Saturday, February 18, 2012

The meaning of meaning

Dr. Paul Henebury and I have been debating the respective hermeneutics of dispensationalism and covenant theology. Henebury keeps appealing to the “plain sense” of the text. I’ve already indicated that Henebury needs to explicate the locus of meaning. That there are several potential candidates for the locus of meaning.

Since he hasn’t picked up on that as of yet, I’m going to do a separate post on the issue in which I go into a bit more detail.

1) Sense

2) Reference

i) In Frege’s classic example, the morning star and the evening star both denote the same referent (Venus), yet they don’t mean the same thing, for they signify Venus in two different respects.

So we need to distinguish between intension and extension.  Another example is the distinction between Clark Kent and Superman.

ii) This distinction is especially germane to prophecies and promises. For prophecies and promises have future referents. We must therefore distinguish between the meaning of the prophecy/promise and the future rewards or events to which they refer. 

3) Authorial meaning

If (3), then that breaks down into two respects:

a) The intention of the human author

b) The intention of the divine author

i) In the classic theory of inspiration, Scripture has dual authorship: God is the primary author while the human author is the secondary or instrumental author.

ii) This, in turn, raises the question of how divine and human authorial intent are coordinated. On the one hand, these cannot diverge. For God inspires the authorial intentions of the human author. The human author is the medium or vehicle, who says precisely what God intends for him to say.

iii) On the other hand, these do not coincide, for God, unlike the human author, is omniscient. God is conscious of textual implications which may escape the human author. God is conscious of how the audience will understand or misunderstand the text.  God is conscious of how this particular text will contribute to a larger picture.

In that respect, an inspired text has a kind of foresight than an uninspired text does not.

iv) Authorship also breaks down into two other respects:

c) The actual author

d) The implied author

The implied author is the authorial persona which the actual author presents or projects in the text. The text reveals something about the author who produces the text. In principle, the author can manipulate his image.

e) The editor

Some books of the Bible are anthologies. The Psalter is a good example. In that case, a given Psalm not only means whatever it meant to the individual Psalmist, but it also contributes to the collective meaning of the Psalter, based–in part–on how the editor(s) arrange the Psalms.

4) Audiencial meaning

If (4), then that breaks down into the following respects:

a) The actual audience

b) The implied audience

c) The intended audience

i) The implied audience is the audience whom the author has in mind. The imagined audience. He is writing with them in view. He takes their understanding into account. Writes in a way that ought to be meaningful to them. Communication is a two-way street inasmuch as the writer (or speaker) is trying to have an effect on the audience: make the listener/reader believe, feel, or do something. So that’s contingent on how he expects his words to be taken by the audience.

ii) A writer usually says less than he means because he relies on the cultural preunderstanding of the audience to fill in the gaps. It’s like watching a science fiction movie or a movie about vampires and werewolves. Because the director is working with a stock genre, the audience is expected to understand the conventions of the genre. Exposition is unnecessary.

Not “expected” in the sense that a viewer necessarily understands the conventions, but that he’s responsible for understanding the conventions. That’s up to him.

iii) The implied audience overlaps the actual audience. But the (human) author has no direct control over who will actually read the text. Although he targets the actual audience, he can’t determine who will or won’t read what he wrote.

iv) But over and above the actual or implied audience is the intended audience. In the case of uninspired writing, these are roughly synonymous–but in the case of inspired writing, they need to be distinguished. For instance, although Paul, in 1 Corinthians, is addressing his remarks to the Corinthian congregation, the truth of what he says isn’t relative to the Corinthian congregation. Much of what he says is true irrespective of who reads it. It isn’t bound to the specific circumstances of the Corinthian congregation.

v) This also figures in the divine authorship of Scripture. God inspires Scripture for the benefit of posterity. Not merely for the immediate audience, but the people of God in all generations.

