in a loving relationship with him?

I have heard this absurd excuse for more than forty years.

When this doesn’t work, then it becomes a mystery that none of us can understand. How then did you manage to put your mysterious belief into words?

This is a logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam, an argument from ignorance.

Thanks anyway but the Bible is quite easy to understand, so where did the mystery come from? If it isn’t in the Bible, where did this mystery come from? It is merely a lame excuse to continue to hang onto a belief that is not at all from the Bible.

Being Fair

I am picking on the Evangelicals because that is how I was raised, the belief system is what I am most familiar with, and the people who ought to know better, and claim to know better.

My church Curricula Vita starts from year 1-10 in a Presbyterian church, in fact, the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego firmly Calvinist.

We then went to an independent Baptist church called Scott Memorial Baptist, Pastor Tim LaHaye (Google him, lots of Amazon references, moral majority, etc al.), softly Calvinist. He left the church, but not in good hands. I was invited not to come back because they could not deal with rational thinking, they want people who don’t think.

Sorry, I.Q. in the 99th percentile, that doesn’t work for me.

We left there, not by choice, because I resisted the idea that Calvin was correct, that everything is preset and cannot be changed. I had the gall to ask if this was true.

I was invited to leave by the new pastor J.J. who would not even talk to me because I questioned things. Little did we know he was sleeping with his secretary at the time, she was our Sunday School teacher’s wife. He destroyed several families, and finally took someone else’s wife again. He still works there.

What matters in that type of system is compliance, not character.

Questions are Dangerous Things in Church.

Questions are dangerous, and so are the people willing to ask them.

From there we went to a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Nice group of people, not so sure they know absolutely everything, and so actually consider different ideas based in scripture.

When we moved we attended a Southern Baptist church, also, not so sure they know absolutely everything, and so, you could actually check the Bible out to see if you were right, and different people could come to different conclusions.

Finally back to Baptist General Conference church where you were less encouraged to ask serious questions.

It was during this time that I was asked to join the Adjunct Faculty at San Diego State University College of Sciences (2005-2010)

Lastly, to The Rock Church where we attended and taught small classes for several years then I started and ran the apologetics ministry for five years.

They joined a crazy cult which things lots of people are prophets, that is, hear directly from God.

Different Strokes

In each church I found people who correctly integrated their theology with reason. One unfortunate lady stated clearly and logically, “If God knows everything that will happen in the future, then why are we praying? God won’t change anything.”

She had followed her theology to a correct and logical conclusion; inanimate things don’t and can’t change, and, if God knows everything that will happen in the future, then nothing can change that, so why pray?

Did I ask Lincoln to change something when I visited it (the statue)? Of course not. Inanimate things can’t change anything.

However, this same inanimate god is believed by Jews, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, so let’s be far about this, shall we? (I may refer to this group as thusly: the “Evangelicals, et al.”)

The flip side is, I am not accusing any of them of not being Christian, they are, they just have the wrong model of God, they got their information from the wrong source.

God is trying to save as many people as possible with his ultimate sacrifice. My argument is that this would work better if we had the true model God, YHWH, presents of himself (he ought to know). Less people would be repulsed by the real God than by Zeus dressed up to be “Christian.”

Keep reading.

Unwinding God

If there is a pure form of Christianity and if, say, at the Reformation or any other period, you realize the Roman Catholic Church syncretized it’s beliefs on one location (this is well understood), and you want to return to a purely Judeo-Christian viewpoint you need to ask yourself when was the first time that church syncretized with foreign gods, which is the repeated warning given by YHWH, and then, how do you unwind those errors made?

Fortunately we have already discovered the answer. We revert our thinking, we conform our thinking to exclude all ideas that do not come from the scriptures, and we include all things that do come from the scriptures (recognizing, of course, that there are logical analogies used in scripture about God).

Some 1700 years ago, before the reformation, the Roman Catholic Church, at its very formation syncretized itself with the then current Roman Church. This can easily be seen in the term Pontifex Maximus used of many high political persons holding the office of High Priest of the College of Pontiffs where he was elected by the other Pontiffs (sound familiar?) for five hundred years before it was mixed with Christian beliefs, and which term carried directly into the early Roman Catholic Church later to be changed to “Bishop” both for the lower Pontiffs and the highest Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, i.e. the Pope.

Ah! But wait! The title “Pope” is also pre-Christian. Remember, this means “father,” and can be found as far back as Homer’s writings used in that manner, but used by Rome also.

This is used to illustrate the complete syncretism of the Roman religion with Christianity.

Pre-Christian Rome

The pre-Christian Roman religion was already a syncretism of Greek gods, most notably the son of Zeus, Apollo, but mixed with other ancient gods to appease all the peoples under Rome as much as could be expected. In fact, the term Pontiff originated in the earlier terms meaning “bridge builder.”

But the Roman gods were primarily adaptations of the Greek gods, and Greek philosophy and architecture were copied by Rome, when not actually removed from Greece and moved to Rome.

Rome became the succession to all things Greek including, and most important for our discussion, Neo-Platonism and their ideas of a grandiose all-encompassing highest deity. In the Olympian gods this was Apollo who became the oracle god, bit to the philosophers, looking to dehumanize this being, it became the ultimate Form of Good in Platonic thought, and evolved from there.

To reconcile Aristotelian with Neo-Plutonian philosophy, Plotinus metaphorically identified the demiurge (or nous, creative force) within the pantheon of the Greek Gods as Zeus. Earlier I combined all of these poorly done attempts at becoming monistic (one god) using the name of Zeus to represent all those concepts the Greeks did not quite complete, and blamed Plato who furthered the concepts started earlier and then slowly melded into Roman thought.

However, here the question is, how do we unwind YHWH from these false Greco-Roman gods all of which are man’s attempts to define the gods they wanted.

YHWH is not like that. He is a distinct person with objective values that we simply cannot know until and unless he reveals himself to mankind.

My argument is that he did just that and most Western peoples have that revelation sitting on their shelf.

In one sense then, unwinding YHWH is as simple as reading the Bible to see what it tells us about him. The difficulty is that we already have a fundamental preconception about the gods inherited from the Greeks, et al. and which we continually conform the Bible to. We instruct the Bible as opposed to allowing the Bible to instruct us.

© 2015 Ronald A Newcomb


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