Progressive Revelation...

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wil, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    You are missing it again. Look at the word religion again.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I wish!

    The Perrennialist thesis summed up in Frithjof Schuon's "The Transcendent Unity of Religions" supposes one source from when all religions flow.
    'Every religion can be likened to a ray of light, emanating from the Divine Source', the commentary says on Amazon.

    In the metaphysics of the authentic Traditions, the Uncreate alone is Absolute. Or rather, the Absolute is Infinite and Transcendent, and is Itself without form; Being beyond forms, It is beyond sensible forms, beyond even the intellect, which nevertheless can arrive at the absolute and the infinite as a possibility.

    As possible, for example, as Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel with an infinite number of rooms, or Cosmology's multiverse theory which supposes an infinite number of universes no less 'real' than this one.

    Every manifestation of the Uncreate is then, to a greater or lesser degree, a manifestation present in some way sensible and intellective. Indeed for man, a 'ground up' mode of being, 'there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses', a Scholastic maxim derived from Aristotle.

    It is a given, in the esoterism and metaphysics of every tradition, that the Absolute is thus. It is in Itself unknown and unknowable, precisely because there is nothing in the Absolute that exists as an object of knowledge, other than Itself, beyond all forms.

    Revelation then is a disclosure of the Absolute in and to the relative — and It will reveal Itself in the forms appropriate and comprehensible to Its reception, including the means and methodology – the Way – of approach most suited to Itself in Its manifestation.

    The invisible essence of the formless Absolute is accessible through the 'forms': such as an eikon (Divine Image), a word (Divine Name), a gesture (Divine Act); all these forms are contained in and explained by the related Scripture, which is itself another efficacious form.

    The 'metaphysical error' in the concept of 'progressive revelation' is that the Absolute discloses Itself by degree, or that the Absolute is Itself provisional and contingent and subject to change over time.

    Both are wrong.

    Straight away we can see the error — it is man who changes, not the Absolute.

    The inevitable error is that 'subsequent revelations' make known that which was inaccessible before – as if the Uncreate could make Itself known, but not understood. That, for example, as language changes, then more of God is revealed — and yet the dichotomy is that there is nothing more to say about the Absoluteness of the Divine that is not revealed in the oldest sacra doctrina we possess.

    There is nothing new we can say about the Divine that has not been said.

    Such is demonstrably not the case, precisely because all authentic traditions speak of the Absoluteness, the unknowability, etc., of the Divine.

    In any revelation, unless one seeks for and reaches out to the Absolute essence, then that revelation will simply be 'words'.

    The saints and sages of the Traditions are empirical evidence of the unlimited and infinite nature of Revelation. Because they could see it, where perhaps we cannot, is not a fault of Revelation as such, it just speaks of the limitation of human comprehension.

    The idea then that any revelation reveals more or reveals better, or more precisely, more accurately, or more efficaciously, is an error of anthropomorphism, it applied to the Uncreate something of the nature of the created.

    The outwards forms can become opaque, the message distorted, but this again is the activity of man. For those with a (relatively) pure heart, the Way is open.

    +++

    The idea of a kind of meta-religion which encompasses and surpasses all other religions is, again, the error of assumption.

    The place in which 'all is One', the source of the light, is Itself 'dark' precisely because 'light' is a form. There is not and cannot be a meta-religion, a meta-form, a meta-method, because there is nothing to reveal in any way sensibly or intellectually comprehensible.

    In Abrahamic terms, this was the error of those who constructed the Tower of Babel. That the story exists in Scripture is its corrective.

    +++

    The message of Baha'i-ism appears to me to derive from this mistake. That it itself derives from the teachings of the early 19th century Shaykh Ahmad, a student of Shi'i Islam from whom Bábism and Bahá'í drew their inspiration.

    All three are, in a sense, commentaries on religion, but are not religions as such. (The belief in a 'Twelfth Imam' can be seen for what it is, conforming the Divine to astrology.)

