Jehovahs Witnesses

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by kaufmannphillips » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:25 am

Hi, selah -
The lady who loaned me the book said it was a word for word translation, not a translation of phrases or sentence structures. I guess that is why the words in the sentences are backwards and forwards with no correct grammatical structure.
I will mention that words in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew do not always correspond exactly with words in English. In these cases, a “word for word translation” is a limited help. The English word may carry across part of the meaning of the Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew word, but it also may leave some meaning out, and it may include some meaning that was not part of the Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew word.

Also, the “word for word translation” that you describe does nothing to help an English reader understand the meanings of Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew sentence structures.
People have said that the original word was "trial" and the KJV translated it to "temptation" but the same people say that God does not tempt us. Based on other scripture, they say that only satan does that. So, for a long time I have wanted to see the original translation of the Greek word "trial" or "temptation" for myself.
This link will give you the Greek word rendered “temptation.” It also gives you a lexicon entry for the word (from Thayer’s Lexicon, which is old, but still useful). More importantly, it gives you many or all of the verses in the New Testament where that same word is used. The website only has this feature for the Greek text behind the KJV – which is not a perfect text, I’m afraid. But this still gives an easy start to exploring ways that a word can be used.

There are additional ways to explore this issue, but this is an easy start.
What may the most surprising to find (at least for me!) is that the following portion of scripture is missing from NKJV. "...For Yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen." I am surprised to see that THAT quote is not found in any word-order within TKITGS. What if the close of The Lord's Prayer is not found in the orginal documents?! Is it? I just looked up the verse in my NKJV and the notation in the margin says the quote above was not in the NU. I looked in the NKJV Forward and see that the NU-Text is discussed regarding variations between the Alexandrian or Egyptian type. (This is getting more complicated.) I tried following Paidon in the spring of 2009 on another thread where this was discussed and found myself struggling to keep up with such scholars. (I believe Paidon worked as a university professor for years.) I need a simple explanation to start with. Maybe I could understand a 10th grade level, or maybe even a "NU-Text Documents 101" class level. Got simple discussion? RE: compare and contrast Alexandrian or Egyptian type? ;)
There are thousands of different Greek manuscripts for the New Testament, and they do not all agree with each other. The KJV was translated from a Greek text that took into account only a handful of these manuscripts. This text is part of a textual tradition known as the “Received Text.”

Today, there are two main approaches to deciding how the Greek text of the New Testament should read. One prefers to follow the lead of the majority of manuscripts when there is a disagreement between them. This approach tends to favor readings that are found in later manuscripts, because we have many more of those manuscripts than we have of early manuscripts. The result is called the "Majority Text," and it is similar (but not identical) to the Received Text.

The other approach is to examine different readings between manuscripts, and weigh their reliability case-by-case, based on a number of factors. The result is called a "critical text," and often this sort of text will favor readings that are found in earlier manuscripts, even when they are in the minority. When the NKJV refers to “NU-text,” it is referring to a critical text.

As for the Alexandrian/Egyptian bit – scholars have grouped Greek manuscripts for the New Testament into different “families,” based on similarities to each other. One of these families is the Alexandrian text-type (some might also refer to it as Egyptian). This family of manuscripts is very influential in many critical texts. Another major family is the Byzantine family. That family of manuscripts is very influential in the Majority Text.
I wish I could insert Greek characters in this post because I would like to show you the difference between "God" and "god" in Greek. Thanks for explaining the difference. Of course, this information can shed light on whether the Word, in the beginning, was or was not "God." (as opposed to "god" or worse yet, :( "a god.")
I have a Greek New Testament, so there’s no problem on that front.

I have recently encountered an impressive argument for “a god” - but I need to study it more.

In any event, we should be cautious about being prejudiced toward how to understand a verse. Whether we think Jesus is “God,” “god,” “a god,” or none of the above, we should try to understand the verse on its own terms.
What is the name of a non-Watchtower book in which the translators attempt a literal word for word translation?
One I am familiar with is Jay P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible. I don’t care for it, though, because it primarily uses the Received Text for the New Testament.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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darinhouston
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by darinhouston » Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:04 am

It may not be the best example, but just to show how difficult word for word can be even between modern languages, consider the following text translated (by machine) into greek and back into english:

Original English
I love my son even though he sometimes disappoints me, and though I am disappointed in him when he lets me down, I forgive him.

Back to English from modern Greek
I love my son even if it disappoints me sometimes, and even if I am disappointed in when me it leaves under, him I forgive.

