Ice-Bucket Challenge: Defining when Life Begins and Ends

Ice-Bucket Challenge: Defining when Life Begins and Ends

Pouring ice-cold water onto ourselves is indeed a “bone-chilling” challenge. This has picked up steam nationwide with participation from regular folks, celebrities and even billionaire Bill Gates(1). Funds “have come from 1.7 million donors.The ALS Association (as of August 25) has raised $79.7 million to combat Lou Gehrig’s Disease since July 29, as the Ice Bucket Challenge continues to encourage people around the world to dump ice over their heads and send in money.”(2). This did not come without detractors from animal rights’ supporter like Pamela Anderson and others of different views , including those against embryonic stem cell research (3).

McClaren & Beeson (4,5) commented that “much recent interest has focused on whether stem cell therapy could alleviate or even cure common degenerative diseases. This has been accompanied by debate on the ethics of destructive research on early human embryos. Stem cells derived from various sources raise different ethical issues, but their contribution to medical research could be immense.” While there are tailwinds in using placental and adult tissue sources, headwinds to embryonic stem cell research surfaced and related to an issue not dissimilar to debates between pro-life vs. pro-choice and questions related to the other end of the spectrum, end-of-life.

When life is defined as beginning at conception, rights are conferred at that time and had to be championed and supported (6). Similarly, end-of-life issues bring to bear the rights of those still “living” even in a “vegetative state” or, for any other reason, at the throes of death. In our healthcare system, private and public resources are at stake to fund efforts to support, terminate or prolong life. Reflexively, what then follow are moral values, religious overtones, socio-political agenda, personal upbringing and citizenship that stoke the fire of controversy. When does life really begin and when does it end, are questions that rise to a decibel of priority for society , whether personal or national.

This post is not about casting aspersions nor endorsing the merits of either side of the debate, a controversy aplenty (7,8,9,10,11,12,13). Rather, the goal is to give pause to the animus, make time for reflection and provide salutary perspective. Some may not like to hear the truth, but somehow, one needs “to tell how the cow ate the cabbage”, a Southern catchphrase. This subject is a difficult one to resolve in its entirety and we will not be able to “carry forests on my back” but at least let us put a “crack” on this “nut“(14). People have to muster gumption to tackle this dilemma of “when life begins and ends“. It is a yeoman’s task to venture on finding a balance among different perspectives, biblical or secular, cerebral or emotional they may be. That said, one recognizes the consequences emanating from issues about pro-life/pro-choice and life/death dilemma.

Consequences

Incidents of violence have included destruction of property, in the form of vandalism; crimes against people, including kidnapping, stalking, assault, attempted murder, and murder; and crimes affecting both people and property, including arson and bombings” (15). In the U.S., violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort” (16). “Another abortion doctor, George Wayne Patterson, was shot and killed outside an adult movie theater in Mobile, Alabama on August 21, 1993, but authorities attribute his death to a botched robbery“(17). Other links are accessible regarding the problem (18,19,20).
End-of-life issues also affect society’s responses to longer longevity that “presents unprecedented ethical and fiscal challenge“, rationing healthcare, hospice care, etc.(21,22,23,24). Disregard for life may lead to the horrors and slippery slope of euthanasia and assisted suicide according to Krauthammer (25, 26,27).

Who defines?

All things considered, the trunk-of-the-tree origin of these conflicting positions stems from the question “when does life begin and end?“. While progress in scientific knowledge, like ultrasound, helps us determine a “functioning entity” in the womb, does life really begin “at conception“? Pro-lifers use biblical passages frequently to make the case for human life beginning at conception(28,29). Consider the following excerpts:

Luke 1:39-44: Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: “…And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy”. (N.B. Does heart beat, motor function like “fetal kick”, response to pain sensation or Mozart effect in the womb constitute or define “life”?
And for that matter, do dummy patient simulators with heart beat, etc.,have life?(30)

Psalm 139:13–16
For You formed my inward parts:
You covered me in my mother’s womb….My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret….Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed….The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

Jeremiah 1:4–5
…“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;….”

Psalm 51:5
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”

All the preceding verses confirm the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God Almighty. They are related to specific people who were already born and were living. They did not define when life begins, as these verses also include the period ” being yet unformed, “as yet they were none of them, “before formed in the womb“. It appears to be a stretch of one’s imagination to assume that the preceding verses support that “life” begins at conception. Moreover, this extrapolation minimizes other verses that actually define it. Let us now consider the following and comments that follow:

Gen. 2:7
•And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul/being”.

Notice, that a fully formed Adam from the “dust of the ground” was still “non-living” until the “breath of life” got into him from God. Then, he became a “living being“. This is akin to a “still birth” baby who was not breathing and therefore “non-living“. Or, a fully formed baby immediately after delivery, cyanotic and not breathing , no life in it although with heart rate and brain activity, “non-living“, but after a few seconds, with or without resuscitation, started to breathe in natural air as an evidence of “life“. This also reminds us of patients that are “brain-dead“, in a vegetative state, with flat-line EEG, sustained only by life-supporting means like ventilator and/or therapeutic interventions. Yet, when ventilator is turned off, they do not breath spontaneously, no natural breathing and subsequently declared “dead“, i.e., not breathing or no breath of life. Atmospheric air has to be breathe into, “before life begins”. It is arguable that by virtue of the oxygen derived from the mother, i.e., fetal respiration, that this is “breathing“. But, this denies the biblical definition of “living“, viz., presence of functional lungs (mature or premature) that have to breathe in natural and environmental air. The breath cycle continues until the last breath at death. Breathing air defines and sustains life. “In with your very first breath, out with your very last”(31). Without this “breath of life“, a person is “non-living”, as in:

Job 34: 14-15
“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust“. ( N.B. Without breath, the flesh is dead).

Ecclesiastes12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

Psalm 146:4
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.”

Also, notice the function of this “breath of life” to the “non-living“:

Ezekiel 37:9-10, 13-14
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
(N.B.the word “spirit” comes from “ruwach” from 07306 in Concordance meaning breath or wind).

Schwartz concurs, “there is nothing in the bible to indicate that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue and, according to scripture, it does not become a living being until after it has taken a breath” (32).

Also, notice the following controversial verses:

Exodus 21:22–24
If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” ( NB. When the “child” is viable and delivered prematurely but “no harm” done, then compensation maybe sought by the husband since the fetus did not mature to full term; if any “harm” follows after birth as when the fetus perished, then life for life, etc. In this accidental death after birth, the key point is viability by natural means to exact redress at that time. Today, by artificial means, fetal viability can be extended as a dying person’s life/suffering can be prolonged. However, this example should not be used to justify voluntary/intentional abortion, especially to viable fetus still in the womb).