    The idea that the Uncreate is one, is one thing. The idea that all revelations are part of a jigsaw which we need to put together, or that even to this day there are still pieces missing, is mistaken.

    The idea that the thoughts of an 18th century Persian mystic are more relevant and more revealing in today's world than the great sacra doctrina of the Traditions. Even in its own terms, it seems to me, such a thesis would be passed it's 'best-by' date.

    The message of the Traditionalists is clear: Fine a Tradition that speaks to you, and stick to it. Don't look for a tradition that speaks for all Traditions, that is misguided.
     
  3. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Eeny, meeny, miny, moe! I guess I will start here.

    So where did the Muslims get their interpretation of John 14:16? Some would simply point to Quran 61.6, but I would like to note Mani thought the Paraclete (John 16.7) referred to himself or his heavenly twin. This should give one pause to think, considering he used to belong to a group called the Elchasaites, a Jewish-Christian sect. There were definitely differences between the Elchasaites and Mani: for example, the former rejected Paul, whereas the latter embraced him. Still, one cannot help but wonder whether or not Mani’s interpretation of John 16.7 was an influence from his Jewish-Christian background. Here’s a quote from a Manichean text called the Kephalaia:

    “From that time on (sc. from the beginning of Mani’s apostolate) was sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth; the one who has come to you in this last generation. Just like the Saviour said (cf. John 16.7): ‘When I go, I will send to you the Paraclete’. (...) In that same year, when Ardashir the king was crowned, the living Paraclete came down to me. He spoke with me. He unveiled to me the hidden mystery, the one that is hidden from the worlds and the generations, the mystery of the depths and the heights.”

    Esoteric interpretations were deeply embedded in Jewish-Christian circles and some early Christian circles, such as the Alexandrian school. Scholars, such as Henry Corbin, noted a link between the angel Christology of the Ebionites (along with their idea of the True Prophet) and the Paraclete. Charles Gieschen’s Angelmorphic Christology investigates the Jewish background humming in the Gospel of John's idea of the Paraclete, and he not only finds parallels with Qumran texts, but he also finds Jewish-Christian descriptions of the True Prophet are quite similar to the Paraclete. For example:

    “Now the Man who is the helper I call the True Prophet; and He alone is able to enlighten the souls of men, so that with our own eyes we may be able to see the way of eternal salvation” (Hom. 1.19; Hom. 2.5, 12; 3.15, 17-18; Rec. 1.33, 44)

    “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14. 25-26
    ).
    Turning back to Corbin, he also noted a connection between the Ebionites and Shiite gnosis. “Shī`ī imāmology, as Corbin puts it, ‘retains the idea of the Paraclete as a vision to come.’” Many Shiite commentators linked the Paraclete to the 12th Imam. Scholars would love to know what flavor of Christianity influenced the Prophet Muhammad. Hmm . . .

    Of course, a tradition of secret teachings would be difficult for a Catholic to accept. For them, everything has been made public through the tradition of the Great Church. We only need to turn and read Augustine's conclusion against esoteric teachings after wrestling with two seemingly contradictory texts (John 16.12 and John 15.15): "what both [the ‘sucking’ and the ‘advanced’] heard in the same measure when it was publicly spoken, each apprehended in his own measure, sed quod eodem modo utrique cum palam diceretur audiebant, pro suo modo quique capiebant."

    In regards to cherry-picking, I randomly picked Mathew 13.34-35 as an example of concealment ("sometimes prophets wrapped their language in veils - which require further explanation"). Even when Jesus spoke to the multitudes, it was concealed to the disciples, who were likely in earshot of his parables, until he explained it later (Matthew 13.36). I did not mean to indicate this parable was concealed from the disciples until the Paraclete revealed it later (if that is how you read it). So how am I cherry-picking? o_O Likewise, John 16.12-14 indicates more remains concealed, but, as we both know, its interpretation remains contested. This question is directed towards other readers: Do you believe God continues to keep secrets hidden or has everything been unveiled? Early Christians obviously believed they unveiled secrets many Jews in their day were incapable of grasping or seeing because they lacked the proper key. I will end with their reflections (and please note the Christian version of progressive revelation):

