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Defending the Faith: Original languages can shed light on scriptures

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  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    March 19, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    @sharrona

    “Let us make man in ‘Our Image’ image and likeness …”(Genesis 1:26)“So God created man in His “OWN(spiritual) Image” male and female…(Genesis 1:27) If there were more than one God it would read in “their image.” The Trinity in the O.T.”

    This seems like a discussion going on with a group so “us” is appropriate it certainly would not be “their”

    If it is the trinity, then the word “Us” identifies it as separate entities and that does not support historical Christianity’s teaching of the Trinity.

    “No one has ever seen God; the only God, *WHO IS at the Father’s side, he has made him known.(John 1:18 ESV)”

    Quite the contrary:

    Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
    And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. Ex 24:9-11

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    March 19, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson,

    Your treatment of these three passages is rather simplistic and inaccurate.

    You wrote, "In other words, the apostasy is already coming, and, when the apostles are removed, will proceed unrestrained." Nowhere in the passage does it say who the restrainer is, and yet you make the assertion that the singular one who restrains is the plural apostles. This is purely ungrounded assertion. Tell me, who is the lawless one, the man of sin, who was to be revealed after the apostles were removed? How was it that Jesus didn't return and put an end to him, as the text states he would?

    On 1 Cor 15:29, I would agree that whether the pronouns are 3rd person or 1st person really is irrelevant to the interpretation of the passage. The LDS understanding can be refuted in other ways. Nevertheless, the 3rd person is inherent to the participle ("the ones who are being baptized") even if there is no explicit pronoun. The scientist is certainly correct that your Greek is a little lacking.

    I would be careful about so easily discarding the LXX. Jesus and the apostles often quote from it, including in Hebrews 2:7. Check it.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 18, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    @ Verdad: "Hebrew Idioms" like, "he's my right hand man." In the Hebrew this idiom denotes power and strength.
    N.T. … Stephen saw "the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:55, 56
    DEXIOS. indicates relationship and is translated Idiomatically into "right hand". (kheir, 5495) which literally translates to "hand" does not appear in any of the references to the "right hand of God" ...

    Re: zoar63, Job 1:6,the “sons of God” in the OT is taken to refer to angels. They are not actually “sons” of Elohim; the “idiom“is a poetic way of describing their nature and relationship to God. The phrase indicates their supernatural nature, and their submission to God as the sovereign Lord. It may be classified as a genitive that expresses how individuals belong to a certain class or type.

    Jeremiah 1:5 is not referring to the pre-existence of man butr the foreknowledge of God. Before Jeremiah was born ,God knew he would become a Prophet.

    …..the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Romans( 4:17 NIV)

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 18, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    Verdad,

    It appears nothing I can squeeze into this little box will convince you.

    C'est la vie.

    As for Peterson's Greek, I have spoken with him at various times, and I know his CV. You will just have to trust me that he is not a Greek expert.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    March 18, 2013 5:01 p.m.

    @sharrona

    Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jer 1:5

    Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:5-7

    Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. Job 1:6

    How is it that God knew Jeremiah before he was born and if no spirits existed in heaven with god who are these sons? That the book of Job references?

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    March 18, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    "The Scientist":

    I've read through Peterson's article again, and I can't see any MENTION of 2 Peter 1:4.

    And, by the way, what do you actually know about his training (or lack of training) in Greek?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 16, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    First, let me say unequivocally that I have zero expertise in Greek (ancient or modern) but I do have a computer and can access the various translations online.

    I checked 2 Peter 1:4 in a comparison page - the first five I checked (including the NIV) all say “divine nature”.

    So some expert in translation somewhere agrees with Dr. Petersen and the KJV.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 16, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    RE: Red Headed Stranger, Be ye perfect,."Matt.5:48”
    Christ sets up the high ideal of love(see vv 43-47 )which is God’s standard for us.

    Let us make man in ‘Our Image’ image and likeness …”(Genesis 1:26)“So God created man in His “OWN(spiritual) Image” male and female…(Genesis 1:27) If there were more than one God it would read in “their image.” The Trinity in the O.T.

