Page 9 of 10

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:11 am
by Ishtar
kbs2244 wrote:Well. You may read the story of Balaam and Job that way, but it sure is not the accepted view when you take the whole context into view.

Yes, it's quite amazing what a different conclusion you can come to when you just read the words on the page and have no-one to tell you what they should mean. :wink:



PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:13 am
by Minimalist
"For the serpent was wiser than any of the animals that were in Paradise."

I finally broke down and bought Ken Humphreys' book (it's much easier to follow that the web site which virtually invites you to click on links and get off track.) Anyway, in it he has sections on various Gnostic groups among whom are the Ophites.

"Best know for his role in the Garden of Eden, the snake was actually revered by an early (and long-lived) Christian cult - the esoteric Ophites.

The Ophites evolved in Egypt during the 2nd century AD ad existed for several centuries afterwards. The name derived from the Greek 'ophis', meaning "serpent" and relates to the great reverence which the Ophites had toward the serpent, a reverence inherited from traditional Egyptian religion, and which passed into Greek myhtology in the stories surrounding Asclepios, the god of healing."

We then go through a bit about healing and stuff and then he concludes:

....for the Ophites, Yahweh, the Jewish god of the Old Testament, was a misanthropic deity, the 'Demiurge' who had ensnared man in a physical body and from whose power mankind had to be liberated. The cult continued as late as the 9th century.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:52 am
by kbs2244
With the word “serpent” in Genesis we are talking about an accepted view by the Hebrew readers of a poisonous and not to be trusted animal.
Just because it was “wise” did not mean it was to be trusted.
A more accurate, currently used word may be “cunning.”
So the use of a snake to get across the idea of a slippery, not to be trusted, person who likes to stay out of sight, and strike at the unwary, was an easy decision.
The fact that it painted one of the Egyptian gods in a bad light may have been part of the decision also.

This opinion, in this culture, long predates the Ophites, who openly took their view of the animal from the Egyptians, not the OT.
As a religion, I would have to take a strong opinion that they were far from “Christian.”
They may have jumped on a popular bandwagon, and like Ish’s Gnostics, adopted some of the added on stuff of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, but they were a long way from the teaching of the basic books.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:08 pm
by kbs2244

You said:
“In the next mention of Satan in the OT, he is an obstructing angel - not obstructing or resisting God, but obstructing the road so that Balaam's ass doesn't take the wrong direction. In other words, his obstruction was to be helpful and nothing to do with resisting God or God's will. In fact, it was God's will that Satan obstruct Balaam's ass. This is all in the book of Numbers”

That just didn’t sound right to me and so you made me go back and read the Balaam story.
It takes up Numbers Chaps 22-23-24.
It was not “Satan” but “an angel of God” that blocked the way.
(It is true some translations use the word “resist” in this passage. But not in the sense of “The Resistor.”)
And this blocking was to prevent him from doing something he wasn’t supposed to do.
The King of Moab was trying to get him to curse the Israelites.
And the angel was trying to keep him from doing so.
When Balaam finally got to the king, the words God put in his mouth were a blessing on the Israelites, not the curse he was paid to do.
The king of Moab was a bit upset with the whole episode.

In Job he is hardly an “advisor.”
“Complainer” might be a better word.
His basic argument was that Job was such a loyal worshiper of God because it paid well for him to be.
Job was a very rich man.
Satan, in effect, bet God that if he was allowed to be able to take away Job’s material things (and his family) he would “curse God.”
When, after making him a beggar, that didn't work Satan raised the ante and said “But he is still a healthy man. Let me make him sick.”
God said “Just don’t kill him.”
Of course, he passed that test as well
But, you want an allegory?
The point of the whole story is that some people will love and continue to worship God no matter what their current circumstances.
And then, of course, God will reward them in the end.

An interesting sidelight in this story is that Job is not a Hebrew.
Some Bible readers put the time frame of the story at the same time as when the Jews were spending 40 years in the desert.
But he is just a "man in the land of UZ."
That would put him from the same general area as Abraham came from, but not a descendant of his.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:02 pm
by Ishtar
Numbers gives us the first mention of "the satan". 'The satan' starts off in the OT as a role, an adversarial role, and not a particular person.'Stn' is the root word for 'obstruct' and, according to Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton, the text goes like this: "and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road as his satan (le-satan-lo]."