    "Every prophecy, before its accomplishment, is enigma and contradiction for men (ainigma esti kai antilogia). But when came the moment that the prediction was accomplished, it found its correct interpretation. This is why the Law, when read by the Jews in our times, is similar to a myth (muthôi eoiken), since they do not possess what is the explanation of it all, namely the coming of the Son of God as a man.”
    -Irenaeus

    "The action of the Savior on us is immediate, and comes through the presence, hidden until then under the riddle of prophecy. He who has shown the prophecies through direct vision, has manifested the coming of this presence, advancing from so far towards full light. He has really ‘detached’ and brought to their end the oracles of the divine scheme by revealing the sense of the symbols."
    -Clement

    "The Jew does not understand hidden meaning."
    -Origen​

    "There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed" (Gospel of Thomas 5-6, Mark 4.22, Luke 8.17, Matthew 10.26).​
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  4. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Any concept of God is exactly that: a concept - a speculation to the highest degree. And such concepts are probably worse than the worship of idols, because at least they have an objective existence. Any knowledge of God is in reality knowledge of the Manifestation of God:

    To better understand the Baha'i view of revelation, I suggest reading Nader Saiedi's Antinomies of Reason and the Theology of Revelation. Here are some excerpts from his conclusion:



     
  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    The smoke raised from the destruction your past fellow traditionalists started is still settling - and we can see the bad fruit as we wipe the dust from our windshields. Too bad you cannot preach that message to the traditionalists that walked our planet before you as they colonized the world for more than mere economic gain: "the moral validation of the imperialist enterprise rested upon the conviction that it was a great civilizing and uplifting mission, one of whose tasks was to draw the unfortunate heathen up into the higher, indeed highest, religion of Christianity," said John Hicks. And there was the Christian sense of superiority towards the Jewish religion, which was not only viewed as incomplete, but at times demonized: "Thus Jews could be seen as having an especially demonic status as those who should have been able to recognize Christ on the basis of their spiritual predictions of the Messiah, and yet chose to reject and kill him. They are quasi-apostates and Christ-killers, not merely ignorant believers," said Rosemary Ruether. So please preach your unity of traditionalists - and a tradition that does not speak for other traditions - elsewhere.



    Haha! Maimonides said the same thing about Christ; he only used different words:
    Maimonides did exactly as you exhort others to do: he stuck to his tradition. Every "great sacra doctrina of the Traditions" was not at first viewed as "great", Thomas - at least not by all. Hence some Jewish opponents called the Christian revelation avon gilyon (iniquitous revelation) or aven gilyon (worthless revelation). This is how they played around with the word evangelion (gospel).

    "Every prophecy, before its accomplishment, is enigma and contradiction for men (ainigma esti kai antilogia). But when came the moment that the prediction was accomplished, it found its correct interpretation. This is why the Law, when read by the Jews in our times, is similar to a myth (muthôi eoiken), since they do not possess what is the explanation of it all, namely the coming of the Son of God as a man.”
    -Irenaeus

    "The action of the Savior on us is immediate, and comes through the presence, hidden until then under the riddle of prophecy. He who has shown the prophecies through direct vision, has manifested the coming of this presence, advancing from so far towards full light. He has really ‘detached’ and brought to their end the oracles of the divine scheme by revealing the sense of the symbols."
    -Clement​

    Why is the belief "in a 'Twelfth Imam' conforming the Divine to astrology?"
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I'm not going there Ahanu, I am probably better informed than most here about the faults and flaws of my tradition, both yesterday and today. It's also something of an anachronism to judge the past by a 21st century standard.

    There's a lot of truth in that, I mean the moral values of all religious traditions stand by that.

    Yup.

    And Islam has it towards Christianity and Judaism, and Baha'i has it towards ... etc., etc.
     