vi) This raises the question of which audience supplies the interpretive frame of reference.  Although the text of Scripture must have some meaning for later generations that lack all the background knowledge of the implied audience, it’s incumbent on subsequent readers to make allowance for the difference in time. It’s their responsibility to hear the text as the implied audience first heard it. It wasn’t written specifically to the later generates, to folks in their particular time, place, and situation. When we read a text from the past, we must take that into account.

vii) When we speak of audiencial meaning, this isn’t to suggest that a reader creates or imposes meaning. The reader’s duty is to understand the text. However, audiencial meaning can be a way of accessing authorial intent. What the author meant it to mean is intertwined with what he thought the audience should take it to mean. 

viii) This is especially germane to threats and promise, viz. if you to this, then that will happen. Deut 28 is a good example. God can’t intend it to mean one thing to him, but something very different to the audience. The audience should be in a position to understand what’s expected of it.

5) The narrator

i) The narrator is the surrogate voice of the author. In Scripture, the narrator’s viewpoint is generally normative. The design of the narrative discloses the narrator’s perspective.  He’s a tour guide who shows the reader what the reader will see.

ii) His narrative is an implicit commentary on the events he relates. He can obliquely convey more than he overtly says through indirect clues like irony, symbolism, foreshadowing, backshadowing, foil characters, and normative characters.

When, for instance, a character (e.g. a foil) in the narrative misunderstands something which the narrator understands, that generates dramatic irony or tension. For the audience, via the narrator, is in a detached position to appreciate something which the character, in the thick of things, fails to appreciate.

A biblical example is the book of Job. The prologue represents the narrative viewpoint. The audience thereby knows something that the characters (Job and his friends) do not.

iii) Likewise, the narrator knows how the story ends, whereas a character within the story normally lacks foresight. The characters move forward in time, discovering the future through experience, whereas the narrator is writing with the benefit of hindsight.

iv) He interprets events by how he presents events, and thereby shapes the reader’s impression by how he dispenses information. He may dispense a little information at a time, withholding additional information, to thereby generate suspense. He may foster expectations, then seem to dash them. The Joseph narrative is a good example.

v) The narrator may sometimes function as a character within the narrative, like Moses, or the beloved disciple.

vi) You can have narratives within narratives, where a character in the narrative narrates a story. Gen 24, as well as Acts 10-11, alternate between direct and indirect discourse.

6) A normative character

A narrator may also express his interpretation through a normative character, who embodies the viewpoint of the narrator. He stands in contrast to the foil.

7) Canonical context

i) Books of the Bible have a cumulative, intertextual meaning. For instance, Genesis was meant to be read and understood in conjunction with the remainder of the Pentateuch. In that respect, backward reading is valid. That’s not just an issue of (allegedly) reading the NT back into the OT. Rather, we already have that built into certain sets of OT books. They form a literary unit.

This isn’t anachronistic. Rather, we have sets of books that were designed to be read together.  And even where the human author lacks that intertextual awareness, the divine author inspired the books of the Bible to go together. To form a larger semantic unit.

ii) It’s not that a later text changes the meaning of an earlier text; rather, a later text sharpens our understanding of an earlier text. Taken in isolation, an earlier text may seem to be pretty open-textured. It could develop in more than one direction.  But later texts eliminate these alternate constructions. It’s not so much that later texts expand or add to the original meaning, but–to the contrary–later texts narrow down the range of possibilities.  In that respect my position is the opposite of a sensus plenior. Reductive rather than ampliative.

iii) And it isn’t just textual, but historical, for the history of revelation tracks the history of redemption. When initially introduced, a text may seem to be an open text, using fairly generic imagery or terminology.  What pins it down is the future itself. Historical developments delimit the possible scope of the text. History itself has an interpretive role to play in spelling out the circumstances of a generally worded, future-oriented text. Fulfillment is the definitive interpreter, and as we draw closer to the destination, we retrospectively eliminate what appear, in advance, to be alternate routes. 