    No one has ever seen God; the only God, *WHO IS at the Father’s side, he has made him known.(John 1:18 ESV)
    *WHO IS=( G. ὁ ὤν/The one Being) occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5, but more significantly in the LXX of Exod 3:14. Like(John 1:1),In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Trinity in the N.T..

    RE: Verdad, I would love to see the powerful arguments based on Greek idioms VS Peterson. OK,no room for now.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 16, 2013 12:53 a.m.

    Verdad,

    I am willing and able. Petition the DN Editorial Staff to allow my comments through. They continue to reject most of my submissions.

    Peterson's expertise is NOT in Greek. Mine is. Consider the common argument that mankind can become "like god" ("theosis"), and typical citation of 2Peter1:4

    Peterson and others are led astray by the King James translation. In this verse, Peter is saying that the knowledge of (intimate experience with) Jesus Christ creates "promises" (Greek characters not allowed), which is better translated "promise-effects", or in other words, "fulfilled promises gratuitously/freely given".

    These "fulfilled promises" refer to the incarnation of God promised by all the prophets, literally fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ walking among humankind.

    Thus, rather than "partakers of the divine nature", the Greek phrase and idiom is better translated "ye are able to become communioners/participants with the divine" -- NOT because humans become divine, but because the divine has freely condescended among humans, establishing the "communion" in which we participate.

    Hence, "partakers of the divine nature" is NOT justification for the Mormon doctrine of theosis, which completely misses the clear meaning of "communion" and "condescension" that Orthodox Christians commonly understand.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    March 15, 2013 11:30 p.m.

    @Florwood:

    "The act of baptism for the dead as practiced in the LDS church presents an opportunity, but is not a forcing. No person this has been done for is required to acknowledge or accept the ordinance."

    How do you know this? Do they speak to you and tell you this?

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    March 15, 2013 9:15 p.m.

    Personally, I would love to see the powerful arguments based on Greek idioms that "The Scientist" thinks blow Peterson out of the water.

    And I would also like to learn more about the conspiracy that, "The Scientist" seems to suggest, has barred him from revealing these arguments to the world.

  • Fred W. Anson Lake Forest, CA
    March 15, 2013 9:02 p.m.

    I really think that Professor Peterson is onto something here!

    Why stop with the Bible? I think that we should apply his methodology to the rest of LdS Scripture as well: The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price (the Book of Abraham in particular), even the Joseph Smith Translation.

    I see that we go back to the oldest and best original language manuscripts and compare the original Reformed Egyptian, Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic to what our modern English translations say!

    Who's with me?

  • Fred W. Anson Lake Forest, CA
    March 15, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    I really think that Professor Peterson is onto something here!

    Why stop with the Bible? I think that we should apply his methodology to the rest of LdS Scripture as well: The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price (the Book of Abraham in particular), even the Joseph Smith Translation.

    I see that we go back to the oldest and best original language manuscripts and compare the original Reformed Egyptian, Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic to what our modern English translations say!

    Who's with me?

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    March 15, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    @Red Headed Stranger:

    "we are the offspring of God ..." (Acts 17:29), ONLY by ADOPTION thru Jesus Christ, as Paul notes in his other writings. You are wresting and mutilating one scripture and ignoring Paul's other writings. This in no way means we are the result of God and His Eternal Mother in Heaven Goddess Wife begetting children as the LDS erroneously believe.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    March 15, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    I always thought it was strange, given the context of Paul's appeal in that portion of his letter to the Corinthian saints, that anyone would try to claim Paul would cite a false practice of some misguided religionists to support his defense of the resurrection. Beyond using baptism for the dead to support the doctrine of resurrection, the context actually shows Paul is supportive of the practice, because what Paul is doing in those verses is citing things the saints ARE DOING that would be worthless without the reality of the resurrection.

