Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birth Control, Bishops and Religious Authority

Here's a striking intramural debate within Catholicism (Gutting is a philosophy prof. at Notre Dame):

Why Apologize to Afghanistan?

Banadam and Eve

L'Osservatore Romano
22 February 2012

Today, at a news conference, Pope Benedict XVI issued The Chiquita Declaration. The Chiquita Declaration was drafted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Archbishop Rowman Williams immediately hailed The Chiquita Declaration as a “milestone in the rapprochement between science and theology.”

Ever since comparative genomics revealed the fact that man shares over half his DNA with bananas, there has been increasing pressure to reexamine and revise the traditional dogma of historic Adam.

Peter Enns recently published The Evolution of Banadam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins, while Tremper Longman published Science, Bananas and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origins.

As both scholars document, “Israel” is a corporate Banadam, while Gen 2 is just the backstory to Israel. Israel is Banadam.

As Francis Collins explained in a recent interview, “Science has traced our common ancestry back to Mitochondrial Eve and chromosomal Banadam. At some point in human evolution a banana mated with a hominid.”

He admitted that scientists hadn’t achieved consensus on the identity of the hominid.

“The two leading candidates are Australopithecus and Homo erectus,” he said.

In a recent interview with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury tried to reassure troubled Christians that this scientific and theological development was not a threat to the Christian faith.

“As long as God infused the banana with a human soul before the banana mated with Australopithecus or Homo erectus, the physical derivation of Banadam’s body is of no theological consequence,” he explained.

The selection from the reported first century fragment of the Gospel of Mark

Another writer has compiled an image of the new fragment from the Gospel of Mark along side the text from the  Codex Sinaiticus:

Here is how these passages (Mk 5:15-18) line up in the Codex Sinaiticus:


Another Reflection Of Our False Priorities

Hugh Hewitt had a good interview with Daniel Wallace on his radio program Thursday, concerning the recent New Testament manuscript discoveries. A lot of significant issues were discussed, and I won't get into all of them here. For example, Wallace mentions that one of the fragments discovered is from a homily on Hebrews, which has implications for how the book was viewed early on.

What I want to focus on here, though, is something Wallace said about media coverage of these manuscripts. First, let me set this up with one of Hewitt's questions and Wallace's answer:

HH: Wow. Now in terms of, for the lay audience, Professor Daniel Wallace, the significance of this work when it appears, how would you grade it, with an A being a Dead Sea Scroll sort of significance, and you know, flunking, it just doesn’t matter?

DW: I would grade it at least an A, maybe an A+.

And here's what Wallace said later:

At first, I thought well, gee, this news is going to get out. But there wasn’t much of a reaction after the first day or two. But it’s interesting to see that the interest in this, it has gone viral. It’s gone global. But what’s fascinating is you’re one of the few people that’s actually contacted me about it.

Wallace mentions that interest has "gone viral" and is "global", but how much and among what sources?

Imagine how much more the media would be going after this story if it were about, say, movies, sports, or politics. Think of the coverage received by Michael Jackson's death, the Super Bowl, a hurricane in Florida, etc. And it's not just the media. The general public doesn't have much interest in subjects like what Hewitt and Wallace discussed, and they don't know much about the issues involved. What a pathetic reflection on our society.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Islamification of America

Signs of the times

i) Debates between dispensationalists and covenant theologians tend to focus on texts. What makes a text meaningful? How does a text refer to future events? How is a promise or prophecy fulfilled?

Does meaning evolve? Does meaning change? Does an ancient oracle have a deeper, hidden meaning? Do NT writers discover more in their Messianic prooftexts than is really there to be found?

Is authorial intent the locus of meaning? If so, is the divine author or the human author the locus of meaning?

And what about the audience? Which audience? The original audience? The church?

ii) These are valid questions, but myopic focus on these questions is apt to overlook something equally important. For in the Biblical worldview, meaning and fulfillment aren’t confined to words and sentences. They can also apply to people, places, and events. Meaningful events as well as meaningful texts.

iii) For instance, in John’s Gospel Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish. He does this, in part, because the crowd is hungry, so he feeds them.

But he also does this to illustrate something about his person and work: he is the bread of life, the manna from heaven. It’s not coincidental that the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish precede the Bread of Life discourse.

Likewise, he heals a blind man. This is, in part, an act of mercy. But he also does this to illustrate something about himself: he is the light of the world.