Numbers 5:11-31
…. And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; ….. ” (N.B. This is what is generally known by biblical scholars as an “adultery test” by ritual of intentional abortion performed by a priest through drinking “bitter/curse water“. But this is not done anymore, even by priest; it has ceased a long time ago(33). Similarly, if Jewish priest discontinued this practice, all the more reason for this not be used to justify abortion by anyone, through pharmacological means.)

Job 3:3, 10-11, 16
“Let the day perish in which I was born. … Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from my eyes. Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the spirit when I came out of the belly? … Or as an untimely birth I had NOT been; as infants which never saw light.” ( NB. According to Martin & Sielaff (34) in their commentary, “…fetus was reckoned as “NOT HAVING BEEN” — and that is how God and the Bible defines the status of the fetus.”

Nonetheless, I do not support the connotation of outright disregard for fetus nor should it be summarily disrespected. The alternative interpretation may well be that Job may just be too remorseful for his suffering that he wished “NOT HAVING BEEN”; this was Job’s wish and not God defining the status of the fetus or how we should regard it.) From the same link, (which I could not confirm,) “An April 8, 2004 United Press International reported about this limitation:
At what point is a human fetus viable? … a government witness testified in U.S. District Court in Nebraska that a 20-week fetus can feel pain, suggesting the fetus is a living being. Neonatology specialists have countered, however, that a 20-week fetus cannot yet survive outside the mother’s womb. … [Dr. Avroy] Fanaroff 2 [notes], ‘There may be a beating heart, there may even be some gasping attempts at breathing, but this is not a baby that can be resuscitated — it is not viable,’ … ‘such signs of life typically ‘last only seconds.’ …What, then, differentiates between live birth and viable birth? The maturity of the lungs, Goldsmith said. ‘It is the ability of the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide,’ he said, which explains the reason why a non-viable fetus in 1973 can be a viable baby today.”On viability 3 See http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040406-051104-8080r.htm.

Difference in counting child’s age among cultures
In Jewish culture, “.…it is their day of birth (or the year in which they first exited the womb) that gives them a legal existence. Thus, for a man to be able to go to war he had to be twenty years of age, or a priest to commence his official duties had to be thirty years of age. These ages for legal purposes were always reckoned from birth, not from conception. The reason for this is plain. No one could be sure in all cases just when conception took place, and even if one knew the exact moment of conception, for legal purposes one had to wait to be born to enter human society.“(35).

In Korea, China and East Asia, “..the countdown of children’s age does not begin with the birth of a child, like in the West, but starts in the beginning of the year, rounding up the time spent by a child in the mother’s womb. In addition, people become older not on the day of birth, but on January 1st, according to the lunar calendar. For example, a child born in late December of 2013 will turn two on January 1st, 2014“(36).

Summary

Now that the major elements firing the debate have been presented, the question still remains as to what the correct response should be? The decision to act, one way or another, for anyone at the crossroads of this question may still be problematic for any particular set of circumstances. Without being facetious, when one reaches “the fork of the road“, Yogi Berra(37) quipped,”take it”. But which side of the fork should one take? Even the advice from Apostle Paul about moderation (Phil. 4:5) may not suffice to confer peace of mind. Raw courage is needed to face criticism of whatever action one takes, as there will always be “Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley’d and thunder’d” as in “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Tennyson (38).

As one may now deduce, the operative word for when life begins and ends, is “natural“,i.e., natural development to viability, not ex-vivo or in-vitro; natural breathing, not fetal respiration nor through artificial means; natural air, even augmented, but not artificial. How then should one respond to the biblical truth that breathing air defines and sustains life? “In with your very first breath, out with your very last”. The advice from Martin & Sielaff resonates well, “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his [God’s] reward” (Psalm 127:3).

Adoption should always be considered, so someone else can receive the “reward” from God. Life is important. Christians should respect it very highly. Not only should they recognize the sanctity of their own lives, but they should acknowledge that God has granted the same life to all in the world. All people should be honored and respected. This is a Christian duty which no one can deny.”(39). When the choice is between the life of mother vs. the fetus, there should be no hesitation that life of the mother takes precedence; there maybe exception even on this that we may not know, as in, the mother gives up her life for the fetus. As to rape and incest, adoption is a better alternative; here again, there can be exception and the victim needs tremendous emotional support to overcome an excruciating experience. A non-breathing baby just delivered and an adult who had a cardiac arrest should also be resuscitated to life. After sometime, how long artificial breathing should continue would depend on other factors, most especially the ability to be weaned off respirator and breathe spontaneously. Currently, with technology, the status of brain activity helps in decision-making. Similarly, judgment has to be made regarding sources that potentiate stem cell research depending on overwhelming evidence for “overall good”. Failure to act can delay progress to the detriment of population that needed it most. Vaccine and immunization have detractors, yet society as a whole decided in favor of general use; again this has exception, especially invoking the 1st( religion) and 4th ( privacy) amendments rights. When it comes to “euthanasia and assisted suicide”, our stance should be to advise against these methods. But, who will have the final say? Should it be the patient and/or immediate relative, society or the “death-provider“? Not privy to all the facts surrounding every case and in whatever action is decided by the “stakeholders“, one should not be judgmental but, in love, be commiserating and (sans approval) empathizing with the difficulties in arriving at any decision. True, one should not be dogmatic nor flexible every time and be mindful of the cautionary verses in

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 :
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Defining when life begins and ends just opens doors. What action plan for any specific situation may still leave us with conflicted conscience and second-guessing. Hopefully, people will choose life and seek an obstetrician, rather than death from an obitiatrist (death-doctor)(40). Flee from temptation. Decide we must, is an “ice-bucket challenge” for all of us.

References:
1. Retrieved from: http://youtube/XS6ysDFTbLU

2. Retrieved from:http://time.com/3173833/als-ice-bucket-challenge-fundraising-total/

3. Retrieved from:http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/ice-bucket-challenge-haters-110298.html

4. Retrieved from:Anne McLaren. Nature 414, 129-131 (1 November 2001) | doi:10.1038/35102194

5. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648310606475

6. Retrieved from :http://www.nrlc.org

7. Retrieved from:Why is abortion so controversial? http://news-basics.com/2011/abortion/

8. End of life controversies. Retrieved from:http://ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/18/5/401.1.full.pdf
85% of hospital trusts adopt controversial end-of-life care regime

9. Retrieved from:http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/85-of-hospital-trusts-adopt-controversial-endoflife-care-regime-8273345.html

10. Baby Joseph.Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/baby-josephs-treatment-sparks-controversy-pediatric-end-life/story?id=13032001

11. Terri Schiavo case. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case

12. Survey of Controversial Issues.
Retrieved from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24093519

13. New and Lingering Controversies in Pediatric End-of-Life Care. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/4/872.abstract.

14. The mountain and the squirrel: retrieved from: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-mountain-and-the-squirrel-by-ralph-waldo-emerson#ixzz3AvpOfLJS

15. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence

16. Retrieved from:Clinic violence and intimidation”. NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. 2006. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010.