To take a comparison–the future may seem wide open from our present vantage point, but when we look back on the future as a thing of the past, we can better discern how its apparent open-endedness was illusory–a symptom of our shortsighted ignorance.  Because we couldn’t anticipate the chain of intervening events by which the future was going to be realized, it seemed to be indefinite.  But most of the forking paths were never in play. 

iv) In one respect, the original audience has a superior position, because it has more background information. In another respect, a later audience has a superior position, because it has more foreground information. 

About the last 100 years

The Model T Ford went into mass production in August 1908. That was about 100 years ago. Some time later, Henry Ford made a joke: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”. Russia was a largely agrarian economy, ruled by a Tsar (a monarch), and no one could foresee the changes that would happen over the next 100 years.

Think about what has changed in the last 100 years, and the kinds of things that changed, and the kinds of things that have happened in our lifetimes, or maybe, the lifetimes of our parents and grandparents. Think about the things that have remained the same. And think about our living memories of them.

I’ll say, my memory of events is helped out greatly because I’m writing this at a computer, and I’m able to search Google and Wikipedia to fill in some of the gaps in my memory. The folks living from, say, 30 AD to 130 AD may have benefited from a culture that prided itself on “living memory” and “oral tradition”, but the passage of those years saw some things change too.  

Maybe you have grandparents who remember the Model T, or who recall when Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet were all separate companies. In those days, Ford was in a monopoly position, but by the 1920’s, with a major consolidation of those brands, GM was able to overtake Ford as the largest automotive company. Wikipedia notes, “While Ford continued to refine the manufacturing process to reduce cost, Sloan was inventing new ways of managing a complex worldwide organization, while paying special attention to consumer demands. Car buyers no longer wanted the cheapest and most basic model; they wanted style, power, and prestige, which GM offered them”.

If you’re old enough, you may remember the Great Depression, and the days when Soviet Communism was promising the good life across all the political and social classes. You may also remember hearing about Stalin’s “Great Purge” and the deaths of millions of political enemies.

But Part of GM’s “complex worldwide organization” included dealing with a complex network of auto parts suppliers as well. During the 1950’s, GM grew to be the largest corporation in the US and the world, and it was one of the best run. Because of the variety among GM’s product line, it was possible to say that GM prompted an explosion of smaller, auto parts manufacturing companies. This growth in smaller companies fueled the economy for generations.

 There was, for example, a GM-owned metal stamping plant about a mile from where I grew up (using steel made just across the street). Friends of mine in high school, whose fathers worked at “Fisher Body” knew they had secure, well-paying jobs, which in those days, lasted a lifetime.

Some of us grew up during those years, knowing that we had a better economic system than the Soviets. But we grew up during those years, (a) fearing nuclear annihilation at any time, and (b) expecting that the world always would be involved in a US/Soviet Cold War.

Some of us have seen another business cycle in our lifetimes. I remember going to a computer store in 1981 and getting my first hands-on experience with one of the newly-released IBM PCs. The only thing I could do was to put a string of “Abort. Retry. Fail?” commands onto the screen. It was Henry Ford again: a computer will do anything you want it to do, so long as it’s “Abort, Retry, Fail”.

Smarter people than I am worked that all out. IBM had licensed a program called “DOS” from an unknown company named Microsoft.  By 1986, Microsoft raised billions of dollars through an IPO, and they used lots and lots of that money to help fund software companies that would use the Microsoft operating system.  Like GM, Microsoft managed to help a “complex worldwide organization” of software companies that operated on the Microsoft Operating system. It was a symbiotic relationship that enabled both types of organizations to prosper.

Not long after the PC revolution, the Soviet Empire collapsed, the Soviet Union itself went out of business, and now there is burgeoning unrest and corruption in the former Soviet states. The collapse of the Empire itself was very notable – fear of nuclear annihilation was minimized, and new global threats and alliances emerged.