In both cases, the event carries a metaphorical significance. The event is a sign. An object lesson.

iv) It is, of course, possible to have a textual interpretation of the event. But the event isn’t a pure cipher. The event is independently significant. In part because it’s a very natural, transparent metaphor for what it illustrates. In part because God intended the event to be illustrative.

v) Let’s take a different example: Obed. Is that name significant?

a) Well, considered in isolation, Obed is just a guy who died about 3000 years ago. At that level his name is no more significant than names in the 1920 edition of the NYC phonebook.

b) But what about this: “Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David” (Ruth 4:22).

In this context, Obed suddenly acquires an unforeseen circumstance. If you just knew him as a boy, you wouldn’t think there was anything special about Obed. But when he becomes the grandfather of David, he suddenly takes on new significance. He becomes significant in relation to his grandson. Because David is so important in Bible history, the fact that Obed is David’s ancestor makes Obed retroactively significant.

c) And what about this:

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king” (Mt 1:1,5-6).

Here Obed takes on a far greater significance. Not only is he a link in David’s genealogy, but a link in Jesus’ genealogy.

It’s only in retrospect that we can appreciate the full significance of Obed. For that’s constituted by a series of historical developments. 

The problem of answered prayer

Is unanswered prayer a problem?

i) To begin with, it isn’t even possible for God to answer all our prayers. And that’s because two people (or even the same individual at different times) can pray contradictory prayers. Two grandsons may pray for their ailing grandmother. One grandson prays that God will heal her while another grandson prays that God will take her. The first grandson prays that God will heal her because he will miss his grandmother if she dies. But the other grandson prays that God will take her becauses he thinks she will be better off to put this life behind her and be with God.

These are mutually exclusive prayers. Answering one cancels out another.

ii) In addition, who lives and who dies generates different future timelines. Say two teenage boys (let’s call them Jim and Tim) suffer life-threatening injuries in a traffic accident.

Both boys have a crush on Jessica. If Tim survives but Jim dies, Jessica will marry Tim. If Jim survives but Tim dies, Jessica will marry Jim. If both die, Jessica will marry John.

If both survive, Jessica will marry Tim while Jim will marry Jane. Each scenario will have a ripple effect down the line. Who lives and who dies will impact other lives down the line. The law of unintended consequences.

iii) Likewise, stopping to have a conversation with someone has a ripple effect. For that slows something down. If you didn’t stop to have that conversation, you and she would get to wherever you two were going a little sooner. And slowing things down has a ripple effect. It affects the timing of other events. One thing can only happen if something else happens at the right time. Like a tightly coordinated subway schedule. If a train is running late, that triggers a chain-reaction.

So God may not answer someone’s prayer because each answered or unanswered prayer generates an alternate future. And God prefers one future over another. (Indeed, God decrees one future rather than another.)

iv) But let’s bracket the issue of incompossible prayers. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that God answered every prayer. Suppose he was both able and willing to do that. Would infidels credit universally answered prayer as evidence for God’s?

According to infidels, God doesn’t answer any prayer unless he answers every prayer. They accuse Christians of sampling bias. We only count the hits, and discount the misses.

So suppose we always got what we asked for? Would infidels admit that was evidence for God’s existence?

I think not. If prayer operated with law-like uniformity, if it mimicked a cause/effect relationship, like a chemical reaction, wouldn’t infidels take that as evidence, not that God was answering our prayers, but that we had the mysterious natural ability to cause the outcome?

They’d say this only goes to show that humans have natural psychokinetic powers. It’s now a question of discovering the hidden mechanism.

To say “Goddidit” is a cop-out or science-stopper. There must be some natural explanation. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What did the first hearers hear?

I’m going to comment on several posts, beginning here:

As interesting as his post about “The Meaning of Meaning” is (btw, note the unavoidable equivocation: “meaning” in the first instance must be tacitly understood by the reader, but “meaning” in the second instance is in question.  This is one ‘restriction’ of language), it is an unnecessary rabbit-trail.

To isolate and identify the locus of meaning is hardly a rabbit trail when Henebury hangs his position on the “plain sense” or “face value” meaning of the text.

As it is, I agree with nearly all of the post but I think it avoids the real issue, which, remember, is “Does the NT Reinterpret the New?”  All I have from Steve thus far is “No, it ‘recapitulates’ it.”

I haven’t said the NT recapitulates the OT. Rather, I’ve documented examples of recapitulation within the OT.   

Doesn’t this strongly imply that the OT was not really for them, but for us?”  I want to avoid this.  I am uneasy, therefore, when Steve Hays says (my underlining):
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.

