Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Falling Before a Block of Wood

John W. Loftus said:

Sure there was a fight. I don’t deny it. But there must be a reason why the Jews could so easily switch allegiences every few years back and forth from Elohim to Baal and back. What finally convinced the Jews was the exhile and the prophetic denouncements of the other gods, since the worship of these other gods must’ve been the reason why they went into captivity. If, however, the Jews had believed in Elohim and followed his prophets when they were carried off into captivity, then they would’ve concluded that it was because Baal was the true god and he was angry with them. Their final history was written by the victors of the war, anyway. But we can still see evidences of what they believed in the available text, that’s all. This is still just standard stuff here.

Loftus has the bad case of wanting to have his cake and eat it too. He relies selectively on the Biblical text. He wishes to derive Israel’s beliefs from the text, but then at the same time he tells us that “their final history was written by the victors of the war, anyway.”

Of course, his entire above paragraph is a hindsight speculation (Loftus tends to believe that if he can assert contrary to the inspiration of Scripture that he has successfully argued against it. I suppose there is a sense of security in this). But notice how this assertion differs from Loftus’ previous assertions. That is the way he works; when your first argument is refuted, simply act like that never happened and assert a new version.

At first, Loftus was arguing from the Biblical text (through a series of gross eisegetical readings) that “the Hebrew God is the head of the pantheon.” In other words, he was asserting that this is what the Bible teaches!

Having this statement effortlessly shoved back in his face by Gene, he now portrays a different picture. Now, he tells us, the race between Jehovah and Baal was a close one in the history of the Hebrew religion, but by some fluke Jehovah eventually won and Hebraic history was written accordingly with the appropriate interpretation of the events.

But the entirety of the Biblical literature portrays a completely different account of the events, including writings existent long before the exile. So Loftus’ only option here is to assume a radically liberal view of the dating of Old Testament texts, forcing him into the absolute minority of OT scholarship (not that he would be very concerned about such a description).

So let’s see what will happen next. What will the new version of Loftus’ argument be as it morphs and evolves each time it is crippled? In the meantime, let’s enjoy some subject-appropriate taunt literature from the mouth of Jehovah:

Isaiah 44 6Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”

9All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

12The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

18They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”

1 comment:

  1. Uh oh, Evan. Now the omniscient Loftus is going to claim that you haven't graduated high school!