17. Man Arrested in Killing of Mobile Abortion Doctor. Retrieved from:The New York Times. September 5, 1993.; H. Kushner, Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Sage Publications, 2003, p.39.

18.”Mental Health Risks of Abortion: Scientific Studies Reveal Significant Risk of Major Psychological Sequelae Of Abortion” . Retrieved from: http://www.wprc.org/21.46.0.0.1.0.phtml.

19. “The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion”. Retrieved from: http://www4.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/medicalinfo/abortion/fact-010600-emoteff.xml#1097838460671::-3808445079817008491.

20. Retrieved from:http://www.justfacts.com/abortion.asp#%5B184%5D

21. Callaghan, D. and Lawler, P., Ethics & health: Rethinking end-of-life care, Retrieved from:http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/ethics-and-health-care-rethinking-end-of-life-care

22. Shepherd, Lois Rationing health care at end-of-life. Retrieved from: http://web1.millercenter.org/debates/whitepaper/deb_2010_0324_life.pdf

23. Ration end-of-life care. Retrieved from: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/iq2-tv/item/769-ration-end-of-life-care

24. Debate on hospice care. Retrieved from: http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/4/3/153.full

25. Krauthammer, Charles. The Dutch example, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics – 13 edition, Chapter 9, ISBN13: 978-0385349178
ISBN10: 0385349173, Publisher: Crown Business, Published: 10/22/2013

26.The lady of Assen and Dr Chabot in Holland. Retrieved from:http://articles.philly.com/1997-01-15/news/25560299_1_terminally-euthanasia-dutch-doctors

27. A Judge In Washington State Says The People Had No Right To Veto Mercy Killing by Charles Krauthammer. Retrieved from: http://articles.philly.com/1994-05-17/news/25826934_1_personal-dignity-and-autonomy-physician-assisted-suicide-abortion-decisions

28. Tommy Mitchell,Retrieved from:https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/when-does-life-begin/)

29. When life begins. Retrieved from: http://www.openbible.info/topics/when_life_begin

30.One Smart Dummy: Patient Simulators Help Save Lives. Retrieved from: http://rushnews.rush.edu/2014/09/02/one-smart-dummy-patient-simulators-help-save-lives/

31. Life Begins at Breath, Not Conception
, originally posted by Will McLeod on Mar. 19/2014 ; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/19/1285933/-Bible-Life-Begins-at-Breath-Not-Conception

32. Retrieved from: http://joeschwartz.net/life.htm

33. Retrieved from: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordeal_of_the_bitter_water

34. Abortion and the Bible by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., July 1991
Edited and expanded by David Sielaff, February 2005.
Retrieved from:http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050201.htm

35. Ibid

36. Retrieved from:http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/16-07-2013/125145-korea_children-0/

37.Retrieved from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/y/yogiberra105761.html

38. Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Tennyson. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html

39.Retrieved from:
http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050201.htm

40. Obitiatrist: Goodman, Ellen. Retrieved from:http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-12-28/news/1993362063_1_word-for-death-happy-mistakes-column

God bless🙏😇

Original post: September 10, 2014

Hyperlink version posted April 22, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Paris, meaning “Our Lady of Paris“), often referred to simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Ile de la cite in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, and the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style.

April 15, 2019, 18:30 local time, will be remembered as “the day when religious artifacts were saved from a heart-rending conflagration of catastrophic proportion of this iconic symbol of Catholicism. “Religious artifacts Fournier and other firefighters helped save, according to accounts of witnesses confirmed by his employer and the city’s mayor’s office, were the Blessed Sacrament (used during church services to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ) and the Crown of Thorns (purportedly worn, Catholics believe, by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion).” Rose window is restorable as well.

“The 850-year-old Gothic Notre Dame cathedral’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved, officials say.”

We will rebuild Notre-Dame because that’s what the French people want,” President Emmanuel Macron vowed late Monday night. “That’s what our history deserves, because that is our destiny.”

Place for communion with God

The Christian world was devastated and filled with grief and anguish from the tragedy that has befallen this jewel of medieval Gothic architecture“. And rightly so, as traditionally, church buildings are considered to be the “place to have communion with God”. But, how did it become so? How did we confer reverence to a church building? Historically, this utmost regard for a building has its origin in Judeo-Christian culture that dates back millenniums ago.

It started off as a tabernacle, a residence or dwelling place of God(YHVH Elohim”) described in Exodus 25–31 and 35–40. This was set up subsequently in Shiloh and from there onwards “After 440 years, Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God.It has a special domain calledtemenosmarked off and dedicated to a god.

Temporary dwelling

While directed to be God’s abode, this place was used only as needed and temporarily. He did not stay there or in-dwell in it for a long time. This transient stay suggestive of its temporary nature as a place to worship and have communion with God. This temple functions as a template for a future place where God will take up residence. As prophesied,

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,“(Acts 7:48)

Instead, he in-dwells in a place that he himself set up in us, the real you. And, that was done by YHVH Elohim/Lord God from the very beginning, not with hands“, but by breathing into man’s nostrils thebreath of life/spirit-of-man. As God is divine, this human component is the only divine part of man, as other parts are “matter-composed”.

As the holy-of-holies is a unique and special part of the “template tabernacle”, so is this divine component of man a special place in man where God planned to dwell. This is the precise place where God is starting to build the God-kingdom, in human anatomy.

Summary

As great as the tabernacle and Jerusalem temple were as a place to commune with God, they were temporary dwelling at best. The Creator God will in-dwell as promised in the “holy-of-holies” in man, to start the process of creating a God-kingdom, all spirit-composed, immortal, and with overall dominion on creatures on earth, including angels.

God Bless🙏😇

Original post: April 19, 2019

Hyperlink version

Passion of Christ

Today, I finally got to see Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ. It was a powerful and moving experience to see what the Pope allegedly described as“it is as it was” and for which Billy Graham wept. While it is a fiction, though based on a true story, one cannot but praise Mr. Gibson for his courage, perseverance, tenacity and indomitable spirit in producing and directing this film, in spite of headwinds in the Hollywood culture. Box-office gross revenue shows that the film was a blockbuster and still raking in profits. True to what his plan was, Mel emphasized, as best he could in a graphic way, the physical torture Jesus suffered in the hands of Roman soldiers before his death.