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your response, Thomas.

    My apologies. I poorly communicated the last post by focusing on violence. That should not have been my focus.

    I am mainly responding to what you said earlier: "we should not find a tradition that speaks for all traditions." Yet Christianity sought in its own way to speak for many other traditions outside its own. That was my point in quoting John Hicks. For another example, some thought pagans borrowed or stole prophecies and riddles from Judaism, and this process prepared them for Christianity. And for Augustine, Virgil anticipated ethical issues in the Gospels. Clement, a former pagan, believed pagan philosophy - even if stolen from the Hebrews - prepared them for Christ:

    Clearly a pattern going on here.

    See above.

    Okay. Good points. I do not deny I believe the Baha'i Faith possesses a higher level of truth than other religions. It is simply the reality of growth holarchies. But I do think there is a subtle difference in mind as our discussion unfolds. For me, we are talking about a related problem in another thread: "What is the problem with Islam?"

    Why? Because you continue to mention traditionalists.

    To see where I am going with this, my point is Muslim traditionalists, for example, think the solution to their dire state in the Middle East is to go backwards in time because they are not properly practicing early Islam. Both Baha'is and Muslims seek to turn back to the source, but how we view "turning back to the source" is radically different. Similarly, in the time of Christ, opposing parties within Judaism sought a return to the source as a solution to their difficulties, but what that meant differed. Traditionalist orientations from both time periods were problematic. And it is not just those particular time periods. Colonizing traditionalists were also looking at models from the past in their scriptures and applying them to their moment in time. Some looked to Genesis 1.28, for example, which said: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it." The traditionalist mindset seeks to apply an old paradigm of rituals and practices to a situation that calls for a different way of thinking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ahanu —

    I stand by that, for the metaphysical reasons I think I have made clear.

    Not really. Christianity was rather forced into a tragic position when it was so forcefully rejected by the Jews.

    Well of course. The philosophers of Christianity believed that Revelation was reasonable, and being reasonable, was defendable through the use of 'pagan' philosophy. St Paul did no different when he reasoned with the Athenians on the Areopagus: "For passing by, and seeing your idols, I found an altar also, on which was written: To the unknown God. What therefore you worship, without knowing it, that I preach to you" (Acts 17:23). But he wasn't arguing 'progressive revelation', as he defended the Jews and the Law against ideas of supercessionism.

    But what if the holarchies are supposed? I believe the Baha'i have missed the essential truth of Christ, they've assumed the error of Islam.

    And as regards Islam, they declare Mohammed (pbuh) the 'Seal of the Prophets', so the Baha'i would have a Jew, a Christian and a Moslem telling them they've got it wrong.

    Well there's some value in that, surely? The modern concept of jihad, as preached by the likes of ISIS et al, is a distortion of the authentic teaching, I think. There are traditionalist schools which hold that jihad is against the world in oneself, as it were ... lose touch with the past, and you're in danger of losing touch with everything ...

    Understandable, is Baha's are obliged to ignore or refute the idea of the Seal of the Prophets?

    I'm not aware of that, specifically.

    Well of course, 'traditionalists' is a broad church!

    Curious, as in my experience, the modern argument depends on a narrow-minded and literal interpretation of the terms 'subdue' and 'dominion', whereas a traditional interpretation treats the term within the context of Scripture and regards it as husbandry and nurturing. In Scripture God seeks neither to subdue nor to have dominion over man, the invitation is to man to come to Him. A modern literal interpretation makes no sense in light of the whole thrust of the text.

    Whilst some trads might say 'we have a right to subjugation/dominion — Israel's politics with regard to the land and the Palestinians, for example — modernism is equally as guilty is declaring Scripture wrong because of the same way of defining the terms.
     
  9. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, I thought it would be fairly one-sided to discuss metaphysical points with you since you are older and more experienced in metaphysical arguments than I, so I tagged a Baha'i friend to join the conversation. Like you, this person is experienced in philosophical reasoning. My friend's responses are colored red.