Back to English from Spanish
Master son although he disappoints to me sometimes, and although I am disappointed in him when it lets to me swallow, I pardon I it.

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selah
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by selah » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:06 pm

ooops, I hit the wrong button! Give me a minute to edit. :oops: :lol:

Yours is a very interesting post. Thank you for taking the time...

kaufmanphillips wrote:
There are thousands of different Greek manuscripts for the New Testament, and they do not all agree with each other. The KJV was translated from a Greek text that took into account only a handful of these manuscripts. This text is part of a textual tradition known as the “Received Text.”

Today, there are two main approaches to deciding how the Greek text of the New Testament should read. One prefers to follow the lead of the majority of manuscripts when there is a disagreement between them. This approach tends to favor readings that are found in later manuscripts, because we have many more of those manuscripts than we have of early manuscripts. The result is called the "Majority Text," and it is similar (but not identical) to the Received Text.

The other approach is to examine different readings between manuscripts, and weigh their reliability case-by-case, based on a number of factors. The result is called a "critical text," and often this sort of text will favor readings that are found in earlier manuscripts, even when they are in the minority. When the NKJV refers to “NU-text,” it is referring to a critical text.

As for the Alexandrian/Egyptian bit – scholars have grouped Greek manuscripts for the New Testament into different “families,” based on similarities to each other. One of these families is the Alexandrian text-type (some might also refer to it as Egyptian). This family of manuscripts is very influential in many critical texts. Another major family is the Byzantine family. That family of manuscripts is very influential in the Majority Text.
I am glad that you offered simple explanations. Thank you very much. Now, I think I grasp the subject better, a little better, and would like to revisit some old posts and/or books that I have read while they "went over my head."

In principle, my default is to lean toward a critical approach since I don't put much credence on "the majority rules," so as I look at the Majority Text vs. Egyptian (these are the two different families, right?) it seems important to consider the "number of factors" that you mention above, although at this time I am not so sure WHAT these factors are. :oops:
[selah wrote: I wish I could insert Greek characters in this post because I would like to show you the difference between "God" and "god" in Greek. Thanks for explaining the difference. Of course, this information can shed light on whether the Word, in the beginning, was or was not "God." (as opposed to "god" or worse yet, :( "a god.")

kaufmanphillips wrote: I have a Greek New Testament, so there’s no problem on that front.

I have recently encountered an impressive argument for “a god” - but I need to study it more.

In any event, we should be cautious about being prejudiced toward how to understand a verse. Whether we think Jesus is “God,” “god,” “a god,” or none of the above, we should try to understand the verse on its own terms.
Caution well-received. However, I do not believe my sad face above is reflecting prejudice against the possibility of translating the text as "a god" (but I'm open to having blind spots revealed) but rather, it is a reflection of my recognition that some people would seem to dethrone Jesus in an attempt to exalt Jehovah. I'm not saying JW do this as a denomination, but a Witness recently accused Trinitarians of dethroning Jehovah to exalt Jesus, and I think this particular JW dethroned Jesus to exalt Jehovah. Do you see what I mean? In other words, I notice a tendency of people to polarize their perspective in an effort to bring others into balance. So in John 1:1 for example, I examined the scripture to discover whether Jesus was "god" before the foundation of the world, but then the doctrine of "a god" was presented, followed by the doctrine of Jesus being an angel. Finally, the 144,000 were added to the mix just about as exalted as Jesus. Clearly, someone was mistaken. The Bible says Jesus is the only Son (at least the Bible I've been reading says this.)

Jesus, this God/man spent so much (poured out) of Himself to make a way for us to relate to Himself, His Father and Holy Spirit. It is a matter of honor to remain respectful, and as I have indicated above, to NOT devalue One in an effort to value the Other. On the side of JW, the Father is Jehovah, but not on the side of JW, we are instructed to pray to "Father" as Jesus taught us to pray. (Matthew 6:9-13, Romans 8:15) Further, how shall we abide in Jesus and fellowship with Him if we never speak to him? (Rev. 22:20, Rev. 3:20 Are we to dine with Him, yet never speak to Him?! )