Traditional teaching:

That Jesus died as a propitiation for the sins of all humanity, who lived in the past-present-future, is a basic Christian doctrine known to many. That he paid with his own pristine life for the penalty of sin, which is eternal death, for the whole humanity to be reconciled to God the FATHER is well known and has been emphasized for sometime. That he existed as LOGOS prior to his human birth is a well-accepted tenet among Christians, testified to in John 1:1. However, the truth and significance of Jesus’ death came to be understood only later and mainly through the exegesis of Paul. But, what has not come to the radar screen and scrutiny of established religion was the reason known at that time that got Jesus killed in the first place. What was the rallying force that made the people at that time to come together in unison to kill him? What did Caiaphas, the High Priest, know and what role did he play to bring to finality the death of Jesus Christ? The truth will surprise anyone who is bold enough to open his/her eyes and ears to these facts written in the Bible, yet not emphasized. Knowing the truth will give us proper perspective on who we are, our destiny, what our attitude and behavior in this life should be.

Consider the following:

#1: Blasphemy was the Reason

In John 10:30-35, one reads that Jesus was being stoned for blasphemy. This was also the only accusation against him before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod, that had unifying and broad support of the masses. What was this blasphemy? Coming from his accusers, they said,“you being man ( flesh-and-blood) make yourself God.” Yes, it was blasphemy to them for someone who is human to claim he is “god”. All through the ages, the people at that time were taught that God is spirit. Yet, they saw Jesus, flesh-composed, as human as they were. Also, they were grounded on the Shema doctrine that Lord God/YHVH Elohim is one. How then could Jesus also be God? That would make God more than one, a claim that was unfathomable to them. Naturally, the people were seething mad and came together as an angry mob to kill him. As expected as that reaction was from the masses, what was more poignant and amazing was how Jesus retorted. He said, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods?, and the scripture can not be broken”. Let us pause at this time, evaluate, analyze and think what Jesus just said. Christ, the reservoir of truth, the one who was with the Father from the foundation of the world, the way-the-truth-and-the-life, classified man ( even as flesh/composed, not spirit-composed) as…what?…god!

Putting it plainly, Jesus was correcting their mistaken understanding of what the meaning of the word “god” is. Even while flesh-and-blood (man), they are also “gods”. Jesus, even as man, is also classified as “god” and therefore not committing blasphemy. That was a new revelation to them. Basic Christianity teaches that we were created to be in the kingdom of God and that we were created to be like Christ. But, no one in memory have I heard in any organized religion that says man is classified as god, i.e., already in the God-kind while still in the flesh as Christ was. Man is classified in the God-kind, in the kingdom of God and not in any other kingdoms like the “plant-kingdom” nor “animal kingdom”.

When one goes back to the narrative in Genesis, it is obvious that after non- living objects were created, viz., the cosmos, God subsequently created living things, i.e., plants, water animals and land animals. And, they were to reproduce only after their own kind, i.e., principle of Genetics. Plants can only have plants after their image/likeness or “plant-kind“, as animals can only beget animals after the “animal-kind“. Then, God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (1). And so, man became in the “image of God”. Notice that living things like plants reproduce after their own plant-kind, as animals reproduce after their own animal-kind. While there are many species of plants and animals in their particular “kingdom” or “family”, they are all unique in each class. A rose-plant cannot become an hydrangea-plant, as it is impossible for a dog to beget a cat. And, when it came to man, the reproduction was not after the plant-kind nor the animal kind but in the“god-kind”, as in, “..man after our image…” (2). Notice, in the god-image, not in the man-image, even for the sake of argument of paleontologists that there was man before Adam. Indeed, as plants in the plant-kingdom are called plants, and animals in the animal-kingdom are called animals, so man in the god-kind can rightfully be called and classified as “god”. This was what Jesus testified to, about man, as in, “…I said ye are gods…”(John 10:34). Our Creator God has planned and is in the process of reproducing the god-kind through man, a template. Truly, man is in the phylum, class or kingdom” of God, in the god-kind, in the kingdom-of-God. And this august status of man was planned by God from the very beginning of time, even before we were born, even before you and I have done anything right or wrong. What a marvelous gift from God to put us in that high-esteem and category among his creation, a manifest expression of his love and grace for all humanity! This is why our attitude, behavior and responses must be consistent with one being in the “family or kingdom of God.

Blasphemy was the charge for which Jesus was condemned to death. Classifying man as god was blasphemyfor which Jesus was crucified. To them at that time (and even currently), that revelation of Jesus was farthest from the truth. Actually, according to Jesus, the Savior (3), he was god as Logos/Creator (4) before his incarnation, was god as man/Immanuel(5), was god as Christ(6)/ human/flesh, and still is God as High Priest Melchizedek(7)/resurrected Son of God/spirit and in the “right hand” of the Father God. His “deity” did not change; it was his body that changed from flesh-composed to spirit-composed, from “mortal-to-immortal”. For centuries and for many generations, we were distracted from the focus man’s destiny deserves.

# 2: Caiaphas knew Jesus as the Messiah

In John 11:47-53, one finds that there was a debate as to what do withblasphemous Jesus”. Then, Caiaphas who was the High-Priest at that Passover time “prophesied” that one man should die for that nation, the children of God scattered abroad, v-52, and the whole world (8). Notice, killed for the nation as well as “other nations”. That suggests that Caiaphas considered this role of Jesus as Messiah Savior. As a High Priest at that time with the highest influence on the Sanhedrin, he must have orchestrated, then convinced and mobilized the chief priests and Pharisees about who Jesus was and conspired together for Jesus to be killed, as in “… from that day on they planned together to kill Him.“(NASB). Who else could do that except a powerful High Priest? He then implemented, with their help, a plan of killing this true human-Passover( not an animal/lamb Passover) at the right time, day and year that many lambs were being slaughtered in Jerusalem. As High-Priest bound by his annual duty, he plotted to kill the Passover to be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of all. Only the High-Priest can offer this Passover sacrifice through the “holy-of-holies” ( the 3rd segment of Jerusalem temple, a type or foreshadow of the 3rd heaven abode of the Father), once a year for all Israel. When the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (9), this signifies Jesus’ flesh/body (10) being torn and the blood of the true Passover offered to the Father through the anti-type or real “holy-of-holies”by Jesus (the true High Priest after his resurrection, replacing human High Priest) himself after resurrection. Yes, directly from Caiaphas came the testimony that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah/Passover. All Israel and the world must take heed. No need to wait for another Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah/Passover for all. Yes, propitiation for Jews and Gentiles. That was why, both Jews and Romans killed Jesus, not just Jews as some claimed.