Henenbury’s reaction suggest to me that he failed to register the Fregean distinction between sense and reference, even though I explained that.

Back to the future

I believe that “the meaning of the prophecy” must be derived from the words and grammar employed in the situation in which they are used (just as in this correspondence or in any normal communication.
I hold that in the OT we can locate that meaning by paying attention to the words and sentences and paragraphs in context.  Thus, “Israel” means the nation God called by that name.

Once this view is adopted, any unity cannot, of course, be arrived at via plain-sense, law of identity interpretations.

Let’s take a test case, quoting some verses from Ezekiel’s famous oracles about Gog and Magog:

38 The word of the Lord came to me: 2  “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4  And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5  Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6  Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes— many peoples are with you.
11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. 13  Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’
21  I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man's sword will be against his brother.
39 “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2  And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand.
9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, 10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.

i) According to dispensationalists, this passage points to an eschatological battle at the end of the church age. But let’s pay attention to the wording of the passage:

ii) The battle is depicted in terms of ancient warfare, viz. archers, charioteers, bows, arrows, horses, cavalry, swords, bucklers, helmets, shields, armor, clubs, spears.

iii) The enemies are named after 7C BC kingdoms, people-groups, and political borders. Cf. Zondervan Illustrated Backgrounds Commentary (Zondervan 2009), 4:484-485.

iv) The socioeconomic setting envisions firewood, livestock, rural settlements (in contrast to fortified cities).

If, on the one hand, we think this prophecy will be fulfilled, at the earliest, in the 21C AD (or later), while, on the other hand, we think it “means what it says,” according to the “face-value” sense of the specific wording, then God must replicate the military hardware, political borders, and socioeconomic conditions of the 1st millennium BC. 

v) In my opinion, this is a clear case in which the future is envisioned, not in futuristic terms, but historic terms. Put another way, it projects present conditions into the future. By “present,” I mean the timeframe of the speaker and his immediate audience.

vi) But in that event, the reason that Ezekiel has cast the battle in terms of “Israel” and her enemies is because that’s part of the archaized depiction of the future. “Israel” is a placeholder for the people of God.

If a Bible writer is depicting the conflict between God’s people and their adversaries, and if he’s using imagery from the past to depict future events, then ancient “Israel” represents the people of God in this depiction, not because ancient Israel is the actual referent, but because those were the players at the time of writing. They fill in for whoever the actual people will be when the prophecy comes to pass.

The players change, but the play remains the same. Ezekiel is using ancient representatives because he’s referring to the future in archaic terms familiar to his immediate audience.

In that case, “Israel” is not a rigid designator for ethnic Jews, any more than “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish” will replicate their ancient counterparts. Rather, “Israel” is a stand-in for God’s people. It could just as well be Gentile Christians, or a combination of modern Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians.

In response to my objection, Henebury said:

The “ancient warfare” language could become up-to-date surprisingly quickly if, for some reason, there was no oil and electricity.  But I don’t know how it will all work itself out.  I just believe it shouldn’t be swept aside or spiritualized.  As I have said before, if Abraham had believed in typological interpretation he would not have taken Isaac up Mt. Moriah!
Even today Egypt is called Misr (derived from Mizriam) by the Egyptians themselves.  We still speak of Semitic peoples.  Some have studied the “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10 and identified modern descendents of the names mentioned there.  Even more liberal scholars are prepared to see some correspondence between the names in Genesis 10 (which they say comes from two or more sources) modern counterparts.  It is not impossible, therefore, that these “pagan adversaries” are alive today.  Whether their respective kingdoms need to be resurrected is debatable.

In fairness to Henebury, he was responding to a less detailed version of my objection. But as I’ve illustrated, the setting of Ezk 38-39 is systematically archaic. That’s because different periods of history are distinctive and holistic. They have integrated political and socioeconomic systems. The political borders in one century aren’t the same as the political borders in another century. You have invasion and migration.

Ezk 38-39 isn’t like one of those dystopian science-fiction films where you can still see the Manhattan skyline looming in the distance even though the ragtag survivors have reverted to a more primitive lifestyle. Rather, the world of Ezk 38-39 is clearly the ancient Near East–not the modern Mideast.

So Henebury’s hermeneutic is quite unstable. Not consistently faithful to the actual wording and “face-value” meaning of the text. Rather, we have an ad hoc, piecemeal effort to retrofit the text to modernity. Or maybe I should say, retrofit the text to dispensational eschatology.

