Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Humanity of the First Adam

By Eusebio Tanicala

When we talk about the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ it would help much our comprehension if we go back to the description of the First Adam’s humanity. Please don’t ever think of your sinful, corrupted humanity and compare it with that of Christ’s. It wouldn’t work.

Adam, the husband of Eve in Paradise is called the First Adam. Jesus Christ who was born to the Virgin Mary is called the Second Adam. See 1 Cor 15:47. The First Adam in his period of innocence should be the humanity that we compare with Christ’s  humanity.

Anu-ano ang mga katangian ni Adam na asawa ni Eva in the period of innocence?

First, he was made of dust from the ground perhaps moistened with some water so a wet clay lump was formed – now there was a lifeless clay lump on the ground in the Garden of Eden.

Second, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. What are the elements in this breath of life that God imparted on to the clay lump? There’s biological life.  General biology branches into (a) botany which is plant life, and (b) zoology which is animal life. The best scientists today could not create life, could not infuse life into a lifeless branch and lifeless lump of flesh. So God gave zoological life into the clay lump with the different human sense organs.

Another aspect in Adam given by God when He breathed into his nostrils are the spirit and soul. These are not present in the lower forms of animals kagaya ng baka, manok o aso. Spirit and soul ang nagbibigay ng self consciousness, reason, sense of beauty, morality, conscience and consciousness of the presence of God as well as a desire to worship a creator. This is the image of God in Adam that is mentioned in Genesis. A spark of deity was communicated into the First Adam, the husband of Eve.

Third, this First Adam in the Garden of Eden was innocent, he was without sin. Adam at this stage did not know sin. Adam at this stage did not commit any sin. He was conscious of his God. He was conscious of the commandments of God. He wanted to please God. He had the free will to obey God.  This was the humanity of Jesus: innocent, without sin, growing, suffering, put under trial, victorious.

This humanity of the First Adam, uncorrupted and undefiled, is the first stage of the Ideal Humanity. It didn’t know disobedience and didn’t know sin. This is the humanity that could have lived close to a thousand years.  Adam lived 930 years; Seth lived 807 years; Enosh lived 815 years; Cainan 910 years; Mahaleel 895 years; Jared 962 years; Methuselah 969 years. See Genesis 5.

If Adam and Eve could have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life, that innocent humanity could have made the human flesh into an incorruptible flesh. This is a logical conclusion from the biblical records. How? We don’t know.

In this period of innocence we are not aware of any description of supernatural power and knowledge in Adam. Potency and omniscience could have come later in later years. Promotion could have come if Adam proved obedient and respectful of God his Creator. This idea is derived from Philippians 2:1-11. Christ as Man was exalted after he has been tried and tested. After a period of trial, Christ as Man was promoted even higher than the level of angels. Christ endured the sufferings put upon him says Hebrews 5:8. Man becoming higher than angels? That’s possible based on the wordings of 1Cor. 6:3.

Was it possible that the First Adam could have obeyed God just as the Second Adam was victorious in obeying God? Based on Bible information, it could have been possible. (We shall have a follow up article on this idea.)

Angels were demoted when they became disobedient during the probationary period says Jude 6 and 2Peter 2:4.  Humanity also degenerated because of disobedience. #

Advertisements

Some Heroes In Bible Translation

This is our third of a series about people who suffered because they strongly believed that there should be a widespread reading and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. We borrow this brief description of a man who died for the sake of making available the Bible to thousands of his people:

“WILLIAM TYNDALE SENT HIS BIBLES TO ENGLAND BY SMUGGLERS…where the bishops of London collected as many copies as possible and burned them in the street!  After ten years work in Germany, William Tyndale was betrayed and arrested. His crime: publishing a New Testament – the first in the English language. His punishment: in 1536 Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake. His last words were: ’Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.’” (New Life Through His Word, Junior Teacher Manual, 1990 published by the 20th Century Christian)

We could hardly imagine the inconsistency of the bishops and priests of the 16th century who were religious workers but considered it a crime and a sin to read the Bible. Where then did they get their idea about their religion? Where did they get the law of the church if not from the Bible? But to these religious leaders, it was a crime to know God’s commandments!

Thankfully, we have a WILLIAM TYNDALE who was willing to die so that Bibles could be distributed to the people. He prayed that a day would come when the King of England would no longer countenance the persecution by religious workers on those who love God’s words. After several decades, his prayer was answered. The King of England stayed the hands of the persecution that churchmen laid against those who promoted Bible reading. If it were not for men like William Tyndale, who knows, we would still be ignorant of the Bible today. We would not be able to say, “Back to the Bible” or would fail to say “Sola Scriptura.” # (7.10.10)

ELOHIM IS NOT NECESSARILY PLURAL IN NUMBER

ELOHIM IS NOT NECESSARILY PLURAL IN NUMBER

BY EUSEBIO A. TANICALA, PhD

Many Bible readers use the term Elohim to argue that the word proves the plurality of persons in the Holy Trinity. I have also heard some Bible College teachers doing the same. I believe that the argument that Elohim necessarily proves the plurality of persons in the Godhead is weak. My reasons are the following:

Reason #1. Elohim Is Applied to the True God and False Gods that Are Objects of Worship

The term Elohim is a generic name like the word Lord. When the word applies to the true God of the Judeo-Christian deity, the English translators agreed to make the first letter capital G. However, when it refers to tribal deities, the letter g is lower case. Also, the English translators agreed to make the form singular when Elohim applies to the Judea-Christian deity, but plural form when several tribal deities are meant in the text because our Judeo-Christian theology especially Deut. 6:4 insists on monotheism.