    [​IMG]

    Vis-à-vis the Baha’i Writings, this assertion is itself erroneous.

    In the Baha’i Writings, God does not disclose Himself by degrees because that would mean God is subject to time, change and contingency as well as conditionality (i.e. degrees) i.e. God would be a ‘thing’ like all the others in creation. Therefore, God has form and is intellectually knowable vis-à-vis His nature. However, none of these attributes apply to the Baha’i concept of God and progressive revelation: “The contingent world is the source of imperfections: God is the origin of perfections. The imperfections of the contingent world are in themselves a proof of the perfections of God" (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 5).

    The fact that God is beyond time is also obvious from His role as the prime mover in the Aristotelian sense. His creative acts mark the beginning of time, but God Himself is beyond time and all the attributes of time such as provisionality. He has “essential preexistence” (Some Answered Questions 280.) which no other being has.

    What appears to be change and evolution in God is the development or evolution of human capacity to comprehend the revelations (lessons) of God. If God were only provisionally or partially present, He would not be “the omnipresent God” (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 286) in time and/or space. In other words, progressive revelation refers to a process in mankind and not in God.

    Humans may not know God intellectually i.e. but this does not prevent man from having experience of God’s presence. This experiential and non-discursive knowledge is reflected in various interpretations in the context of various cultures. Such experiential knowledge is not limited by formal intellectual categories. Nor is this a claim to experience God – it refers to experiencing God’s presence within the limits of the contingent world. This experience comes through the mirrors of our hearts (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 108).




    I partially agree. It is not entirely dependent on a narrow-minded and literal interpretation of two terms, however. "My proofes and examples are mostly out the Bible and Sacred Histories," said Richard Eburne, a man who supported colonial endeavors. The idea God has a Chosen People to occupy, colonize, and claim dominion of a piece of land plays a role over and over again in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the conquest narratives of the Bible, traditional Davidic messianism, and more. Perhaps one could crudely describe Christianity's lapse into colonialism as a tribal hangover mixed with scriptures from both Judaism and Christianity that include the concept of a Chosen People and the acceptance of slavery. This is my way of saying this way of thinking is very old, not entirely new. Overall I partially agree with you: This particular literal interpretation of Genesis 1.28 first appeared in the 17th century. But I believe it is much more complicated than a literal interpretation of a verse or two.


    So why do you believe he was rejected? From what appears to be a plethora of traditions during that time, I believe some traditions were more popular than others. And some traditions were looked at with disdain, as can be attested with the example of believing a prophet will appear in Galilee:

    "They replied, 'Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee'" (John 7.52).​

    But it appears documents from Qumran challenge this tradition.

    I disagree. Christianity clearly spoke for other traditions.

    It is one thing to describe revelation as reasonable and defendable through pagan philosophy; it is another thing to describe the best pagan ideals as stolen or borrowed from the Hebrews. What if the pagan philosopher did not believe that was the case, especially when many regarded Christian philosophy as a barbarian one? It is in this sense they were speaking for pagan tradition. And, in speaking in this way (that is, that pagans pilfered their best ideals from others), Christian philosophers were clearly saying the best ideals of pagans belonged to Jewish tradition. Here I will include quotes from Clement about very, very many examples of plagiarism in pagan philosophy (such as prophetic riddles or oracles, the Lord's day, the created world, punishment after death, and theology):

     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  10. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    You mean supposed in human beings? What is "the error of Islam" again?

    Reinterpret. One key verse is the following: "On the day when they will be brought into the presence of their Lord, their greeting to each other will be, 'Peace be with you.' God has prepared an honorable reward for them" (Quran 33.44).