I remember 1995, when Apple Computer stock was $25.00 per share, and the company was about to go out of business. In 1997, Microsoft itself invested $150 million in Apple, keeping it afloat. Now Apple is the big player, and Microsoft’s worst fears – that desktop computers running their operating system, are no longer the device of choice for a growing number of people.

Today, Russia is not a threat, though not an ally. Organizations like GM and Microsoft and Apple are all still in business, though they’re a lot different than they were 15 or 30 or 50 or 100 years ago. We all have devices in our pockets that people living 100 years ago would never have dreamed were possible. Today, too, I work for a company called Black Box. The company distributes the kinds of “black boxes” that make computer networks run and enables all our mobile devices to have wi-fi connections. And we’re almost back to Henry Ford: they can get them in any color they want, so long as they’re black.

100 years is a long time. Some things change, and some things remain the same. I’ve touched on some high points, but I’ve left out an incredible amount of detail. This is an interesting concept to remember when thinking about how much the early church changed (and which things changed) in its first 100 years. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Richard Carrier, the One True Philosopher, takes on God, again

Prevenient grace

A student asked me recently what I thought of prevenient grace.  This, of course, is the concept that the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition uses to defend the concept that although all humans are dead in their trespasses and unable to choose Christ in their own strength, God, in Christ’s atonement, makes possible enough grace to all humans that they now cantrust in Christ should they so choose.  Then, the Spirit comes to actually indwell them and empower them for the process of sanctification as well.
My reply was that I had never found a passage in the Bible that clearly teaches the concept.  God’s grace extends to all people for all manner of non-salvific things, but where is there a text that depicts prevenient grace as just defined?  It seems more a corollary of other theological convictions about what God must do to be fair and gracious, and to explain the Scriptural tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

Seeing is believing

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The grass is always greener...

I found myself arguing with the atheist commenters, some of whom showed no better critical thinking skills then the ignorant believers I have encountered here time and again. Atheists do not, on the whole, have much better critical thinking skills than the general populace. We don't see it until there is a disagreement, for until then it looks like we agree because we are good thinkers.

Confessing Our Hope

Here is the rss feed for the podcast:

HT: Jeff Downs


Floyd Mayweather recently said:
Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.
Floyd Mayweather is a good student but all the hype is because he's black. Asian students do what he does every night and don't get the same praise.

Krishna & Christ: part 9

Prof. Win Corduan has been doing a series on Krishna and Christ.

We've already posted part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, and part 8.

Here is part 9.

HT: Steve.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

John Loftus has drawn a line in the sand!

John Loftus has been on the warpath lately attacking William Lane Craig–in a classic case of biting the hand that fed him. Loftus entitles one of his posts:

Is William Lane Craig Dishonest With the Facts? I’ve Drawn a Line in the Sand

Sounds pretty intimidating, dontcha think? What does Loftus imagine would happen to Craig if he dared to cross the line that Loftus drew in the sand? Would Craig vaporize the moment his big toe trespassed the sandy line? Would Craig go up in a puff of smoke? Somehow I doubt Craig is terrified by the prospect.

And in another post, Loftus treats us to this doozy:

I know he’s not trying to convince anyone else that he experienced it. He distinguishes between knowing Christianity is true from showing it to be true.…A private subjective experience has no more evidence for it than none at all.

By that criterion, none of John Loftus’s memories count as evidence for what he experienced. His personal memories aren’t even convincing to himself that he experienced what he remembers having experienced. He may have memories of his mother, but that’s no more evidence for her than none at all.

After all, what’s past is past. At present, he has no direct access to the past–not even his own. In many instances, all that’s left are his private, subjective recollections. That’s all he can rely on at this juncture. 