Elohim, if refers to a tribal deity, is rendered god (small g) in the singular form it there is only one deity meant.  These rules are not found in the Bible but were translators’ and grammarians’ rules.

Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, page 412, says that the word Elohim is translated “God, gods, and objects of worship” in the King James Version.  That deity could be the true God, an imagined deity, the moon, the sun, a deity represented by a wooden image, stone image or a sculpted image. Even tribal deities that are not believed composed of two or more personalities are called Elohim.

In Hebrew the singular form El (Mighty one) or Elah, or Eloah, if it refers to the Hebrew deity, it is translated God (capital G).

Since the term Elohim is applied to deities whether or not there is a perceived multiplicity of persona in that deity, it is not safe to conclude that the im ending refers a plural number.

Reason #2. Elohim Is also Applied to Kings, Judges, Leaders

In Psalms 82:1 the reading is Elohim. Literally it reads, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the Elohim.”  The second Elohim is translated “gods” in small letter g both in the KJV and NKJV. Psalms 82:6 reads, “I said, ‘You are Elohim, and all of you are children of the Most High.”  (KJV & NKJV)

The congregation referred to in verse 1 may refer to angels, Hebrew council of elders/leaders making sound judgments. It is safely speculated that even a single person who is a King, or a Judge or a high Leader is addressed Elohim without the idea of plurality of personality. Which is why even King David who is the type of the Messiah is Elohim in Psalm 45 and this is quoted in Hebrews 1:8.

Reason #3. Psalm 45:6-7, Two Elohim Mentioned in One Verse

“Your throne, O God (Elohim), is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God (Elohim), your God (Elohim), anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions.” (NKJV- Elohim is inserted by the writer)

The first Elohim is in the second person sometimes called nominative of address. On the other hand, the second (2x mentioned) is in the third person. Anti-typically, Psalm 45:6 should refer to King David. Since verse 5 is quoted in Hebrews 1:8 with Christ, the Son of God, as the anti-type or fulfillment, this first Elohim should refer to Christ prophetically and anti-typically. Now we ask, “Was King David a multiplicity of persons when this verse applied to him typically?” No, not a multiplicity of persons. “Was Christ a multiplicity of persons when this verse applied to him anti-typically?” No, not a multiplicity of deity personalities.

If it is insisted that the plural ending of Elohim demands a plurality (at least 2) of persons, it would mean that Psalm 454:6-7 would produce at least four (4) persons in the Godhead. But since four persons is unacceptable, it is only logical that plurality of persons in the Elohim be discarded.

Hinihiling ko sa mga teachers sa ating Bible Colleges na iwasan nang ituro na ang Elohim is a conclusive proof on the multiplicity of persons. Pati na ang mga matatandang preachers na nagsasabi na alam nilang lahat ng pasikut-sikot ng Biblia.

Reason #4. A Sidonian Goddess is Elohim

1 Kings 11:5, “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess (Elohim) of the Sidonians…”  and v. 33 reads, “because they have forsaken Me and worshipped the goddess (Elohim) of the Sidonians…” (NKJV, Elohim supplied by the writer) There’s no literature known that teaches a plurality of persons in this goddess (Elohim) of the Sidonians yet Elohim is her assigned name.

Reason #5. False Gods Are Called Elohim

We read this in 1 Kings 11:33, “because they have forsaken Me and worshipped…Chemosh the god (Elohim) of the Moabites, and Milcom the god (Elohim) of the people of Ammon…”

Judges 8:33 reads, “Baal-berrith their god (Elohim);” Judges 16:23, 24, “Dagon their god (Elohim);”  2 Kings 1:2, 16, “Inquire of Baalzebub the god (Elohim) of Ekron;”  2Kings 19:37, “…as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god (Elohim).” (NKJV, Elohim supplied)

Reason #6. Moses was an Elohim to Aaron & Pharoah

Exodus 7:1 reads, “And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘See I have made thee a god (Elohim) to Pharoah…” (KJV, Elohim supplied by the writer).  In referring to Aaron who served as Moses’ spokesman in Exodus 4:16 we read, “So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God (Elohim).” (NKJV, Elohim supplied)

In the case of Moses, his being called Elohim in his relationship with Aaron and of Pharoah should refer to his authority and power over both persons. There’s no idea about the plurality of persons in the persona of Moses.