    He already affirms that the resurrected Christ was seen of many, including himself, when he wonders "how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (verse 12) Then, he lists a number of things that would all be in vain if resurrection is not real: our preaching is in vain, our faith is in vain, baptism for the dead is in vain, putting ourselves in peril for the sake of the gospel is in vain.

    It's nice to see also from the Greek text that there really is no reason to get hung up on the word "they" in I Corinthians 15:29.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 15, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    JoeBlow,

    No. No animosity. This was just a general comment that religions should try to keep it civil (as I think we all should anyway).

    Reference Catholicism - I find the citation interesting. I can just say that I have known several folks re-baptized as Catholics. Their background was clearly Trinitarian. Not an argument, just an observation.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    Twin,

    I found this under "a guide to catholic baptism"

    "Baptizing someone twice is not necessary so long as the person was baptized using the Trinitarian formula described above. Some churches do not use the Trinitarian formula and therefore their baptisms are not valid and one would need to baptized again. It is not a sin to be baptized twice, but one need not be baptized twice in most cases."

    I hope you do not feel that I am exhibiting "animosity" as that is not my intent.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 15, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    JoeBlow,

    I can tell you that someone close to me was raised a protestant had to be re-baptized as a Catholic.

    I think being a good person is great. But religion is not simply about being a better person (though that should be a significant result) but also about our relationship with God.

    I love the Church. I believe it to be what it purports to be – the primitive church restored in our day. Do others believe their church to be true – I think so (though it may be a bit different depending on denomination). But none of this excuses animosity.

    BTW, I think God cares where you go every day.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    Twin,

    First, let me say that I would certainly consider the LDS to be Christian. But, as you say, that really boils down to ones definition.

    I do not think that most of the Christian faiths find it necessary to re-baptize those who went thru Christian Baptisms previously. I believe that the Catholics do recognize other baptisms from what they consider to be other "Christian" faiths and see no need for a redo.

    That said, many may not recognize LDS baptisms, but that may be because of their classification of "Christian"

    Personally, if there is a God, I cannot imagine that he or she cares much one way or the other.

    I think the ole "my church is more right/true/correct than yours" demeans religion in general and causes much more problems than religion solves.

    I look at it this way. Be a good person, parent, neighbor. If you feel that church makes you better at it, go for it. But I highly doubt that "God" really cares which building you go in on Sunday, (or Saturday)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 15, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    Strider303,

    Me neither. Nor do I understand the burning desire to comment negatively about a religion to which I do not belong.

    JoeBlow,

    The issue of the Christianity of the LDS is not that we proclaim ourselves to be “like all the others” but that we are in fact Christian. When I was younger, the term Christian was a broad descriptor of nearly any who accepted and followed Christ. Now, particular denominations want to be able to define the term so as to exclude groups with whom they disagree (the LDS among those sought to be excluded) and to essentially redefine the term in their own image.

    Are we different? Sure. Do we make particular claims of authority and doctrine? Yes (though other Christian denominations do as well).

    Would LDS baptism be recognized by other Christian denominations that require it? Does Catholicism recognize any other denomination’s baptism?

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 15, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    I have noted one thing, OK maybe more than one, that is almost for certain, and it is a lot of comments to whatever Dr. Peterson writes. I accept his comments as reasoned and food for thought. I am not forced nor obliged to accept them as from the burning bush (apologies to whoever spoke that phrase in "The Great Santini") but I do note that many who write in opposition seem to be exercised and angry or at least upset with his opinion. Why the high blood pressure? The article is an opinion piece, written to enlarge the understanding of the reader. I take it for that and as I read I weigh other information on the subject(s) he and others write to form a consensus that continues to evolve. I have heard Dr. Peterson speak several times and find him engaging, humorous and knowledgeable. I, for one, look forward to reading or listening to him every chance I get, and the detractors? Not so much.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 4:43 a.m.

    "He loves his family, tries to be a good person, and then dies without meeting a duly-authorized representative of Christ, or really even hears of Christ. Is he condemned to Hell? "

    Red. When you write "duly-authorized representative of Christ" , don't you really mean someone of the LDS faith?