So that's where the word Satan comes from.

As with Job, this 'testing' by the gods is a common theme in mythology. The human has to pass many tests throughout his life. The planet most associated by astrologers with these testing periods of our lives is Saturn, and in many respects the Jewish obstructive satan has several of the qualities attributed to Saturn.

Any astrologer will tell you that if you have Saturn passing through your sign, you will face difficulties. You will feel obstructed, and nothing you do will amount to anything. Sometimes you will feel heavy and weighed down, as if you're wearing lead boots. Interestingly, lead is the metal most associated with Saturn.

However, just like in the Balaam story, these obstructions and testing periods are supposed to be good for us ... even though they don't feel like much fun at the time. But they are considered to be the fire that tempers the sword of our character, that makes us who we are.

So although Satan/Saturn gave Job a hard time, in the end, he won through. That, to me, is what that story is about and it requires us to take a grown up view.

A child might think that a lion is bad or evil because it bites off the head of a giraffe. When we get older, we realise that that's what lions do ... the same with 'the satan' or Saturn. In obstructing or testing us, he is not being evil. He is just doing his job. And he renounced all ideas about being popular long ago. :D

He may even have been the original main god of the Hebrews, before Yahweh, not least given that their SAbbath day is Saturday, or Saturn's day, and one of the names for God is SAbbaoth. Satan is certainly revered by the Kabbalists who claim they practise the original Jewish religion. Saturnus was also a Roman god.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:35 pm
by Ishtar
kbs2244 wrote:Min:
With the word “serpent” in Genesis we are talking about an accepted view by the Hebrew readers of a poisonous and not to be trusted animal.
Just because it was “wise” did not mean it was to be trusted.
A more accurate, currently used word may be “cunning.”
So the use of a snake to get across the idea of a slippery, not to be trusted, person who likes to stay out of sight, and strike at the unwary, was an easy decision.
The fact that it painted one of the Egyptian gods in a bad light may have been part of the decision also.

Given that the Serpent Cult was practised worldwide for thousands of years before the Bible was written, it is highly likely that the Garden of Eden Genesis story somehow got mixed up in translation at some stage. The serpent in every cultures' mythology was deemed wise - so why should the Hebrews be any different when they were a product of their times, and not separate or in isolation to it?

As with the lion biting off the head of the giraffe in the previous post, just because an animal is capable of killing (whether with poison or anything else) doesn't make it evil. Animals are predatory and so they kill. It's a fact of life. It's what they've been put on earth to do. They don't do it to be evil. We are the only ones that kill with hatred in our hearts.

The root words associated with the serpent cult were OPH or OPS (SOPHia), CAD (CADaceus) and ABR, with RAM as 'lord'. Therefore, the Hebrews' greatest patriarch, ABRAM, was lord of serpents. In the Christian religion, there is GABRiEL, the serpent god (EL) impregnator of Mary.

So they were alluding to the serpent in their allegories as 'a good thing' - or certainly not evil or cunning, anyway.

BTW - here's a bit of fun. Do you remember as a child, if you wanted to pretend to do a magic trick, you would say 'Abracadabra'?

Well, if you break the word down into its component parts, you get: ABR A CAD ABR A. Serpent magic! :D


PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:03 pm
by Ishtar
I just remembered, Patti did a very good post on this from her Jewish perspective a while back and I hope she doesn't mind if I copy and paste it here:

Quick correction, Ish. Jews do not have Original Sin. That is purely a Christian invention. Adam and Eve were forgiven for eating the fruit of Knowledge and God (using the serpent) wanted them to gain this knowledge. He used the snake to see if he made their free will strong enough to make choices. Jews have no stain upon their souls and detest the Christian interpretation that god did not forgive Adam and Eve and consider humanity cursed with sin. Christians needed this interpretation in order to need a Savior.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:11 pm
by Minimalist
Just because it was “wise” did not mean it was to be trusted.

That's how I feel about Bush.....except for the "wise" part.


PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:00 pm
by kbs2244

“his satan”
Lower case “s”
Not “The Satan”
You have to get into Hebrew grammar (the use of the definite article HA) but that is what translators do.