    "And yet, through the mystery of the former verse [Qur’an 33:40], they have turned away from the grace promised by the latter [Qur’an 33:44], despite the fact that 'attainment unto the divine Presence' in the 'Day of Resurrection' is explicitly stated in the Book. It hath been demonstrated and definitely established, through clear evidences, that by 'Resurrection' is meant the rise of the Manifestation of God to proclaim His Cause, and by 'attainment unto the divine Presence' is meant attainment unto the presence of His Beauty in the person of His Manifestation. For verily, 'No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision.' [Qur’an 6:103.] Notwithstanding all these indubitable facts and lucid statements, they have foolishly clung to the term 'seal,' and remained utterly deprived of the recognition of Him Who is the Revealer of both the Seal and the Beginning, in the day of His presence."
    -Baha'u'llah​
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with nothing.

    I fail to see then, quite what Baha'i mean by 'progressive revelation' — I understood it to mean this latest supersedes the earlier.

    The only point I would challenge is:
    Humans may not know God intellectually
    But that's probably because your friend is speaking of the intellect in the common understanding, whereas there is a tradition, now defunct understanding of intellect that survives in the great traditions.

    Meister Eckhart said 'There is something in the soul that is uncreated and uncreatable ... and this is the Intellect'. The trans-personal Intellect is 'the light of men' (John 1:4) the light in and through which we can know God, but not as an object of knowledge.

    It was an aphorism of the Fathers that the Holy Spirit reveals the Son, and the Son reveals the Father, and without the indwelling/immanent presence neither Son nor Father can be known.
    This is a major teaching on the Holy Trinity which, again, is one of those things that seems to have fallen away from man's cognizance. "Allah is known to Himself alone" the Sufis say.

    Politics. He was seen as a trouble-maker and a rabble-rouser, and the Sanhedrin feared that a popular religiously-inspired uprising would bring the Romans down on them once and for all.

    I would say Christianity spoke about other traditions, it speaks only for itself. The Baha'i os probably no different in that.

    Well that's understandable, the way they saw it according to their world-view. We don't see it that way today.

    And that all inspiration comes from Christ — how can it not?

    Christianity called on pagan philosophies (primarily Plato) to defend itself through reason and logic, and to carry the message of Christ beyond the borders of the Jews.

    OK, I'm not disputing that, but remember nothing Clement ever said became doctrine...
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Failure to see Christ is God.

    I'll leave a Muslim to comment on the Baha'i interpretation of the Qran.
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Have we lost the nature of interfaith discussion?
    yet anyone asking for reason and logic is jumped on for trying to use science in a religious discussion.
    I believe that it is ONLY Christians that see Jesus as G!d. (and not all of them, there are some non trinitarians out there)
    The most interesting thing I read in this discussion and now I can't find it, so I wonder if I 'read into it'

    Was about G!d being beyond time... And progressive revelation being as if all of what G!d said was said at once. At a point without time constraints. And all that G!d said is heard by us, or by those we deem prophets, in our time. Like us finding a book from the past with an awesome quote we never read, or us finding an old clip that has been recently uploaded to youtube from some philosophical discussion. It is a revelation to us, as we just read it, we were just ready for it (when the student is ready the teacher will appear)... But with G!d speaking to us...it as if G!d were speaking to us in the present. But what G!d elicited to the Universe was done once, in a place beyond time and space...but since we just hear it, just grock it, and it isn't dated like a book or a crackly old film updated to youtube..we THINK it is current, we THINK it was G!d speaking to us, revealing to US as an individual...but in (this) reality/understanding it was just us accessing that which was already said (or beyond time, may not have been said yet)...opening he door for G!d being all knowledge from the future sentient beings speaking back to us from the ethers... that progressive revelation is from beyond time....but like all the issue is with our ears, with our understandings... Someone is talking rocket science to people playing with rocks.

    I obviously 'read into it'
     
  14. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Okay.

    Do you believe politics was the main factor or the only factor? Do you think contending Jewish traditions played any role in the Sanhedrin rejecting Christ?

    Will get back to this next time if possible.

    And this one too.

    And this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    No they're not. I know they are in Wil's World, but in the real world, no.

    Quite. I was responding from that viewpoint.