Moreover, I detest division over matters of doctrine. No matter how we interpret scripture, I think Jesus' prayer in John 17 --that we would be one with one another in unity-- should be our deepest longing. I mean think about it, if you were dying (Jesus knew His days were numbered when He prayed in John 17) wouldn't you want your dying words to be important to your children/followers? Personally, I grieve the harsh attitudes that division between theological perspectives breeds. Why, the very fact that there are so many variations of translation should serve as evidential reasoning that we should extend mercy toward one another regardless of theological differences (while remaining pure to our conscience before God). I think it is important to add here that I understand the concept of "coming out of Babylon" and not being part of the harlot, as JWs teach. Indeed, there are those from the "evangelical camp" who make that journey too. Regardless whether that journey lands the sojourner into a JW denomination or elsewhere, the mature believer will be like Jesus was. To the devoted yet still ignorant (the disciples), He extended much grace and explanation. To the "lost sheep," He wept. It was only the Scribes and Pharisees who Jesus was mad at--well, and the moneychangers too! I believe that we must compassionately remember that "'vengeance is MINE,' says the Lord," rather than get mad at those who believe differently from us. Unless we are standing before presidents and elders of denominations, we're either speaking to lost sheep or less mature disciples.

Sorry to be too wordy above; suffice it to say that I desire to examine scripture on its own terms, willing to release or adhere to prior concepts. ;)
selah wrote:
What is the name of a non-Watchtower book in which the translators attempt a literal word for word translation?
kaufmanphillips wrote:
One I am familiar with is Jay P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible. I don’t care for it, though, because it primarily uses the Received Text for the New Testament.
hmmm...I wish I had that book so we could discuss it, but at least I see that you, like me, would also lean toward the critical approach?

Among my book collection, I looked for any Interlinear Bible but do not have one. However, I pulled "The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible" (KJV) and on page v, it claims "At last you have in your hands an English Bible which helps you know what the original Hebrew and Greek words actually mean."

I attempted to consider "God" in John 1:1 as this book explains, but even after reading the "Preface," "Personal Note..." and "How to..." in the front of the Bible, I still don't understand how this book helps. A specific quandary found on page 1279, is where John 1:1 denotes a tiny italicized "art" above the word "God." On page "X" in the front of the book, "art" is indicative of an "article." Do you know what this means? Sorry to be simple-minded. I've got an idea what an article is but would appreciate a reminder...Is it like a noun? If so, why is it not called a Proper Noun in the case of "God?"

In addition, the number above "God" is "2316," so I looked that up in the lexical aids on page 1696. The first sentence after "2316" supports a JW assertion because it says and I quote, "God. Originally used by the heathen and adopted in the N.T. as the name of the true God." (Why would one do that? JWs say it happened to achieve cultural inclusion; they tried to make it more palatable for a nation of pagans to become "Christian," yet the result compromised --and still compromises-- the core beliefs of Christians. )

In using "The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible" (KJV), I think I can navigate and understand the numbers above words (for example: 2316 above "God") but I do not understand how those tiny italic letters above certain words help the seeker. My major concern here is that some of the italicized letters found above certain words are not even listed on page "X" under "Abbreviations." Can you instruct me how to use these italicized letters? Thanks so much if you do! :geek:

Finally, another quote from page 1696 would support my assertion that we should extend grace to each other on the matter of Trinitarian vs. Aryanism. This is the quote: "The ancient Greeks used the word both in the singular and the plural." If this is true, then one might interpret "God" as a single person or a plural person. This may be one of those case by case matters that you mentioned when it helps to consider related factors. What are the factors? Would it be things like the context and surrounding scripture or who was doing the talking and who was being addressed?

Admittedly, the human capacity to understand the Godhead is as limited, in my view, as understanding quantum leaps and time warps in physics. The important points are that we seek to know and fully embrace God and also "...be made perfect in one..." John 17:23
Last edited by selah on Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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selah
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by selah » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:57 pm

kaufmannphillips wrote: I will mention that words in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew do not always correspond exactly with words in English. In these cases, a “word for word translation” is a limited help.
What then, please tell, is of maximum help?
kaufmanphillips wrote:This link will give you the Greek word rendered “temptation.” It also gives you a lexicon entry for the word (from Thayer’s Lexicon, which is old, but still useful). More importantly, it gives you many or all of the verses in the New Testament where that same word is used. The website only has this feature for the Greek text behind the KJV – which is not a perfect text, I’m afraid. But this still gives an easy start to exploring ways that a word can be used.
Believing that "Spirit" in Matt. 4:1 is indeed the Holy Spirit, then it would appear that Jehovah does in fact, lead us into temptation. At least, He, through His Holy Spirit, led Jesus there. Perhaps Jesus was even thinking of His own journey into the 40 day wilderness experience when He taught the disciples how to pray in Matt. 6:9-13. (I am purposefully ignoring for now, the JW assertion that the Holy Spirit is not a person because I have not read any scriptures nor Watchtower literature that shows documentation of Him as a non-person within the fullness of God. As a preliminary move, it seems that one must decide by what authority, i.e. which translation will they base their theology upon.)