Christ did not say to the earliest church, “I give you my authority”

Following up with my recent comments about Larry Hurtado’s work and in the context of what he’s called “earliest Christianity” (basically the first 100 years of Christianity), I want to mention a comment by K Doran, who provided the first comment in Andrew Preslar’s response to R. Scott Clark and Robert Godfrey had on “the Lure of Rome”. Doran is wrong in this comment:

One additional point is that the data of antiquity is sparse — it is almost certain that the vast majority of what was written has been lost, and that much of what was lived and believed was never written in the first place. In light of this sparseness, arguments that the data do not contain sufficiently explicit references to the precise definitions of transubstantiation, the papacy, etc before, say the late 300s, are completely useless arguments from silence. They tell us nothing either one way or another. Give me the same sample size from 30 A.D. to 330 A.D. that we have from 330AD through 630AD, and then we can talk clearly about development on subtle issues from the very early church to the church of late antiquity. But, with the data as it stands, all we can say is: (1) as soon as the data set gets rich in the late 300s, it looks quite obviously non-protestant even on subtle issues; (2) no one during that time complained that the obviously “Catholic” teachings were corruptions; (3) many people at the time did explicitly and implicitly state that these “Catholic” teachings had always been taught; and (4) the sparse data from the first 300 years do not by any means contradict what was so clearly taught in the late 300s and beyond (unless, again, one is to abuse the statistically impossible argument from silence in that sparse data).
In light of the above, the protestant approach to the data of antiquity is very inadequate in comparison to the Catholic one. There is a deep sense in which the majority of the data is Catholic. There is a deeper sense in which the Catholic church has had the confidence to be intellectually honest about the sparse data, applying arguments from silence when and where the data itself permits it, and ignoring silly arguments from silence where the data itself do not. I think this intellectual maturity is what many converts notice, even if they can’t explain it in words; to compare the Catholic embrace of the “mean” of history with the Protestant attempt to find a tiny niche in antiquity to call its own, is an eye-opening experience.

Rather, the New Testament provides for us an embarrassment of riches with respect to our knowledge of the earliest Church and antiquity. Roman Catholics like K Doran make a fundamental mistake in holding on to what Hurtado refers to the darkened pre-Constantinian centuries.

What’s really happening is that, in the first 100 years of church history, we see a picture of Christ-worship and an authority structure in the earliest church that is totally turned on its head, not by “subtle issues” as Doran says, but with true violence. Not all of it was intentional, but some of the Rome-ward and Pagan-ward drift was quite intentional.

There is no need for Protestants to make “arguments from silence” with respect either to “authority” or to what “the church that Christ founded” was really like. The Roman story – and even the Anglican story on “the episcopacy” has changed in recent years to reflect what’s now known about what he calls “the historical phenomenon” of both “Christ devotion” and the earliest church.

Both are now subtly fudging their account of how the episcopal structure came into being. It's important to note just how this fudge is being produced. 

Roman Catholics are fond of saying that the Roman Church is “The sole Church of Christ” that is, [the Church] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him…”

But as I noted last week, that’s a bait and switch. So too is the Anglican conception of “orders”. Some time ago, I cited Roger Beckwith in his work, “Elders in Every City: The Origin and Role of the Ordained Ministry” (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Press ©2003). Beckwith [an Anglican] noted what he called “fuzzy language” in the preface to the Ordinal in the Book of Common Prayer to describe the existence of “Bishops, Priests, and Deacons” in the church:

“It is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and the ancient Authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church” Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.”

Of this statement, Beckwith says:

This is a very carefully phrased statement which, through loose interpretation, has been misrepresented both by its defenders and by its critics.

For, in the first place, it does not say that this is evident to those “diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors’; in other words, it is evident from Scripture and the Fathers taken together, but not necessarily from one of the two taken singly. If we have difficulty finding the threefold ministry in the New Testament taken by itself, the preface does not say that we should be able to find it there.

In the second place, the preface does not say that “by the Apostles’ decision there have been those Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church” but from the Apostles time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church”; in other words, from the period before the last of the apostles died there have been three orders of ordained ministers; and the last of the apostles, St John, is stated by Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3:3;4) to have lived until the reign of Trajan, who did not become emperor till AD 98. Since the threefold ministry was [evident] when Ignatius of Antioch was writing his letters, about AD 110, it can hardly have arisen later than the beginning Trajan’s reign, in other words, later than the end of the apostolic age. So the preface to the Ordinal is stating the simple truth in saying that it dates from the apostle’s time. But how far the apostles were responsible for the development which took place is left an open question (Beckwith pgs 9-10).