"I don't get no respect, no respect at all...that's the story of my life"

Poor John Loftus is dissed by his fellow infidels:

Sex-Maniac Nation

Arab like me

The One True Church® behind closed doors

HT: TFan

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ecclesiastical priorities

As doubts about the Church’s infallibility had become more and more obsessive, I had become more and more certain that I would have to leave the priesthood, and perhaps the Church, sooner or later.
Meanwhile, I continued as best I could with the routine duties of the priesthood. Was it not hypocritical to each the doctrines of a church whose mission I was internally doubting? How could I advise penitents in confession to obey the rulings of a Church whose wisdom and authority I was myself questioning?
I saw the Archbishop on the 26th and told him that I could not continue as a priest because I no longer believed in Catholic doctrines; I did not even have faith in God, but could continue praying only in the way that someone stranded on a mountainside might cry out for help without knowing that there was anyone within earshot.
[Later] I then explained how as a student I had been dissatisfied with the accounts given in the textbooks of how we know that there is a God, and that faith began to seem to be a sacrifice of integrity rather than a virtue. I had papered over this difficulty with an existentialist type of approach, on the basis of which I had been ordained.
So the transition from priest to layman happened, in the end, very swiftly. It was within a week of receiving the official rescript from Rome that I took up my duties as a lecturer at Exeter and Trinity…
When I had been laicized, I had not been released from the Church’s law of celibacy. Hence, the date of my marriage was also the date of my–automatic-excommunication from the Church.

A. Kenny, A Path From Rome (Oxford 1986), 189,192, 196, 204,207.

This is a revealing window into the theological priorities of Rome. Losing faith in God wasn’t an automatically excommunicable offense. Although he was no longer a believer, he was still a member in good standing.

No, the truly inexcusable transgression was for him to marry a woman–even though by this time he’d formally and officially left the priesthood.

He was excommunicated on a technicality, for getting married.

Now, from my warped perspective as a Protestant, I rather think that being a Christian ought to be minimal condition for membership in a Christian church. (I’m talking about functioning adults, right now, not little kids or the mentally incompetent.)

But you can see how hopelessly skewed my priorities are. If Kenny had been an atheistic bachelor, he’d still belong to the One True Church–but for him to marry a woman, even though he was now a layman, is utterly intolerable!

One wonders what his ecclesiastical standing would be had he split the difference by having a mistress–or maybe a boyfriend.

Roger Dodger

A couple of bloggers have begun to document the unethical behavior of internet Arminians like Tim Rogers and Peter Lumpkins.  Because internet Arminians generally belong to a mutual admiration society, they need outsiders to keep them honest.

The End of Infidelity at Monergism

John Hendryx has kindly produced and hosted our review in some different formats:

The future's not what it used to be

Dr. Henebury initiated a friendly debate with me over covenant theological hermeneutics. I’ve already responded a couple of a times, but I think it would clarify the issues if we broaden the debate to take in certain operating assumptions that Henebury is using. I’m going to quote and comment on some of his statements from this post:

22. It forces one to adopt a “promise – fulfillment” scheme between the Testaments, ignoring the fact that the OT possesses no such promise scheme, but rather a more relational “covenant – blessing” scheme.

I believe he picked this up from Sailhamer’s recent book (The Meaning of the Pentateuch). However, I find this objection counterintuitive on the lips of a dispensationalist. After all, dispensationalists, including Henebury, criticize covenant theology for its alleged failure to do justice to the OT land-promises. If, however, Henebury deems it a mistake to cast the issue in promissory terms, if he doesn’t even think God made a promise to Abraham (and through him to Abraham’s posterity) to set aside a territorial inheritance, then I don’t see how he can’t fault covenant theology on that score. If he’s going to ditch the promise/fulfillment scheme and reconstruct dispensationalism according to a covenant/blessing scheme, then he needs to explain the status of the land non-promises under the new schema.

23. It effectively shoves aside the hermeneutical import of the inspired intertextual usage of an earlier OT text by later OT writers (e.g. earlier covenants cited in Psa. 89:33-37; 105:6-12; 106:30-31: 132:11-12; Jer. 33:17-18, 20-22, 25-26; Ezek. 37:14, 21-26).  God is always taken at face value (e.g. 2 Ki. 1:3-4, 16-17; 5:10, 14; Dan. 9:2, 13). 