The definitions of "temptation" from your site named above link are as follows:
1) an experiment, attempt, trial, proving

a) trial, proving: the trial made of you by my bodily condition, since condition served as to test the love of the Galatians toward Paul (Gal. 4:14)

b) the trial of man's fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy

1) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances

2) an internal temptation to sin

a) of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand

3) of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness

4) adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness

c) temptation (i.e. trial) of God by men

1) rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves
It would appear that God vs. satan tempting us is on the same scale as God vs. satan causing suffering. The answer to these questions would be, "it depends." I say that because I see definitions above, and also scriptures from TNKJ on both sides (of both issues). It appears that sometimes God tempts us as a way of proving or testing us, but also satan tempts us as a way of ensnairing us or stumbling us. In like manner, God can cause us to suffer to reprove, prune, discipline, and even scourge us, but also satan can cause suffering in order to discourage us and again, stumble us or trick us into unbelief. Our faithfulness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ need not waver in any event.
kaufmanphillips wrote: There are additional ways to explore this issue, but this is an easy start.
What other ways do you know to explore this issue? Perhaps for the time being, I should stick with the issue of determining authoritative scripture--please and thank you... ;)

but on the other hand, I look forward to reading every thought within each post. :)
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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selah
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by selah » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:15 pm

darinhouston wrote:It may not be the best example, but just to show how difficult word for word can be even between modern languages, consider the following text translated (by machine) into greek and back into english:

Original English
I love my son even though he sometimes disappoints me, and though I am disappointed in him when he lets me down, I forgive him.

Back to English from modern Greek
I love my son even if it disappoints me sometimes, and even if I am disappointed in when me it leaves under, him I forgive.

Back to English from Spanish
Master son although he disappoints to me sometimes, and although I am disappointed in him when it lets to me swallow, I pardon I it.
Thanks for posting this example! What a great way to convey the fact that meaningful phrases may not translate with the same meaning. From your example, "...he sometimes disappoints me..." is literally translated from Greek as "...(my love for my son) disappoints me sometimes..." The fact is that the English statement is that the son disappoints, not the love for the son.

Anyway, if the word-for-word Biblical translation is inept at shedding light upon the author's original intention, what then shall we use to go back in time and view scripture from his point of view? For thousands of years, I'm sure people have tried to find the original intent.

Does anyone think this lack of definitive knowledge on x, y, z theology just might be the impossible goal that we are called to? Yes, we are called to search the scriptures but we come up with variations upon variations when we do! It reminds me of the children of Isreal with their many rituals and rules. No one could adhere to them all. Each individual must have, if they tried to obey them all, must have felt discouraged at times to see themselves and other sincere folks failing to keep all of the laws that YHWY imposed upon Moses to pass down. Perhaps impossible-to-keep laws were the trial of the OT covenant and likewise, impossible-to-interpret perfect theology is the trial of the NT covenant.
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by kaufmannphillips » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:52 am

Hi, selah -

I'm going out of town for the weekend, but I plan to reply early next week.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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selah
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by selah » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:32 pm

kaufmannphillips, no problem :) Hope you have a great weekend...

I had a chance to revisit the "Late Textual Tradition? Or Early Manuscripts?" thread where we briefly corresponded in the spring. On April 5, you wrote about the "many factors" which you asserted must be considered when determining the accuracy of ancient records. (That was a very thorough list! You certainly thought of many more factors than I would have imagined!)

On this thread, because it is about Jehovah's Witnesses, I won't go into detail regarding what you wrote in the spring, although there are correlations because, as you know, I am attempting to examine the authenticity and accuracy of anything published by the Watchtower organization, namely the beforementioned book. Don't be misled to think that would I blindly trust writings from other big church organizations though; it's just that the focus for this site is on Jehovah's Witnesses.

Happy New Year to you and anybody else reading this! :D
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by kaufmannphillips » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:21 pm

Hi, selah -
Anyway, if the word-for-word Biblical translation is inept at shedding light upon the author's original intention, what then shall we use to go back in time and view scripture from his point of view? For thousands of years, I'm sure people have tried to find the original intent.
What you refer to is not a small task, and even after much effort one still may not discern the writer’s original intent with certainty.