Francis Sullivan, evidently in agreement with Beckwith and Kilmartin [whom I’ve cited earlier] and a raft of other modern scholarship on this topic of “authority in the earliest church”, concludes his work “From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church” (New York, Mahwah, NJ: The Newman Press, © 2001 by The Society of Jesus of New England [Jesuits]):

While most Catholic scholars agree that the episcopate is the fruit of a post-New Testament development, they maintain that this development was so evidently guided by the Holy Spirit that it must be recognized as corresponding to God’s plan for the structure of his Church (230).

On the contrary, the earliest history of the church shows a completely different “structure”, put into place by the Apostles and the earliest disciples. It was this “structure” that was cast aside in favor of an Episcopal structure that has its roots not in the authority structure that Christ left with his apostles, but rather, with the pagan and Roman world around them. As such, it is not a “divine institution” in any way, and the Reformers were clearly in the right to cast off the accretions.

Christ did not say to the earliest church, “I give you my authority”. He said, “go, and I will be with you”. There’s a big difference. 

Chester Beatty Papyrii (P45) and the Gospel of Mark
The Chester Beatty Codex of the Gospels and Acts (Chester Beatty Papyrus I, more
widely known as P45) was a find of sensational importance for the textual history of the
New Testament.  Like a flare bursting over a night-time battlefield, it cast light upon the
previously darkened pre-Constantinian centuries of the textual history of the New
Testament, forcing revisions of scholarly views on several major matters.  In one giant
step, P45 brought scholarship on the text of the Gospels from the mid-fourth century
practically to the doorstep of the second century.
 First made available to the scholarly
world in the 1933 edition by Frederic G. Kenyon, for New Testament scholars, P45 is the
jewel in the crown of the twelve Greek biblical manuscripts acquired by Chester Beatty
about 1930 (emphasis added).
My purpose here is to focus specifically on the relevance of P45 for the
textual history of the Gospel of Mark....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Types & shadows

Steve is less than clear about his view of the interpretative relation of the NT to the Old.  If he would make his view plain perhaps we could avoid any further misunderstandings?  It appears now that while he accepts types I should not say he believes in “shadows” (although I shouldn’t have to say that nearly ALL CT’s do!).  As I review his posts I notice many assertions of what he doesn’t believe, but not much on what he does mean (beyond seeing certain recapitulative motifs in Scripture).  Does he believe ethnic Israel will get the land promised to them in blessing for (at least) “a thousand generations” (Psa. 105:8)?  Does he believe Ezekiel’s Temple is a physical temple like Solomon’s?  If not, what is it?  Does he believe the covenants God made to Abraham (Jer. 33:22, 26), David (Jer. 33:17, 21, 26), and Phineas (Jer. 33:18, 21) mean what they say, or did God intend to couch these promises as types to be properly understood many centuries later?  And how does he know?

1) I haven’t said much about the interpretative relation between the OT and the NT because I’ve been trying all along to reorient the discussion away from how the NT interprets the OT to how the OT interprets the OT.

2) I think it’s appropriate to use the NT to interpret the OT. But we don’t have to start with that. We can start with how the OT interprets itself. That’s because I don’t think the NT writers have a distinctive hermeneutic, in contrast to the self-understanding of the OT writers.

3) Henebury has a tendency to overinterpret some of my statements. I didn’t say I don’t believe in shadows. Rather, I said I haven’t been using that category in my discussion.

i) That’s in large part because the shadowy category is generally used to compare and contrast the old covenant with the new covenant, and the focus of my discussion is not on how NT writers view the nature of fulfillment, but how OT writers view the nature of fulfillment. I don’t think there’s a fundamental difference in perspective. I don’t think NT writers “redefine” or “reinterpret” the OT. Hence, my discussion has centered on how OT writers understand the relationship between promise and fulfillment.

ii)Moreover, types and shadows aren’t an artifact of covenant theology. It’s a NT category. So both dispensationalists and covenant theologians have to come to terms with that.

iii) Furthermore, types and shadows are not synonymous:

a) For starters, the shadowy metaphor is chosen, in part, because shadows have directionality. When a tree casts a shadow, the shadow points in some direction. So the shadowy metaphor can be used to suggest foreshadowing. A predictive, forward-leaning emblem.

b) Secondly, shadows have an ephemeral connotation. A shadow tends to evoke a shadow/reality contrast. The rising sun casts early morning shadows, but when the sun is overhead, the shadows vanish. The reality supplants the shadow. Light and shade are fundamentally antithetical. One is present to the degree that the other is absent. More of one, less of the other.

