Saturday, November 3, 2012

My own exegetical work on the Book of Job

May I summarize my own exgetical work on the Book of Job. It seems to me, this book was a product during an exilic period when the pious Jews suffered tremendously at the hands of a foreign culture which could not understand the reasons their Hebrew Lord had given them to suffering. They had obeyed the law and tried to lead a good and religious life, yet terrible things happened. They tried the biblical prophetic message, but this answer is not enough to explain why they suffered, they have, at the end, replaced the answer with material blessings. That at as a good Jew, money can buy everything, so Job was blessed with new women, children. material blessings. The meaning of suffering in Job is meaningless. If it is about righteousness, it is a joke. It was precisely his righteousness that brought on the calamity. If it is about a honour that God deserves in all his action, that God has a free will, it too is absurd. God and his gods act irresponsibly and so people die like flies to them, without a regard at all. Humans are a joke to the divine, they squash them at will. Think of it, God thunders and deafens Job at the end, reduces him to prostrate in the ashes. 

So, what is the meaning of suffering in the book Job? If you isolate the God of Job, he is not at all a loving benign God of Jesus. Job has no need to repent, for he is blameless, upright, fears God and does no evil. He is not a sinner. That is precisely why he was struck. The meaning of suffering of Job mocks us, and holds us spell bound. That bad things happen to good people, that Gods' willing so humans should suffer, that gods refuse to answer why, and when asked, they provoke us and reduce us to nothing, to the lowliest thing on the scale. 

In summary, the Book of Job provides no meaningful answer, that it beckons us to step out of the classical answers to sufferings by Jews or Christians alike

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Firing of Michael Pahl

Recently I read from the Blogger, Bruce Gerencser about the firing of Dr. Michael Pahl from Cedarville University.  It was a shock from the past, as the readers may not be aware of this, I attended Prairie High School, and Pahl was a professor at my former Alma Mater, Prairie Bible Institute.

The dispute was over his doctrinal view on the literal interpretation of Genesis whether he could hold onto a very strict and ultra conservative views on the literal Adam and Eve.  He could he says in his reply to the Board, but 'not on exegetical ground.'  This also was reflected in his recent published book, The Beginning and the End: Rereading Genesis' Stories and Revelation's Visions.

This is not the first time Michael has been asked to resign.  Last time he did, it was very traumatic, since Ohlhauser from PBI forced him and the entire Bible Department to do so at the end of 2008 over the disputes that he put forth a position at the direction of the bible school.  It was truly a traumatic event for him and his family, evident from his blog something about 'Wanderings in the Desert.'

I think for a thinking person, Michael is in the wrong place.  If you read Genesis literally, from the original Hebrew (which I do), it is an outdated cosmology that modern man can no longer affirm.  Those that do, do so, on theological grounds (or virtual grounds).  It cannot be affirmed by modern science in archaeology, biology, or geology.  Yet it is a story closely related to ancient Babylonian myths like the Epic of Gilgamesh.  Any thinking person should steer away from a closed minded fundamentalist position, and by affirming the doctrinal position, this is the very center of the violation to academic inquiry.  Michael is in the wrong place, and if he does not change his cosmology, he will be fired over many times.

Literally reading of Genesis produces an ecology and ethology that is harmful for the earth.  Man is not the centre piece of all gods creation.  No, I do not think so.  Nor do I hold on the the fairy tale that blames man for eating a piece of fruit that was placed there to caused humanity to fail.  No, that is exegetically sadistic.  Any deity that fails to answer that, is a moral evil.  Gods that are able to sexual violate human daughters and resulted in the death of supposedly entire living creation is also a moral evil.  Gods who failed to control their sexual impulses and supposedly they also have sex amongst themselves, are absurd.  Why not be brave enough to admit that periodic floods could come from the end of an ice age, and that we have created these gods to explain natural phenomenon, just as much as we can assume the firing of Michael Pahl is purely political and hatred from a pea brain evangelical-fundamentalist board?

I would say to an honest Michael, "Run, Forest, run!"   Abandon the ridiculous rigid theological ground.  There is no inerrancy, and this position is untenable.  Abandon this illogical position, it is a new invention of the modern hard core new theological atheists.  These atheists do not believe in a god that could move and influence the world, so they do the job themselves, and fire the old professor, and so fulfill the love of christ.   In my former Alma Mater, PBI, they actually had sex with little kids and covered it up, just like the sons of gods in the ancient Genesis.  So far, there is no help from the biblical fictitious god, other than a bunch of people whose life has been onhold  and a President, Mark Maxwell in the foxhole.  Is that the literal reading and exegetical work of the Lord Ben Chung.  I am afraid it is.