Reason #7. The God (Elohim) Prepared for by John the Baptist Is Elohim

Isaiah 40:3 reads, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the LORD (Yahweh); make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Elohim).’”  When this prophecy was fulfilled as cited in Matt. 3:3; Mk 1:3; Luke 3:4-6 & John 1:23, it was Jesus Christ. So we argue that Jesus is called Yahweh and he is also called Elohim. But we don’t teach that Jesus has a plurality of persons.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion that this writer would like to impress upon the brethren is that the term Elohim should refer to dignity, authority, power, honor, respect. Not plurality of persons.

ILLUSTRATION

There are nouns and pronouns that are plural in form but not necessarily in number.

First, the noun “News.” It is plural in form because of the “s” ending but it could be either plural or singular. Every grammarian knows this.

Second, in Filipino and also among the Ilocanos, the pronoun “kayo” or “dakayo” is plural in form so it could refer to a plurality of the persons of the antecedents. But the plural form of the pronouns could be used to refer to a single person if the person addressed is one highly regarded by the speaker.  Elderly honorable persons, a town Mayor, and other higher officials in government are addressed with the plural form of the pronoun. So the plural form suggests the idea of honor, dignity, authority, and power of a person.

Comments and observations are welcomed.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN BUT NOBODY WANTS TO DIE

This past month of August, during the wake of Myra, one of those 42 passengers who died in a bus accident at Banangan along Quirino Highway, some fifteen kilometers away from Baguio City, I was asked to give a brief advice to the grieving relatives and I said:

“Last week I went to a Christian Bookstore and one book title attracted my attention. It says: ‘Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die.’ Death is entrance into Paradise. So it is on the instance of death that one who being in Christ could approach triumphantly the entrance door and knock to get inside. Myra, who you believe found and accepted Christ in her life, now knocks at the door of Paradise. Therefore, this is not a time to grieve. It should be a time of celebration.

“Paradise is more beautiful than Canada or Hawaii or London or Baguio. When a relative flies out into one of these countries we all celebrate and even give a send off party. Myra, we believe, is leaving you to fly out into a distant place. This event should therefore be a time to celebrate.”

© Eusebio Tanicala

THE WAITING HAS REVERSED

“A Christian wife and mother who lost her husband, tells of her experience with death. She says, ‘For years Ben would go off to work – and almost every day I would wait at the window for his return. When I saw him pull into the driveway in the evening I would rush out to meet him, and embrace him, and then arm in arm we would often go into the house together. We did that for many years.’ Now she says, ‘Since his death, things haven’t changed all that much.’ She says, ‘I used to wait for him to come home – now he’s in Paradise waiting for me to come home.’ To the Christian, Heaven is very real.”   (Quoted from Bible Helps Booklet No. 390 by Harold S. Martin) ©

The Shortest Sermon Ever Delivered by a Pinoy Preacher

Most recently, I was told of a preacher who was assigned one Sunday morning, stood up at the podium and delivered this sermon:

“A baby has enjoyed nine months in the protective womb of his mother and thought that it was the best place in the world so he refused to come out but he was forced out of the womb; the infant grew up into adulthood and saw that the world was a beautiful place to stay in and he refused to get out of this world but he died; this man being an active, obedient Christian was carried into Paradise by angels and was convinced that Paradise is far superior than the beauty of Earth; when Judgment Day comes, do you suppose that this man will insist on staying in Paradise and refuse to move on into Heaven?” And the Pinoy preacher sat down.

©Eusebio Tanicala

The Scripture in the Iloco Language

According to historical information from the Philippine Bible Society, one of the early portions of the Bible that was published in the Iloco dialect was translated from the Spanish Bible by Isabelo delos Reyes, a lawyer from Vigan City, Ilocos Sur who was educated during the Spanish regime. While he was incarcerated in Spain sometime in 1898 due to a labor problem, he was approached by agents of the British Bible Society to translate the Gospel of Luke. This he did. This translation of the Gospel of Luke was the first portion of the Bible that was circulated among the Ilocanos at the beginning of the 20th century after the Americans gained control of the Philippine archipelago.

Isabelo delos Reyes, a lawyer, is recognized as the founder of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. So it could be deduced that the influence of the Bible which he read in Spanish and a portion which he translated into his mother tongue strongly influenced him to break away from the Roman Catholic Church which at that time suppressed Bible reading among  the lay people. His knowledge of the Holy  Scriptures could have encouraged him to say that what the Bible says is not what the Pope teaches.

As late as 1959, the parish priest in my town in Ilocos Norte refused to lend me a Bible. He told me that he would look for a copy of the Bible. He never showed me a Bible. Ten years later, the priest, Father Godofredo Albano of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte who succeeded the parish priest who refused to lend me a  Bible became a member of the Philippine Bible Society team that labored in Baguio to bring out in 1972 the Naimbag a Damag Biblia. Now the Roman Catholic Church widely promotes Bible reading and Bible study among the Roman Catholic flock. What a change within a quarter of a century within my life time. -Eusebio Tanicala (7.1.10)