That is the question, isn’t it? We live in a society that says truth is relative, nobody has a 100% market on it, but we live as though we do. I have never met a person who truly believes in moral relativity – what’s right for you is based on your situation at that moment with how you feel and think. If I am in that same situation but react differently, yet believe I am right then it is okay. That is my understanding of moral relativism at least.
At present I am wrestling with the historical figure Saul of Tarsus (a.k.a. the apostle Paul). A very dear friend of mine who I deeply respect for his heart and depth of character in his diligence to search for truth, has come to the conclusion that what we know as the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed, the gospel according to Paul. It is not just him. There is an entire group of people from all walks of life, in various religious groups who believe the same thing. I cannot tell you what the arguments for this belief are, because I am not clear on them myself. What I have seen in this line of reasoning so far is this:
1. Jesus is still Mainstream Christianity’s Jesus. He died to pay our sin debt, nothing more, nothing less.
2. The Torah (Law of the Old Testament, I think there is something like 613 of them) is to be followed.
3. The covenant promise with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob are still in effect and it is an earthly promise to inherit the Promised Land, not a heavenly Promised Land.
4. Paul was at odds with the Jerusalem church body, where Peter and James were leading the way under the instructions that Jesus left them. The big difference for them is their understanding of the first two chapters in Galatians versus the one recorded in Acts (I think chapter 15).
I am sure there is more but this is the basic premise. If any of you have dealt with this line of reasoning before then please take a second to post any helpful information that you can give me – commentaries, passages of scripture, old arguments, new arguments, etc… I am sure that I will be posting my findings as I go.
On another note: Let’s assume someone is named Theodore at birth and has been called that all their life, maybe even Teddy by those who know them well. This person has lots of writings that has his name all throughout it from personal narratives, people referring to him, etc… Well, it gets so popular that other people from other countries with different languages start transcribing the original work into their own language. The word Theodore and Teddy are foreign to the people there so they decide to give Teddy some new names to represent those old names. Instead of Theodore becoming Teodoor, it is now President. Instead of Teddy becoming Theddie, it is now Almighty Dude. Which name makes more sense to keep – the original wording only transcribed to the new language, or the new names?
As my friend put it, if you use the original name transcribed then it is more personal and shows that you know the person you are talking to on a deeper level. If you use the name that was changed then it is like you know the person, but you are missing out on some intimacy with them if you were to ever meet them face-to-face. So if you want to know the original names of God as they have been transcribed into English then here you go:
God – Elohim
LORD – YHWH (Yahweh)
Lord – Adonai (my personal favorite)
Lord GOD – Adonai Yahweh
LORD of Hosts – Yahweh Sabaoth
God Almighty – El Shaddai
If you are not comfortable using them then that is okay. I have been substituting them intermittently just to see if there is a difference. My brain is having trouble with my upbringing, so it is kind of like the new names are foreign to me and I am learning how to connect with the new name. At the same time, this could be a great way to evaluate any wrong thinking that I have about God – meaning: when I say the word God – what qualities and characteristics come to mind? When I say the word Elohim – I don’t have hardly anything come to mind so I can structure the new word according to proper thinking. Maybe that is nuts, but it makes sense to me.
Thanks for reading.