To avoid this kind of misunderstanding, is why the use of the word “satan” (meaning resister) has fallen out of favor in translating these accounts.
1 Samuel 29:4 ; 2 Samuel 19:22 ; 1 Kings 5:4 and others are cases where this Hebrew word has been translated as “resister” instead of “satan”

Of course, we don’t know what word was used in the oral and unnamed written histories that Moses based the Pentateuch on.
But, I believe, in the Bible the first use of the word as a title (with the HA) is in Job 1:6
Job was written by Moses, so the concept of a person with that description or title would have been in use all through Jewish history.
It was also used in Zechariah 3:1 some time later.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:59 pm
by Ishtar
KB, I don't want to get into a theology debate here.

This really is 'angels dancing on the head of a pin' stuff, except that in this case, it's 'fallen angels'.

Theology is matter for the head, whereas shamanism is a matter of the heart.

This conversation began because I said that I believed that the scriptures were made up of allegories about laws regarding what we now call 'science', and were not meant to be read as accounts of real-life demons or devils or satans, who in my experience don't exist.

However, you believe differently, and I respect that. We could argue this point forever and never convince each other and just end up with massive migraines. So let's leave it here. Please. :)


PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:38 pm
by kbs2244


How do we get back to boats?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:31 pm
by john
kbs2244 wrote:Amen.


How do we get back to boats?

kbs224 -


Rather than the whole Judeo/Christian

Whizbang Hysterical Bullshit BananaRama.

Simply talk about boats.

After all, they are physical

They float, they sink,


After all, they are metaphysical

And they float and they sink,


And then, the thing about boats, from both

The Builders and Users thereof,

Is that the physical and metaphysical aspects

Are indistinguishable

From either entity.

A boat is a boat is a boat.


Remember that we are a cognitive beast, also.

The best ever description of a boat is

Cradled in the Tao te Ching.

I'll take a boat over


Any day.

hoka hey


Tao te Ching or The Way

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:48 am
by Ishtar
john wrote:
The best ever description of a boat is

Cradled in the Tao te Ching.

I'll take a boat over


Any day.

hoka hey


38. Ritual

Well established hierarchies are not easily uprooted;
Closely held beliefs are not easily released;
So ritual enthrals generation after generation.

Harmony does not care for harmony, and so is naturally attained;
But ritual is intent upon harmony, and so can not attain it.

Harmony neither acts nor reasons;
Love acts, but without reason;
Justice acts to serve reason;
But ritual acts to enforce reason.

When the Way is lost, there remains harmony;
When harmony is lost, there remains love;
When love is lost, there remains justice;
And when justice is lost, there remains ritual.

Ritual is the end of compassion and honesty,
The beginning of confusion;
Belief is a colourful hope or fear,
The beginning of folly.

The sage goes by harmony, not by hope;
He dwells in the fruit, not the flower;
He accepts substance, and ignores abstraction.


65. Subtlety

The ancients did not seek to rule people with knowledge,
But to help them become natural.
It is difficult for knowledgeable people to become natural.

To use law to control a nation weakens the nation.
But to use nature to control a nation strengthens the nation.

Understanding these two paths is understanding subtlety;
Subtlety runs deep, ranges wide,
Resolves confusion and preserves peace.


80. Utopia

Let your community be small, with only a few people;
Keep tools in abundance, but do not depend upon them;
Appreciate your life and be content with your home;
Sail boats and ride horses, but don't go too far;
Keep weapons and armour, but do not employ them;
Let everyone read and write,
Eat well and make beautiful things.

Live peacefully and delight in your own society;
Dwell within cock-crow of your neighbours,
But maintain your independence from them.


78. Yielding

Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water,
Yet nothing can better overcome the hard and strong,
For they can neither control nor do away with it.

The soft overcomes the hard,
The yielding overcomes the strong;
Every person knows this,
But no one can practice it.

Who attends to the people would control the land and grain;
Who attends to the state would control the whole world;
Truth is easily hidden by rhetoric.



PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:00 am
by kbs2244
Why do we refer to boats as "she?"

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:11 am
by Ishtar
kbs2244 wrote:Why do we refer to boats as "she?"

Because she carries men - uncomplainingly - to where they need to go, despite the fact that they walk all over her.