    There are many many people who are "born of water" that the LDS feel the need to re-baptize.

    Kind of hard on one hand to be "Christian, like all the others" while not acknowledging the baptism of the others as valid.

    I never understood that.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    March 14, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    Michigander

    Now for your willful exclusion of the doctrine of Baptism for the Dead that Paul clearly taught. Jesus taught "Except a man be born of water … he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John 3:5 So, to enter heaven, you must be baptized. So, let's talk about the "North Korean" problem. Let's say that a good man is born in North Korean. He loves his family, tries to be a good person, and then dies without meeting a duly-authorized representative of Christ, or really even hears of Christ. Is he condemned to Hell? What of all the people who never heard of Christ and then die. Are they condemned to hell? No kind, loving, just and non-capricious Father in Heaven would do that. Where in your theology does the poor soul in North Korea end up?

    Baptism for the dead does not negate free will. If the person in this life rejects Christ (as Christ is the true judge) then Baptism for the dead will not save him. If someone on the other side chooses to not accept Baptism, then it isn't forced on them. Talk to real Mormons for real Mormon doctrine.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    March 14, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    Michigander wrote "What if all these deceased people don't want to be baptized? Do you force them to do so against their own will?"

    The act of baptism for the dead as practiced in the LDS church presents an opportunity, but is not a forcing. No person this has been done for is required to acknowledge or accept the ordinance.

    This wasn't your main point, but at least now you can rest easier.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 14, 2013 10:33 p.m.

    Red Headed Stranger

    If they would post my refutations, my assertions would be demonstrated.

    Alas, it is apparently not "faith promoting".

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    March 14, 2013 10:29 p.m.

    Michigander

    "This article is nothing more than the author's wresting/corruption of some beautifully correct KJV scriptures to support the two LDS false doctrines noted. His revisionist translation is far from correct because the interpretation (becoming Gods, . . . contradicts the other scriptures in the KJV Bible.

    Really? Let's take Theosis then from the KJV:

    we are the offspring of God: Acts 17:29 .

    So, if we are the offspring of God, and we are made in Their likeness, (KJV says "our" image) then why do you say we can't grow up to be like Him especially because Paul says that we are

    "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ": Rom. 8:17 .

    Huh, doesn't that mean that we inherit what God and especially Christ has? Wait, here is Paul again saying that we can be heirs of God.

    "if a son, then an heir of God through Christ:" Gal. 4:7 .

    And when Paul and Christ say that we are to be perfect
    "unto a perfect man": Eph. 4:13 and Christ on the Sermon of the Mount says we are to "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."Matt.5:48

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    March 14, 2013 9:49 p.m.

    The Scientist
    "As one who grew up studying the Bible in the original Greek, I can assure you Peterson's translations are off"

    Well clearly you must be right. As someone who is clearly a man or woman of "science", and without clear documentation of you qualifications, nor evidence of a specific misinterpretation on Dr. Peterson's part (who professionally trains translators of ancient languages) then I should whole-heartedly and without reservation believe you. I don't know why Dr. Peterson even bothered to write his article because you so skillfully refuted all of his assertions in a two sentence reply. Because, you as "The Scientist" just know. Well played, sir.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 14, 2013 7:47 p.m.

    RE: The article, But there is no “they” in the Greek of the passage. Context,

    Else what shall they=(poieo G 4160) do which=(**oi) are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are [they] then baptized for the dead?(1 Cor 15:29). **oi,(the ones)=Nominative plural article. Also condemned by early church councils.

    RE: Michigander,Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father [*JEHOVAH]. He came forth out of and is in the bosom of the Father per John chapter 1.

    “No one has ever seen God. “The only one”,[*YHWH] himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father ,[google*YHWH], has made God known. (John 1:18 NET Bible 2006 supported by, 2nd Century Papyrus 66. Plus earlier and better Manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

    RE: George Thomas, check Strong’s concordance or Thayer’s Greek to English Lexicon(dictionary).

    ye might be partakers=(G.2844,koinōnos or communion/sharer)of the divine nature…(2 Peter 1:4)or…that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph (3:19).