    Was about G!d being beyond time... And progressive revelation being as if all of what G!d said was said at once.[/quote]
    Well that's there one way or another in a number, if not all, Traditions. 'the light' as mentioned above in Christianity, Aum to Hindus and Buddhists, re'shiyth (In the beginning) to Jews ...
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well from Scripture it would seem the raising of Lazarus caused no little consternation among the Pharisees, "If we let him alone so, all will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation" (John 11:48).

    Caiphas, the High Priest, said: "You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (v49-50) and "From that day therefore they devised to put him to death" (v53), including a sham trial and the testimony of false witnesses.

    I have no evidence to suggest contending Jewish traditions played into it. The Pharisees and Sadducees would rather He was out of the way, but it seems Caiphas was the one with the courage of his conviction.
     
  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    The Baha’i Writings and Thomas Aquinas agree that such knowledge is impossible if by ‘knowing God’ we mean intellectual knowledge that is adequate to the object of knowledge. As Abdu’l-Baha says, we can logically prove that God exists but not the way He exists, i.e. His essential nature. As Aquinas himself put it: "whatever is known is known in the manner in which man can know it." Also “Whatever is known is known according to the manner in which it is in the knower,” (Aquinas 29 Questions on Truth)

    To know God intellectually and adequately would require us to have the same nature as God – and that is impossible since mankind lacks omniscience, omnipotence, timelessness, etc. Mystics who think that they and God can be ontologically one are misinterpreting their experience in which their hearts/souls are ethically attuned to God’s will; their love for all beings may also be attuned to God’s love. To use the irreplaceable German word for this – they are Gleichgeschaltet with God’s action but not His essence.


    Both Simeon bar Kokhba and Jesus were proclaimed the messiah. That different messianic models were acted upon in large movements is itself a testament to contradictory Jewish traditions. Why did the Jews wage war against Rome? According to Josephus, there "was an ambiguous prophecy found in their sacred writings, announcing that at that time someone from their country would become ruler of the world" (Jewish War 6.312-16). So you're saying the Sanhedrin eschewed this fanaticism, and they were aligned with the stream of Jewish tradition that expected the Christ would be killed. Interesting. So they only rejected Jesus because of politics. I doubt it.

    "Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, 'Why didn’t you bring him in?' 'No one ever spoke the way this man does,' the guards replied. 'You mean he has deceived you also?' the Pharisees retorted. 'Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.' Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 'Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?' They replied, 'Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee'" (John 7.45-52).​

    Some New Testament commentaries about these versus just don't make sense to me, because, as one commentary includes, "there is no reasonable ground for charging on these Pharisees 'an incredible ignorance or incomprehensible misunderstanding'". What these particular Jews most likely mean is "the prophet or the messiah does not come out of Galilee" (based on papyrus manuscripts P66 and P75). To me, "the prophet" or "the messiah" makes more sense considering the previous comments from "the mob".

    In contrast with these Jewish authorities above, some Jews expected the messiah to come from Galilee. “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote” (1.45). Nathanael’s initial skepticism in 1.46 about Jesus comes from his understanding of scripture (for Jesus saw him "under the fig tree," which is coded language for studying Torah); it does not originate from politics. This is similar to the skepticism of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin (7.52), but these individuals could not overcome their skepticism with whatever view Christ offered. It is interesting the Gospel of John ties understandings of messianic tradition to geography. Unlike Matthew and Luke, John does not mention Jesus' birthplace. Perhaps John wishes to focus on a more important point: Is Jesus from God or not? (6.42) Wayne Meeks ultimately concluded:

    "Galilee therefore takes on a very imporant symbolic reference in the Fourth Gospel. Hence, while it is legitimate to speak of a spiritualization - or, better, of a second, hidden meaning - of the question of Jesus' origin, one must reckon with the likelihood that this is the spiritualization of an already existing tradition of the Galilean origin of a savior figure. Alternatively, the tradition, perhaps connected with the northern, ultimately Ephraimitic circles, may have mentioned no place of origin, but still may have accorded better with Jesus' historical origin in Galilee than did the Davidic ideology of the Judaean King-Messiah. Thus John 7.37-52 contains both (1) a polemic against the Davidic, Judaean ideology of the eschatological redeemer and (2) a further re-interpretation that makes neither the northern nor the southern origin of the redeemer of ultimate significance in comparison with Jesus' heavenly origin."