I myself have been using intertextual OT exegesis to lay the groundwork for covenant theology.

28. The character of any being, be it man or angel, but especially God, is bound to the words agreed to in a covenant (cf. Jer. 33:14, 24-26; 34:18).  This being so, it would mean that God could not make such covenants and then not perform them in a way totally foreign to the plain wording of the oaths He took.

i) One problem with Henebury’s appeal to the “plain sense,” “plain wording,” or “face value” of OT passages is that Scripture sometimes depicts the future in present terms. For instance, Revelation describes combat in terms of ancient warfare. Yet dispensationalists don’t think that when the battle of Armageddon takes place, that will be a throwback to antique military technology.

Likewise, OT prophecy depicts battles between Israel and her traditional pagan adversaries. Yet dispensationalists don’t think that in the future, God will literally restore these ancient kingdoms. Rather, to my knowledge, dispensationalists update these prophecies and reassign them to modern counterparts.

ii) And that raises another issue. If the Bible sometimes portrays the future in present terms, then even if Scripture portrays an endtime battle in terms of Israel and Babylon (or whatever), that may simply be a literary convention. The use of stock imagery.

This doesn’t rule out a future battle, but it also doesn’t entail a battle between ethnic Israel and Russia or the Arabs.

23. This sets up an expectation that covenant commitments will find “fulfillment” in expected ways, certainly not in completely unforeseeable ones.
24. It forces clear descriptive language into an unnecessary semantic mold (e.g. Ezek. 40-48; Zech. 14).  A classic example being Ezekiel’s Temple in Ezek. 40ff.  According to this view it is not a physical temple even though a physical temple is clearly described.

i) This overlooks fatal ambiguities in Henebury’s appeal to the “plain sense” meaning of the text. Plain to whom? Future to whom?

Here he indicates it would be plain to the audience. Well, what would be plain to the audience? And which audience?

ii) Apropos (i), Ezk 40-48 is addressed to the Babylonian exiles. To the Jewish community in exile.

In what sense would it be plain to 6C BC Jewish exiles in Babylon that Ezekiel’s temple will be built at the tail-end of the church age? Is that their historical horizon?

iii) Henebury’s interpretation is quite anachronistic. That’s because dispensationalists subconsciously have a different view of the future than the original audience. What was future to Babylonian exiles is past to dispensationalists. We live in a different time. A later time. Much later.

Henebury’s knows that Ezekiel’s temple wasn’t built after the Babylonian captives returned to Israel. Knows it wasn’t built during the Intertestamental period. Knows it wasn’t built during the first advent of Christ. Knows it wasn’t built during the middle ages or the Renaissance. And so on and so forth.

Therefore, with the benefit of hindsight, given the past nonfulfillment of this ancient prophecy, he projects it far into the church age. Yet that’s a retrospective view of what, from the perspective of Ezekiel and his immediate audience, was prospective.

If we confine ourselves to the “plain wording” of the text and the expectations of the original audience, then assuming that this is an oracle about rebuilding the temple, wouldn’t they anticipate the fulfillment of that prophecy after they were repatriated? Henebury is transferring this passage to a completely different timeframe than the original audience would envision. And that makes sense to him given his own historical position. But what is past and future to him is hardly interchangeable with what was past and future to them. His now and then isn’t equivalent to their now and then.

Wouldn’t the Babylonian exiles expect Ezekiel’s temple to replace the ruins of Solomon’s temple–which was destroyed in the sack of Jerusalem? Wouldn’t they expect that to be fulfilled in the near term, once they reoccupied Jerusalem?

iv) Mind you, I don’t think that a “physical temple is clearly described.” What’s described is a vision of a temple. And, by definition, anything you see in a vision has to be picturable. That doesn’t make it ipso facto physical or prophetic.