  • Hospitality SPRINGVILLE, UT
    March 14, 2013 7:43 p.m.

    I find Daniel Peterson's information to be right on: In other words, man can become like God, knowing good from evil; and proxy baptism provides the opportunity for salvation to those who lived without ever knowing of it, if they choose to accept it. We existed before we were born: why is something that rings so true to my ears, so hard to be understood by others?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 14, 2013 5:38 p.m.

    "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." As one who served as a missionary in an Asian country, I can tell you much is often lost in the translation.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 14, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    As one who grew up studying the Bible in the original Greek, I can assure you Peterson's translations are off. He lacks the cultural knowledge necessary to accurately translate many Greek idiomatic expressions.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    March 14, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    @sharrona:

    Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father [JEHOVAH]. He came forth out of and is in the bosom of the Father per John chapter 1. Except for Adam and Eve, our first parents, the souls or spirits of all men and women who ever lived on the earth were created by the hand of the Father and the Son in the womb at conception. Even the angels of God (both holy and fallen) were created by the hand of the Father and the Son before Adam was created on the earth - both body and soul. That is why Jesus Christ is so special and unique, because He alone had a pre-mortal existance. We are the sons and daughters of God by ADOPTION thru Christ Jesus.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    March 14, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    This article is nothing more than the author's wresting/corruption of some beautifully correct KJV scriptures to support the two LDS false doctrines noted. His revisionist translation is far from correct because the interpretation (becoming Gods, baptism for the dead) contradicts the other scriptures in the KJV Bible.

    In eternity (the new heaven and the new earth) there will be only God the Eternal Father (JEHOVAH) and his eternal sons and eternal daughters, and the holy angels. Also, one must work out his or her OWN salvation with fear and trembling (per KJV and BoM). One can NOT work out THEIR salvation as the erroneous practice of baptism for the dead vainly attempts to do.

    What if all these deceased people don't want to be baptized? Do you force them to do so against their own will?

  • George Thomas Mankato, MN
    March 14, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    As a convert of 25 or so years and a former theology student in a protestant faith working towards ordination before I joined the church, this is the one subject that I still struggle with after all of these years.

    I am sometimes dumbfounded by some members’ lack of understanding of the Bible and the importance of the Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes I say “Jesus didn’t say that” when someone quotes an oft misunderstood passage. The puzzled look I get is usually followed by: “He was not speaking English when he said that . . . the Greek translation reveals . . .”

    It would behoove us to delve a little deeper into our scriptures and seek these things out. It is a great idea to study the bible with a concordance and lexicon sitting beside us.

    Our footnotes are absolutely wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it would be impossible for the church to put every single Greek or Hebrew reference in our scriptural footnotes, we need to study it out for ourselves.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 14, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    RE:Original languages can shed light on scriptures. The article makes a good case for Biblical Hermeneutics and modern translations.

    @ Psalm 8:5 You have made them a little lower than the “angels”/Elohim and crowned them with glory and honor.
    Let the N.T. interpret the O.T.. Hebrews 2:7, You made them a little lower than the “angels”; you crowned them with glory and honor.

    @ONLY BEGOTTEN. Mormons believe all humans were spiritually begotten by the Father before creation, "Only Begotten" is understood as being limited to mortality.

    Although this word is often translated “only begotten,” such a translation is misleading, since in English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship. The word(monogenes) means “one-of-a-kind”. All Christians are children of God but Jesus is God’s Son in a unique, one-of-a-kind sense. The word is used in this way in John (1:14, 1:18, 3:16, and 3:18).

    For God loved the world: He gave his “one and only Son”…(John 3:16 NET,NIV).

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    March 14, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    The word translated as "day" in the Genesis story of the creation is originally more like "time" or "period" in Hebrew, so young-earth creationists can't even appeal to the scriptures for their mistaken idea.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 14, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    All the words in the world can not change the fact that actions speak louder than words.