Summary

Blasphemy was the charge Jesus was killed for. This was an erroneous and concocted charge that resulted from the failure of those people at that time to accept the truth about this concept of the God-kingdom, i.e., that man (as flesh as Jesus was) belongs to the god-kind and can accurately be called god or classified in the “phylum, class or kingdom” of god. Jesus, even as man/flesh, did not commit any sin, much less the sin of blasphemy, by classifying himself as god, as He did others. The Logos/Word/Creator (4) took off his spirit-body, but not his deity, i .e., still “god” and became man to be obedient unto death” (11). Otherwise, without incarnation as human, he would not have died (12). Jesus was “created into the image of God”, as man was (13). He is the precursor (the ” beginning-and-the-end, the Alpha and the Omega the one who started and will bring to fruition) for the creation of the god-kind, god-kingdom. This concept that man should be classified as god is not dissimilar to the fact that, as we were created as flesh, and so Jesus had to. As we are humans, so did Jesus incarnate and became human. We will follow the path of our leader, “author and finisher” of our salvation(14). After death, Jesus subsequently “changed”into spirit-body, as others will, being similarly promised. First, Jesus (the first/best of firstfruits/wavesheaf), then the“firstfruits” (15), at his coming to start the Millenium, then finally after the Millenium the latter-fruits in “a twinkling of an eye” (16) from mortal to immortal, from flesh to spirit-body. He is our Elder Brother(17) and we are members of his body, the “church”. Indeed, among the “gods“, there is none like him (18), the YHVH/Creator God Jesus; He is God of all Gods and Lord of all Lords (19) in the Old Testament. We should bow to no other gods (20) but YHVH in Old Testament times. When this YHVH incarnated into Jesus, he introduced his Father (Father/Son relationship) and directed us to pray to Him in his name. All of us in the God-Kind, with Jesus-God, will subsequently in the “new heaven and earth” kneel down and worship only the sovereign Father God (21).

Caiaphas, the human High Priest, in his official capacity, offered him as a Passover on the same day and year as prophesied. This ended the human priesthood and Jesus replaced this flesh-composed human High Priest (Caiaphas) to an immortal, spirit-composed High Priest, Jesus. And, this to form spirit-composed priesthood.

Being the True Passover/Messiah, His death is the fulfillment of the prophecy that a Passover-lamb (22) has to die and be offered as a sweet savor” (23) for the sins of all, to reconcile (24) man to the Father. As death came to all because Adam sinned, so then his sin came to be reckoned by the Father and imputed to all (25). Conversely, Jesus’ death, which is a penalty for sin, was then imputed by the Father to all and for “many offenses”, in faith, as though we died and paid for the penalty of sin. As a Passover-Lamb,  he was killed for us and his “blood cleansed us of our sins” fulfilling the “type” of  narrative in Exodus when the “death-angel passed over” and did not kill the “firstborns” of Israel. His death reconciled us to the Father and initiated or began the road to our salvation, and it will be finalized to save us. Jesus is the “beginner and finisher” of this plan.  It was his resurrection or “through his life” that empowered him to receive from the Father and subsequently send the Spirit to humans as the Father promised. Without his resurrection, the Spirit would not have been sent. A living/live/resurrected/immortal/ spirit-composed Jesus has to receive it directly from the Father. And, as a human, he had to die first. Remember what he said, and I am paraphrasing, ”it is expedient that I die and be resurrected to go the Father” ? Salvation is a process brought about by and through the action of the Spirit sent to mankind for the first time at Pentecost (26) to nurture, develop and sanctify our spirit into the fullness of the “body of Christ“. Indeed, we “shall be saved through his life” (24); …”in Christ shall all be made alive” (25). He will ” finish” what he started.

As we contemplate on the agony of his suffering and mourn his death, let us rejoice in his resurrection and thank God for his love/grace and “faith of” (27) Jesus.

References: Retrieved from the Bible, King James Version.

1. Gen. 1:26. 2. Gen. 1:27. 3. Matt. 1:21. 4. John 1:1. 5. Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23

6. I John 5:1; Matt. 16:16. 7. Heb. 5-7; Ps. 110:4; Gen. 14:18. 8. I John 2:2

9. Matt 27:51. 10. Heb 10:20. 11. Phil. 2:8. 12. I Cor. 15:12. 13. Heb 2:6-9

14. Heb. 5:9; 12:2. 15. I Cor. 15:23. 16. I Cor. 15:52. 17. Heb 2:11-12

18. Ps. 86:8. 19. Deut. 10:17. 20. Ex. 20:3. 21. Eph. 3:14. 22. I Cor. 5:7

23. Gen. 8:21. 24. Rom. 5:10. 25. I Cor. 15:22. 26. Acts 2:1-4. 27.Rom.3:22

Original Post: 03/26/2004

Reposted: 08/05/2014

Hyperlink version/revision posted 4/17/2019 a Holy Week.

Please tap on the hyperlink for references.

Oneness Doctrine, what is it, really and how to become one ?

One-ness Doctrine, what is it, really and how to become one ?

Many well-meaning preachers have different take on this subject which emanated from Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; 1 Corinthians 7:39.

What is it, really? Together, let us take up this matter, starting with how this “Oneness” is interpreted by established religion, detractors of the concept, etc.

Ontological oneness?

To start with, a well-known Christian denomination expounded this concept (1).

“Oneness doctrine differs from Sabellianism in that Oneness Pentecostals conceive of the “trimanifestation” of God as simultaneous instead of successive, as is the case with classical Modalism(2, 3). They contend that, based on Colossians 2:9, “fullness… in bodily form”. Unlike Arians, who present the Son as subordinate being to the Father, both Oneness and Trinitarians seek to establish(union) between the Father and Son. So, from the Oneness viewpoint the Son is both distinct from the Father while being essentially one with the Father by virtue of his ontological oneness with the Father. It should be noted that both views, Oneness and Trinitarianism, resolve the issues of distinction of consciousnesses to the principle of monotheism by attributing ontological oneness of being to the Father and the Son – the difference is in what way they are distinct and in what way they are one. The difference being that Oneness Pentecostals still maintain that the Father and Son are not actually distinct persons, but rather are distinct modes or manifestations.”

These are refuted by others(4,5). And my take on nature of God has already been posted(6,7,8).

Sexual Act is “Oneness”of the flesh?

There was a time when “being a prude” was the culture and people were hesitant to discuss sex openly. Masters & Johnson’s research was a product to help resolve this issue and bring it to national awareness. “They jointly wrote two classic texts in the field, Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy, published in 1966 and 1970, respectively. Both of these books were best-sellers and were translated into more than thirty languages”(9).

With this backdrop, one religious organization, the Worldwwide Church of God based in Pasadena under the leadership of Herbert W. Armstrong(10), addressed this issue in a free book Missing Dimension in sex(11). Based on Genesis 2:24, he indicated that the sexual act is a mandate for husband and wife with the goal of procreation. That “they shall be one” is the commandment to engage in sexual act among married couples as an expression of love for one another that carries responsibilities and obligations.

Marital Oneness?