By contrast, it’s possible for type and antitype to coexist. David is a type of Christ, but David didn’t cease to exist.

If I were going to discuss the typological relationship between the old covenant and the new covenant, I’d have to do a certain about of sorting: what’s a type and what’s a shadow? But that’s a digression from my main point.

4) Regarding Ezekiel’s temple:

i) I’ve discussed that (among other things) here:

But I’ll make some additional points:

ii) Before we’re in a position to talk about the specific interpretation of Ezekiel’s temple, we need to understand the general function of temples–or sacred space. For Ezekiel’s temple is a particular instance of a larger motif.

iii) Apropos (ii), the purpose of sacred space is to furnish a meeting point or meeting place between God and man. A place where God can be present with his people (e.g. Ezk 43:7).

So a temple is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. What’s essential is not the particular form, but the underlying function.

iv) This, in turn, raises the question of the level at which that motif will be fulfilled (assuming we view Ezekiel’s temple as prophetic).

I don’t think of a physical building as a fulfillment. Fulfillment has reference the goal, the telos. A physical building is just a means of illustrating something else, something more ultimate. It’s not the principle.

v) In addition, as numerous scholars have pointed out, the archetypal temple in Scripture is the garden of Eden. And it’s not incidental that Ezekiel’s temple includes a new Eden motif (47:1-12).

In that respect, Ezekiel’s temple is retrospective rather than prospective. It looks forward by looking backward. Where the future and the past come full circle. Restoring what was lost. A recapitulation.

Of course, this isn’t a replica of the past. It’s not cyclical in that sense (pace Eliade’s myth of the eternal return). Paradise regained will be better than paradise lost.

vi) So we don’t have to go to the NT, to Rev 21-22 (for instance) to appreciate the emblematic significance of temples. That’s already in place with Eden, given intertextual links between Eden and the tabernacle. That’s the Pentateuch interpreting itself.

Mind you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using Rev 21-22 as an interpretive lens to better understand Ezk 40-48. But you don’t have to begin with the NT.

vii) Keep in mind that visions are often analogical rather than representational. For instance:

Gen 37:5-7,9
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
Gen 41:1-7
 1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
 5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
Judges 7:13-14
13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
 14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
Dan 2:31-35
 31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
Dan 7:1-8
 1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
 2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
 4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
 5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
 6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
 7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
 8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
Dan 8:1-10
 1 In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 2 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. 4 I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great.
 5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. 7 I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. 8 The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.
 9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.
Zech 4:1-3,11-14
 1 Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. 2 He asked me, “What do you see?”
   I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. 3 Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”
11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”
 12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
 13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”
   “No, my lord,” I said.
 14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”

In all these cases, the fulfillment, the future counterpart, is analogical to the terms of the depiction. Not literally descriptive.

Why should I take Ezekiel's vision of the temple literally unless I take these other visions literally? For that matter, why should I take his vision of the temple literally unless I take his vision of the dry bones (Ezk 37) literally?

5) The land promises involve the same concept: sacred space. Eretz-Israel was “holy” in contrast to the neighboring lands. Cultic holiness.

So the land isn’t just a piece of real estate. Rather, it stands for the compresence between God and his people. That’s the level at which fulfillment operates. That’s the blessing. That’s the ultimate aim of the promise. To dwell with God.

6) I think that will have a concrete embodiment on earth. But it’s not as if, in the new earth, you will have a contrast between the sacred and the profane–where Jewish saints live on holy land while Gentile saints on unholy land. God will be present with his people wherever they live, in the world to come.

7) As to whether OT covenants “mean what they say, or did God intend to couch these promises as types to be properly understood many centuries later?”

i) To ask if they “mean what they say” is tendentious, for that prejudges what the author intends to convey. Both dispensationalists and covenant theologians think they mean what they say. That’s not the issue.

ii) Actually, dispensationalists drive a wedge between what the promises would mean to the original audience, and how they are properly understood many centuries after the fact.

Henebury is tacitly using his own century as the frame of reference. What is future to him.

But did the exilic community in Babylon think the fulfillment of Ezk 40-48 would be postponed until the end of the church age? Is that the “plain sense” meaning?