    Progressive revelation (PR) means more than one revelation superseding another. In PR, each new revelation includes and surpasses its predecessors. Inclusion must be understood as recognizing that each religion has two parts or aspects: (1) the accidental aspects that result from the need to adapt to the culture, time, place in which the religion finds itself, and (2) the essential attributes of the essence i.e. the teachings conducive to moral, intellectual and social progress in the human race. The essence of the revealed religions is retained and applied in new ways whereas the time and place bound attributes are left behind or superseded.

    (1) The accidental attributes must be left behind as time-bound and (2) the essence becomes better known to mankind as we evolve.

    As Shoghi Effendi teaches

    the relativity of religious truth, the continuity of Divine Revelation, the progressiveness of religious experience. His aim is to widen the basis of all revealed religions and to unravel the mysteries of their scriptures. He insists on the unqualified recognition of the unity of their purpose, restates the eternal verities they enshrine, coordinates their functions, distinguishes the essential and the authentic from the nonessential and spurious in their teachings, separates the God-given truths from the priest-prompted superstitions, and on this as a basis proclaims the possibility, and even prophecies the inevitability, of their unification, and the consummation of their highest hopes.[1] (The Promised Day is Come, p. 108)

    For example, as a graduate of a Catholic university, I can find no evidence for fish on Friday, Lent, or even Christmas. These are accidental features. The essential Christian message does not need support from these (and other) cultural addition, e.g. the different ways of crossing oneself in Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity. We can identify similar accidentals in other religions as well.

    Progressive revelation is about the continuity of the essentials and our increased understanding of them.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I think the Sanhedrin knew that any populist uprising, peaceful or otherwise, would bring the wrath of Rome down on them, and so saw it was for the greater good to do away with Jesus ... as it turned out, they suffered the wrath of Rome anyway ...


    Unless, of course, he get's it wrong, then it's not Progressive Revelation at all ...


    Well because outward form is accidental, the essential nature of the practice might well not be.

    Or misunderstanding ...
     
  19. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I am not so sure about that. I am well-aware some tried to make peace with Rome.

    However, Jews like Philo, for example, believed in the mainstream belief:

    "For 'there shall come forth a man' (Num. 24:7), says the oracle, and leading his host of war he will subdue great and populous nations."

    With prophecy and a miraculous power on your side, the wrath of Rome is not a problem because the wrath of God is greater. Tacitus sums it up well enough:

    "Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods [sic!] were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire. These mysterious prophecies had pointed to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, with the usual blindness of ambition, had interpreted these mighty destinies of themselves, and could not be brought even by disasters to believe the truth."
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  20. powessy

    powessy Member

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    It has been some time since I last visited this site. I have spent thousands of hours speaking and trying to understand the voices in my head to better understand the many aspects of religion, evolution and how to achieve other types of advanced knowledge. The solution to the scientist is simple he already has knowledge of something, you have to know something about something to figure something out. In other terms he finds minds trying to figure things out and these minds will teach him things. Minds are all around us and are a part of the imagination when you write the words "Yes" or "No" in your mind or projected outside of your mind this is minds that form these letters and is how they find time here. We are in a sea of minds around us all the time family, friends and coworkers these minds also effect us and fill our minds with time. If you spend time working on a thought you will find ideas until you can not figure anything out again, then you will find time again trying to figure it out giving minds time to try to understand the thought this will go until they do not figure anything out and their is no time remaining. The mind will continue this process until the thought can find no more time and becomes nothing here.

    Not out of nowhere

    Powessy
     

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