Aside from “sexual oneness”, are husbands and wife really “one” because of holy matrimony? Is this something automatic for both in marriage or something that both have to work on? So different in many ways, each realizes that they have to manage their diversities on many issues. They are not of “one mind” in all that confront them. In fact, friction from misunderstandings between husband and wife is a given. Their decision-making process is different from one another because of the composite of their knowledge and experience stored in memory for many years through their unique growth and development. Actions originate from their brain with intellectual and emotional components which are different between husband-wife as there are diversities between male-female. Their relationship will end up well and sustain itself for many years of marital bliss only through complex series of trade-offs which may still be misunderstood by one another. Nevertheless, each one should make a serious resolve to know each other more and to give in, whatever is best. Still, no matter what they do, they just have to take it in, live calmly and peacefully with their differences. And this difficulty is inherent, because they are trying to reach an impossible goal to be “one” with each other on their own. The foundational basis for what is right or wrong has to be from neither one of them but from God, the origin of truth. Their goal has to be one with another” throughonenesswith God. Then, they will be empowered to do so with a “Helper” to assist them. So, should this be the goal? To be “one” with each other through God?

What is “being one”, really?

As interpretation of “onenessmay not be ontological, physical sexual act or with humans on their own in marital bond, what is it then? The meaning of the original verses from whence different interpretations emanate, cannot be understood conceptually unless subsequent context especially in the New Testament is considered. There are numerous verses alluding to this concept of “oneness” in the New Testament. Here are some:

John 10:30I and the Father are one.“(NIV)

What does they are “one” mean? Are they “the same” but different manifestations as in “modalism” or Sabellianism? Simultaneous appearances as in Oneness Pentecostalism? This is the same concept relating to “oneness” and woven into the the Shema Doctrine that caused a split between Athanasius and Arius. So, what is the truth?

The context of the preceding verse can be deduced from:

John 10:38But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

John 14:11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works‘ sake” (KJV)

John 17:21 “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me”(NLT).

All of these verses that followed John 10:30 give the meaning of “one-ness” and what it referred to. Unequivocally, being “one” is defined as “the Father being in Jesus and he being in the Father”. That is being “one”, and not those previous enumerated false assumptions of what it meant. Moreover, notice that “works/action” proved this presence. But how? And, John 17:21 is a plan and prayer of Jesus for the future of this oneness for mankind as to how.

Caution: The word Father should not be confused with (Isaiah 9:6, ESV). which contextually meant “father” or the “creator” referring to Jesus the Creator. This YHVH Elohim/El Shaddai/Logos/ Lord God who incarnated into man-Jesus was the proximate Creator, and as such was the “father” of all.

How to be one with God?

As oneness is about the Father being in Jesus” and “Jesus in the Father”, how could this be done?

The following verse in 1 Corinthians 12:13 will help us understand the mechanism of how, which is through “spirit-baptism”.

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

This is the mechanism for man/anthropos-Jesus that made him “one” with the Father and vice-versa. By spirit-baptism, they became “one”. But, while the mechanism of being “one” starts with “spirit-baptism“, it undergoes a “process” that takes time. Notice that our “trailblazer”(Jesus) became “one” with the Father by baptism of the Holy Spirit at River Jordan. As in John 10:38 and John 14:11, actions/works are reflected in miracles by this “in-dwelling power“. Moreover, the narrative at Gethsemane gave hint that, altogether, their “oneness” has to develop to its fullest. The in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit started “oneness” but has to be continuous in a voluntary way; it is not forced and should not be “like a dog returns to its vomit”. Continual overcoming is shown by Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. where he had to follow voluntarily the Father’s will, and not his will, as in “may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.“(Matthew 26:39).

One mind, one accord

As Jesus’ “oneness with the Father” has to start but also continue to develop, so shall ours be after receiving the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. And, through the process of “spiritual growth and development” we will mature by continuing to abide by being “one” in him. This process of spiritual embryology has been shown to us through the science of physical embryology(10,11,12).

And through abiding, we will then have “one mind and one accord”.

Re-evaluation of biblical verses

Since all of mis-interpretations about “oneness” originate from biblical verses, let us now take them up one-by-one for re-evaluation with my comments:

Genesis 2:24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”(NIV)

Mark 10:6-9But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

1 Corinthians 7:10-11To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

1 Corinthians 7:39A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.”

Comment: Why should these verses be interpreted as human marriage? Strictly speaking, not only does the man but also the woman leaves their father and mother in this relationship. Moreover, what does “father and mother” mean? From what we know now about “oneness”, this verse may actually be a prophecy of Jesus’ future relationship with humanity. No human came to be, without coming from creators like “mother-father”. Similarly, YHVH/El Shaddai came from above, in a way “leaving his father-mother” to become human and to be “united with his (future) wife”(13). See also Marriage of the Lamb.

The preceding interpretation is buttressed by Paul in:

Ephesians 5:31-32As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”

Indeed, these verses are an “illustration of the way Christ and the church are one“, through “spirit-baptism“.

Prophesied re-marriage

Just to digress, this YHVH Elohim/El Shaddai/Logos/ Lord God was the proximate Creator, and as such was the “father” of on ll. In his relation with Israel, he was “married to her”(Jeremiah 3:14; Isaiah 54:5)

Because of “backsliding, adultery and harlotry” (Hosea 2:2) YHVH ELOHIM divorced Israel (north) and Judah(south)(Jeremiah 3:8)

In spite of Israel’s unfaithfulness, YHVH ELOHIM has planned and wanted her to “return” to him. (Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hosea 2:7)

However, while the divorced husband is still alive, YHVH ELOHIM was prohibited to marry another nor adulterous Israel/ human wife marry another she was committing harlotry with (Romans 7:3; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

But, YHVH ELOHIM incarnated to man/anthropos Jesus who then died by crucifixion. So, as the “husband” died, Israel is free to marry another. And this takes effect spiritually and in the future. Both “resurrected Jesus” and “new Israel”( 1 Corinthians 7:39) can then remarry.

Mechanism-wise, this would occur only afternew Israel” is re-created through “spiritual in-dwelling, growth and development”, aka “in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy”, being prepared and betrothed as in Hosea 2:19-20. In a way, the “new bride/new Israel/a virgin, not previously divorced wife”, nor defiled (Leviticus 21:14 ) is to wed with her “new bridegroom”, “her builder” (Isaiah 62:5) at a “grand marriage supper of the Lamb“(Revelations 19:7-16).

The new Israel is composed of anyone with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit who are overcomers to the end.

This will be a marriage of theSon of Godwith one who “never have given birth, nor been in labor” yet will “have more children “, as in

Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the LORD”.NLTIsaiah 54:1 https://www.biblehub.com/nlt/isaiah/54-1.htm

Summary

The concept of “oneness” emanated from the mis-interpretation of: Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; 1 Corinthians 7:39. The truth behind preceding verses were explained in: John 10:38; John 14:11 ; John 17:21

Oneness” is not ontological, physical sexual act or with humans on their own in marital bond. The principle extends to the horizontal and lateral relationship among members of the church, as edifying that maybe. As far as the “church” is concerned, the goal of “oneness” is not among each other on their own. It is about “one-to-onedirect and vertical relationship with the Father/Son, through the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, being “one” is defined as “the Father being in Jesus and he being in the Father”.