But I’m granting Henebury’s characterization for the sake of argument. 

The new Exodus

I’m going to respond to this post:

Steve himself does admit that some scholars (he cites B. Waltke), do believe the NT reinterprets the OT (Not to be funny, but I’m not actually sure Hays is being fair to Waltke.  I think I read somewhere where Waltke said he did not believe this).

For examples where Waltke explicitly says what I attributed to him, see his Old Testament Theology, 560, 577.

With all due respect I think Steve is letting a presumed theological motif pass rudely over what the texts are really saying.  As I pointed out in Reason 37:
37. In reality what happens is that the theological presuppositions of the interpreter which are read into the NT text and then back into the OT.  There is a corresponding breakdown between what the biblical texts say and what they are assumed to mean.  Thus, it is the interpretation of the reader and not the wording of the biblical text which is often the authority for what the Bible is allowed to teach.
The truth is, something outside the texts he uses is making him see types that are not there.  Could that something be that he is “reinterpreting” the passages because of his commitment to letting his understanding of the NT dictate what the OT must say, and what God intended to say?  Perhaps not.  But in my experience and reading, that is what is going on.

I'd simply point out that this sort of accusation doesn't facilitate a constructive dialogue. And that's because the allegation is reversible. An amil or covenant theologian could level the same allegation against Dispensationalists, viz. the dispensationalist is imposing his theological precommitments on the text, is filtering the text through a dispensational grid.

Henebury's accusation does nothing to advance the argument. For both sides say that about the other. It begs the question.

Hays then links to Jer. 16:14-15, which houses a promise of return amid denouncement for sin.  I think he is correct to see a connection with Isa. 11 & 35, but there is no typology and no alteration in the “land-motif.”  Better places to go would be Jer. 30:1-10; 31:1-14, 21-16; 32:37-41; 33:14-26.  These show again that there is no typology and “territorial referents” are constant.   Steve’s “typology” of recapitulation is not there.  He has brought it with him.  This shows why one should never formulate doctrine from supposed “types.”

i) When the OT presents a new Eden or new Exodus motif, that, by definition, involves shifting territorial referents.

Instead of real Eden, Eretz-Israel takes the place of Eden. Instead of real Egypt, Babylon takes the place of Egypt. So the original territorial referents change.

ii) This is characteristic of a typical relation. In typology, one concrete thing symbolizes another concrete thing. In the new Eden motif, Eden now stands for Eretz-Israel. In the new Exodus motif, Egypt now stands for Babylon.

iii) This is more than just Edenic or Exodus imagery. Rather, you have the same plotline.

In the Edenic plotline, you have expulsion and restoration. In the Exodus plotline, you have captivity and deliverance.

iv) This, in turn, involves a type/token relationship, where the general type remains the same, but different tokens exemplify the same type. In this case, the type is the master plotline while the token is one particular way the same type can be exemplified in time and space. One time or place can substitute for another time or place.

A type is repeatable or multiply-instantiable. Specific instances of the same kind. In addition, each token represents the same type, like variations on the same plotline.

v) The fact that the OT has a new Eden or new Exodus motif tells us how the OT views the theological function of land in the first place. In the OT, land has this type/token significance. That’s why the OT can swap out one territorial referent while swapping in another territorial referent.

vi) I’d also point out that a theological motif is open to further development.

Steve does not think Israel is a type.

I didn’t say Israel is not a type. I didn’t affirm or deny that Israel is a type. I didn’t say one way or the other. Rather, I said we don’t have to view Israel as a type of the church to ground the unity of the Testaments.

More Discussion Of The End Of Infidelity, Including Comments From John Loftus

Late last week, I linked to a thread at TheologyWeb in which The End Of Infidelity was being discussed. For those who are interested, the discussion is still going on, and John Loftus has been posting there. There's also been some discussion of paranormal phenomena in the modern world, mostly the Eusapia Palladino case, but some other examples have been brought up as well. You can read the thread here.