Christianity’s Next Reformation — Aside number 2

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This is the second in a series of comments on Gerald R. Baron’s series on a new Reformation for Christianity. He has just published a second article entitled ‘The Benefits of Believing in a Creator’. I do not intend a full analysis, merely to focus on one key point.

Baron’s theme is to “defend the proposition that it is to believe the universe was created by a benevolent and powerful God than to believe the universe is uncreated”. I have no disagreement with this; I’m happy to concede that the universe was ‘created’, i.e. thought into existence. However, as in the previous article, I query why Baron uses the word ‘better’. Does he mean ‘truer’? I assume he does, in which case why not say so? To say that it is ‘better’ is ambiguous, and might suggest that it is to believe something.

I’m more interested in what follows. Baron says that “the God of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is who willed the universe into existence. The has issuing commands such as ‘Let there be light’ and then there was light… Those who wrote Genesis and edited it into its existing form did so based on the knowledge of the cosmos available to them at that time. But, that does not say they did not convey something true and of crucial importance. What Genesis says is that there is who willed the universe into existence”.

The problem here is that, as every biblical scholar knows, the word originally used for God in Genesis 1, , is plural. It is hard to see how this could be intended to mean one single being. This becomes more complicated when one considers that the following verb is singular. (I’ve read that two or three times so assume it’s true.) A more accurate translation might therefore read “God in its plural form created…”, which is more suggestive of polytheism than any version of Christianity. “The God of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” , as Baron claims. Perhaps “those who wrote Genesis and edited it into its existing form” had a deeper knowledge of the cosmos than modern Christians, since the text suggests that the universe was created by a group of ‘deities’, perhaps emanations from an ultimate Ground of Being.

I once read the preface of an edition of the Bible (from memory it was the Good News version), in which the translators said that they were aware that is plural, but chose to translate it as ‘God’ . In other words, they deliberately mistranslated the original text so that Christians would not feel challenged, and have to probe more deeply.

It is reasonable to ask Christians who believe in one God and that the Bible is His Word, which Bible is actually the Word of God, the original Hebrew or the English mistranslation?

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I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All of those articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here). My most recent articles, however, are only on Medium; for those please check out my profile.

Gerald R. Baron

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Graham Pemberton

Graham Pemberton

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I am a singer/songwriter interested in spirituality, politics, psychology, science, and their interrelationships. grahampemberton.com spiritualityinpolitics.com