What one can do would include the following:

- Acquire familiarity with the languages that are relevant to the document (in the NT, this would primarily be Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic)

- Acquire familiarity with the context for the document (reading other literature from its period, and literature that was read in that period; studying historical and archaeological work related to the period)

- Explore treatments of the document by others who have studied into it

- Pursue experiential insight into the document (through recreating, in one’s own life, conditions parallel to those surrounding the document)

- Discuss with others, including (eminently) prayer.
Does anyone think this lack of definitive knowledge on x, y, z theology just might be the impossible goal that we are called to? Yes, we are called to search the scriptures but we come up with variations upon variations when we do! It reminds me of the children of Isreal with their many rituals and rules. No one could adhere to them all. Each individual must have, if they tried to obey them all, must have felt discouraged at times to see themselves and other sincere folks failing to keep all of the laws that YHWY imposed upon Moses to pass down. Perhaps impossible-to-keep laws were the trial of the OT covenant and likewise, impossible-to-interpret perfect theology is the trial of the NT covenant.
An interesting line of thought here. One does not earn their salvation through perfect theology, though there may be some Christians who imagine this to be the case.

I myself do not consider perfection to be impossible. But neither do I consider it a requisite for participation in the world to come.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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selah
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by selah » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:53 pm

Selah wrote:
Does anyone think this lack of definitive knowledge on x, y, z theology just might be the impossible goal that we are called to? Yes, we are called to search the scriptures but we come up with variations upon variations when we do! It reminds me of the children of Isreal with their many rituals and rules. No one could adhere to them all. Each individual must have, if they tried to obey them all, must have felt discouraged at times to see themselves and other sincere folks failing to keep all of the laws that YHWY imposed upon Moses to pass down. Perhaps impossible-to-keep laws were the trial of the OT covenant and likewise, impossible-to-interpret perfect theology is the trial of the NT covenant.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
An interesting line of thought here. One does not earn their salvation through perfect theology, though there may be some Christians who imagine this to be the case.

I myself do not consider perfection to be impossible. But neither do I consider it a requisite for participation in the world to come.
hmmm.... :?: I didn't know my statements above would implicate meaning that salvation is earned. I was thinking about pleasing our Father though. To me, being a Christian is centered around pleasing God, not trying to earn something. Sorry if I made it sound otherwise.

On your statement about perfection, I am surprised :!:

Seriously, I would love to hear more about the possibilities of being perfect. Can you say more about that? Thanks. 8-)
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: Jehovah Witnesses

Post by kaufmannphillips » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:38 pm

Hi, selah -
I didn't know my statements above would implicate meaning that salvation is earned. I was thinking about pleasing our Father though. To me, being a Christian is centered around pleasing God, not trying to earn something. Sorry if I made it sound otherwise.
I was springboarding from your “statements above,” commenting about a point-of-view that some Christians may hold. Your own statements suggest that a human can no more hold a perfect theology than they can perfectly perform the laws of the Torah. So your statements do not recommend either kind of perfection as a requirement for salvation. If everybody is doomed by the requirements of salvation, then what salvation is there?
Seriously, I would love to hear more about the possibilities of being perfect. Can you say more about that?
In every opportunity for decision, one can make a right choice or a wrong choice. Theoretically, it is possible for one to always make a right choice. To make a broad parallel, it is possible to flip a coin and have it come up “heads” 100,000 times in a row.

Many people would look at that sort of prospect, and say it’s basically impossible. But it’s not. It may be highly unlikely, but it is possible. What is more, there are ways to tilt the odds: developing a remarkable techinique for flipping; attaching a magnet to one side of the coin; using a coin with two “heads”; etc.

When I was Christian, I would argue that since Jesus was perfect, it is apparent that humans can be perfect. Under an “orthodox” Christology, Jesus was completely human. His divinity in no way compromised his human being. Of course, being Jewish now, that argument is not so relevant from my perspective. But it still may cut ice for some Christians, within their theological worldview.

I think that God works with us with the goal that we become more perfect than we are. I do not see any reason why this cannot lead to an ultimate conclusion in human perfection. This does not necessarily mean that we will be able to calculate every mathematical equation in our heads, or that we will be able to hit the bull’s-eye of any archery target every single time, or that we will be identical to one another – only that we will be perfect specimens amidst the limited spectrum of what God intends for being human.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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