This “oneness” starts atspiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit but has to mature and develop through a process that requires continuous and voluntary “not my will but yours (God) be done. The principle of “growing up” maturation from “intra-uterine”was emphasized by Jesus in:

Matthew 18:3And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

By this maturation process guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, like Jesus was, the person becomes an “overcomer” which is necessary for salvation as in:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33 | NIV

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 | NIV(Notice the usage “children”)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” 1 Timothy 6:12 | NIV

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 | NIV

God has planned for humanity, the path for salvation/immortality. Jesus is our “way, truth and the life”, our forerunner/trailblazer for this path. He has done it, so should we also through the in-dwelling power of the “Helper/Advocate”/Holy Spirit as in:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate(Helper)to help you and be with you forever–
John 14:16

God bless 🙏😇

References

1. Oneness Pentecostalism. Retrieved 4/4/2019 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/http://www.marketfaith.org/the-hidden-Oneness_Pentecostalism

2. Modalism. Retrieved 4/4/19 from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Modalism

3. Modalism. Retrieved 4/4/19 from https://trinities.org/blog/what-is-modalism/5. Hidden cult. http://

4. Oneness.Retrieved 4/4/19 from http://m.biblestudyguide.org/articles/oneness/what-is-the-oneness-doctrine.htm

5. Hidden cult of oneness. Retrieved 4/4/19 from www.marketfaith.org/the-hidden-cult- of-oneness-pentecostalism/

6. What is God. Retrieved 4/5/19 from https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

7. Nature of God. Retrieved 4/5/19 from

https://fact-s.net/2018/05/16/nature-of-god-christology-the-holy-spirit-history-why-and-how-they-developed-and-what-to-learn-from-it/

8. Trinity Doctrine Deconstructed. Retrieved 4/5/19 from https://fact-s.net/2018/10/07/trinity-doctrine-deconstructed/

9. Masters and Johnson. Retrieved 4/6/19 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_and_Johnson

10. Jesus, author and finisher of our faith. Retrieved 4/7/19 from https://fact-s.net/2019/03/07/jesus-author-finisher-of-our-faith/

11. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 4/7/19 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

12. What is the Kingdom of God? Retrieved 4/7/19 from https://fact-s.net/2018/09/12/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-2/

13. Jesus, carpenter,builder or what?Retrieved 4/9/19 from https://fact-s.net/2019/01/21/jesus-carpenter-builder-or-what/

Original post: April 10, 2019 as a Dedication

Hyperlink version

Reposted: May 9, 2019 as a Dedication

Spirit:Ruach/pneuma/parakletos what is it?

Spirit:Ruach/pneuma/parakletos what is it?

This post is not about how and when the “spirit was given, as my previous post already addressed those issues. What it is, has also been intimated superficially by that post.

This time, the focus is on details about what it really is. And this, because many preachers teach that “ruach” is the Holy Spirit and the 3rd person in the Trinity Doctrine.(1,2,3,4)

And, why and how it was called holy or divine? Moreover, since “ruach” in the Old Testament is equivalent to “pneuma” in the New Testament, could “pneuma” also be the Holy Spirit? It had to be, but in what way really?

The controversy about the nature of the Holy Spirit and its triune connection with the Father and Son have been a constant reminder of how problematic these issues are to many in Christianity, not only in the past but also currently.

Origin of the words

To establish the truth, one can start with the origin and then take up the usage of what was translated as “spirit”. This English word came as translated from a Hebrew word ruach (7307/7304) and Greek pneuma (Strong’s #5141). Both of these words have the same fundamental meaning. But, how is this similar or different from “parakletos”(3875) Comforter/Holy Spirit/Helper/intercessor/Advocate/Called upon?

Usage of the words

The Hebrew “ruach” is translated “wind” in English. The usage, limit and meaning of this word is exemplified in Kings 19:11-12, where the Lord/YHVH was manifesting himself to Elijah, as wind. Notice that this word “ruach/spirit/wind” was not personified. Nor, was the Lord himself in this “ruach, as in:

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD; And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice(1 Kings 19:11-12).

For emphasis, the Lord himself was not in the wind, earthquake nor fire. Yet, he expressed himself through these powerful manifestations. Nothing happens without energy that comes from power. Logically, these manifestations are a product of the power emanating from the person. Notice, though, that “ruach”(wind) was not personified. With mighty powers that he had, yet, is he in the “still small voice”? It follows contextually that he was not in there as well and he can manifest himself in a “big or small way”. The other English translations like “breath, air, blast, mind, thoughts” may likewise be taken as an allegory, a symbolic representation of him.

This “ruach” was breathed into man through the nostrils. Nothing in there was written that this “spirit” enables the Creator to be “in us”. Yet, the “other spirit” (parakletos) from the Father enables Jesus/Lord to be “in us”. It had to be different and unique from that usage, although still a manifestation of Jesus “in spirit”, but he himself was not actually there. As “ruach” is not personified, why should “parakletos” be personified? The Spirit is not another “person”. Instead, by usage, the Spirit is YHVH as in 2 Corinthians 3:17,

Aramaic Bible

But The Spirit (pneuma) is THE LORD JEHOVAH, and wherever The Spirit of THE LORD JEHOVAH is, there is freedom”

That “spirit/ruach Elohim” that moved “upon the face of the waters” was the “pneuma of the Lord“. Since he is not “in the ruach” and the “Spirit is YHVH”, the logical extension is that, this ruach and pneuma really should not be personified. Rather, it should be taken as manifestation of himself with this power through which YHVH expressed himself by visible effects.

As it is untenable to interpret “ruach” in 1 Kings 19:11-12 as 3rd person, so does it suspend credulity to take “parakletos” in John 16:7 Comforter advocate(1 John 2:1) parakletos, as anotherpersonified spirit-being”. Both are manifestations of the Lord Jesus as “spirit-power” that enabled him to do so. Only after the “parakletos” was given to Jesus Christ by the Father post-resurrection did it says in Matthew 28:18all power” he now has, suggesting he did not have all before, i.e., not this unique “parakletos“, as personified EL Shaddai/YHVH/Logos.

Different from “ruach:spirit-in-man”?

This difference between the “ruach/spirit-in-man aka breath-of-life” and “parakletos” is emphasized as distinct from one another in Romans 8:16:

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children“.

Also in 1 Corinthians 2:11-12

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

N.B. There is no upper-case for “spirit” in the early texts

The “spirit-in-man”, the “breath-of-life” came from YHVH-Elohim Creator/Logos/Jesus in Genesis 2:7 who had the power to infuse life into the non-living man formed from the ground/clay. Similarly, the “parakletos”(Comforter:Advocate/Intercessor) came from Jesus/Creator. But, the origin of this “parakletos” was the Father who gave it to Jesus as a promised gift for himself at River Jordan. Notice,

But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:19-20).

And that, was for his empowerment, as a human, against all temptations (even of Satan) and to do miracles. It was given to him post-resurrection as a reward to be given to others(Acts 2:33) as a gift for their empowerment through Jesus, starting at Pentecost. As before in Genesis 1:26, with the power to create man as a human-template, he now has this power, which he did not have before, to create at this time the God-kingdom, all spirit-composed and “one” with the Father. , Man-Jesus became “one” (in mindset, Luke 22:42) with the Father in his earthly life and so shall we be “one” with the Father in this earthly life. This “parakletos”, as promised-gift, is being given to humans to in-dwell in man and binds with the “ruach” to “write the laws in the fleshy tables of our heart”(2 Corinthians 3:3) as a mechanism for achieving a “new creation”(2 Corinthians 5:17).

By spiritual embryology, the parakletos infuses/in-dwells into the ruach in man to fertilize it into a spiritual zygote and through spiritual growth and development will mature to be “born againas sons of Godwith spirit-composed, immortal body.

Gender of Spirit

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “spirit,” ruach, is in the feminine gender. Whereas, the Greek word for “Comforter,”(John 16:7, Advocate (1 John 2:1) parakletos is in the masculine gender, while pneumais (“spirit“) is in the neuter gender. It appears that YHVH Elohim/Creator/Logos/Jesus in Genesis “breathe into man” the feminine ruach to be a “living being”, flesh-composed. Subsequently, after resurrected-Jesus received the “masculine parakletos”, he then gives this to us in our earthly life, to bond with our “ruach/pneuma/spirit-in-man“, develop and mature to be delivered as spirit-composed members of the God-kingdom at resurrection, at the “last trump”. (1 Corinthians 15:52)

“In some occasions in the Greek text(5), masculine verb endings and pronouns are used with the neuter gender word “Spirit” when speaking about the holy Spirit, and sometimes it is without the definite article – i.e. just “holy Spirit”. Very significant also that the Holy Spirit is never worshipped. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13

E.W. Bullinger remarks in Appendix 9 of the Companion Bible:

“The meaning of the word is to be deduced only from its usage. The one root idea running through all of the passages is invisible force. . . . [I]n whatever sense it is used, [it] always represents that which is invisible except by its manifestations.He also shows that ruach is used in nine different ways in the Old Testament, while pneuma is used fourteen different ways in the New. E.W. Bullinger remarks in Appendix 9 of the Companion Bible:The meaning of the word is to be deduced only from its usage. The one root idea running through all of the passages is invisible force. . . . [I]n whatever sense it is used, [it] always represents that which is invisible except by its manifestations. He also shows that ruach is used in nine different ways in the Old Testament, while pneuma is used fourteen different ways in the New Testament.

Is the Holy Spirit the Father or the Son?

Holy Spirit is not God the Father (or the Son). In John 15:26, Jesus said “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about me.” – NASB

In John 14:26, Jesus said “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” – NASB

The preceding 2 verses were stated by Jesus before his death and resurrection. What sense does it make to say that Jesus will send us the Holy Spirit from the Father, if the Holy Spirit is the Father?  Note also that both the Father and Jesus send the Holy Spirit, but that does not mean that Jesus is the Father.

God the Father does everything on His own initiative; but John 16:13 informs us that “when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  – NASB”

Spirit personified?

There are verses that were interpreted to mean that Spirit is a person. Here are some examples and my comments:

Ephesians 4:30 “And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Comment: That the Spirit is a person because it grieves, seals, intercedes and groans makes the spirit in Revelations 6:9-10 also a living person?“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out(cried) in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Clearly, these are allegorical as “slain souls” (6) are dead and cannot vocalize. However, while these “ruach/pneuma” have feelings, it merely suggest their capacity woven into their powers, which are diverse (1 Corinthians 12).

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Comment: These verses have been discredited as an addition later and not found in early texts(7; 8).

Psalm 139:7-10 Where can I flee from your spirit? Or where will I run from your presence? If I rise to heaven, there you are! If I lay down with the dead, there you are! If I take wings with the dawn and settle down on the western horizon  your hand will guide me there, too, while your right hand keeps a firm grip on me.

Comment: This refers to God himself, omnipresent, i.e., through his spirit

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth

Comment: Refers to spirit-power

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Comment: This Spirit-power comes from God.

Summary

The “ruach/pneuma” and “parakletos” are all non-matter, invisible, spirit-composed. They are all holy and divine having originated from a holy, divine and spirit-composed God. Moreover, all are manifestations of God expressed through his powers. They are not personified as living beings any more than in Revelations 6:9-10 with slain/dead beings.

The “ruach” breathed into the nostrils by YHVH Elohim to create a living being is of feminine gender to represent and intimates for us about its future destiny. This is the component of man that remains after death and goes back to God. The promised “parakletos” which has a masculine gender will in-dwell in her in this earthly life to create a “new creation“, by “writing the laws in the fleshy tables of our heart”, guiding, comforting, as a “Helper” to strengthen human weakness. This starts with fertilization into a “spiritual zygote“, then embryologically develop through “overcoming” into a mature spirit-being, manifested/declared/appointed at resurrection as “son of God” (like anthropos/man-Jesus(1 Timothy 2:5) was/is, with “spirit-composed body”.

Jesus Christ, the proximate Creator Elohim/El Shaddai/YHVH/Logos/ has an “ongoing creation” of man, a “temple” (Acts 7:48; 2 Corinthians 5:1)were the “spirit-of-God, the “parakletos” will in-dwell as gifted-promise. As Adam made a perfect creation to commit sin, God will (Jeremiah 18:4; Isaiah 29:16) remake the “marred clay“.

God bless🙏😇

References:

1.Pneumatolgy, the doctrine of Holy Spirit. Retrieved 3/16/2019 from http://therestoredhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/PNEUMATOLOGY.pdf

2. Who is the Holy Spirit. Retrieved 3/16/2019 from https://www.thoughtco.com/who-is-the-holy-spirit-701504

3.God in three persons Retrieved 3/16/2019 from https://www.christianity.com/god/trinity/god-in-three-persons-a-doctrine-we-barely-understand-11634405.html

4. The Trinity Doctrine in a nutshell. Retrieved 3/16/2019 from https://trinitydelusion.org/the-trinity-doctrine-in-a-nutshell/

5. Hebrew roots/Trinity/Holy Spirit. Retrieved 4/1/19 from https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Hebrew_Roots/Trinity/Holy_Spirit

6. Death, What is? Retrieved 4/2/2019 from https://fact-s.net/2018/12/06/death-what-is-2/

7. Was 1 John 5:7 added to the Bible? Retrieved 4/2/2019 from http://www.trinitytruth.org/was1john5_7addedtext.html

8. Ibid. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_john/5-7.html

Original post: 4/3/19 Hyperlink version

Dedicated to a “birthday boy“.