Theological Process

Theology is an interaction.  First Arius gave a theological interpretation on the role of Christ and God.  Second the leaders of the Church considered it carefully and came up with their decision.  Then Arius did not accept the decision.  He then was removed and excommunicated or cut off from the communion of the Church.  This problem led to discussion and consensus.  The lived faith in the worship service experience led to a consensus about the most appropriate expression.  The final result was the Nicene Creed, the oldest and most important creed.  Most dogmas came out of disputes.  Over the last two thousand years there have been many more disputes within Christianity.

The four canonical gospels

There are four canonical gospels that have been ascribed to various individuals.  The Gospel of Matthew, from around 70-100 CE, was attributed to Matthew, the apostle.  The Gospel of Mark, from around 60-70 CE, was attributed to a companion of Peter called Mark.  The Gospel of Luke, from around 80-90 CE, was considered to be a traveling companion of Paul.  The Gospel of John, from the later 90-100 CE, was attributed to the apostle of Jesus named John.

Jonah wins the lottery (Jon 1:7-1:7)

“The sailors

Said to one another.

‘Come!

Let us cast lots!

Thus,

We may know

On whose account

This calamity

Has come upon us.’

So,

They cast lots.

The lot fell on Jonah.”

These sailors said to each other that they wanted to cast lots, a common way of making decisions.  They wanted to know who was the cause of this great storm.  Jonah won the lottery, as the lot fell to him.  In other words, they considered that Jonah was the cause of the storm.

The reasons for the scattered Israelites (Ezek 36:16-36:19)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When the house

Of Israel

Lived

On their own soil,

They defiled it

With their ways,

With their doings.

Their conduct was,

In my sight,

Like the uncleanness

Of a woman

In her menstrual period.

Thus,

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the blood

That they had shed

Upon the land.

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the idols

With which

They had defiled it.

I scattered them

Among the nations.

They were dispersed

Through the countries.

I judged them

In accordance

With their conduct.

I judged them

In accordance

With their deeds.’”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, but without a specific date. Yahweh said that when the house of Israel lived on their own soil, they defiled it with how they acted. They were unclean, like the uncleanness of the menstrual female, who was considered to be unclean at the time of her period. They had shed blood throughout the land. They had worshipped idols, thus defiling the land. Yahweh then poured out his wrath and scattered them among the various nations. Thus, they were dispersed throughout the different countries. Yahweh judged them according to their conduct and their deeds.

The wicked turn away from evil ways (Ezek 18:27-18:28)

“Again,

When the wicked

Turn away

From the wickedness

That they have committed,

They shall live.

They do what is lawful.

They do what is right.

They shall save their lives.

Because they considered

Their transgressions,

They turned away

From all the transgressions

That they had committed.

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.”

The opposite is also true. When the wicked turn away from their evil ways, they will live and not die. If they do what is lawful and what is right, they would save their lives. They had considered the transgressions that they had committed, but then they turned away from them. Thus they will live and not die.

The dialog about defilement (Ezek 4:14-4:15)

“Then I said.

‘Yahweh God!

I have never

Defiled myself.

From my youth

Up until now,

I have never eaten

What died of itself

Or was torn by animals.

Carrion decaying flesh

Has never

Come into my mouth.’

Then he said to me.

‘See!

I will let you have

Cow’s dung

Instead of human dung.

You can prepare

Your bread on that.’”

Ezekiel was upset about eating unclean bread. He complained to Yahweh that he had never defiled himself from his youth on. He had never eaten anything that died of itself or any torn up animals. This meant that he ate only slaughtered animals. He had never touched decaying or the carrion flesh of dead animals. We might call it road kill animals. Yahweh responded that he would let him cook his barley cakes on animal dung, which was not considered unclean. Human excrement, however, was considered unclean. This was an indication of the obsession of later Israelites about touching and eating clean and unclean animals.

Females touching these idol gods (Bar 6:29-6:30)

“Sacrifices to these idol gods

May even be touched

By women

In their period

Or at childbirth.

Since you know

By these things

That they are not gods,

Do not fear them!

How can they

Be called gods?

Women serve meals

For these gods

Of silver,

Of gold,

Of wood.”

This author points out his anti-feminism by saying that these cannot be true gods if women are involved with them. The sacrifices to these gods were being touched by women, even those in their period or childbirth, which was considered to be unclean from the Hebrew perspective. After all, only men were able to be priests at the Temple in Jerusalem of the true God. These are not true gods because women would serve meals for these gods of silver, gold, and wood. How can you call them gods? Do not be afraid of them!

The punishment by the king of Babylon (Jer 25:8-25:9)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Because you have not obeyed

My words,

I am going to send

For all the tribes of the north.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I am going to send

Even for King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

My servant.

I will bring them

Against this land

With its inhabitants.

I will bring them

Against all these nations around.

I will utterly destroy them.

I will make them

An object of horror.

A hissing,

An everlasting disgrace.’”

Yahweh declared, via Jeremiah, that the people of Judah had not obeyed his words. Therefore, there would be an invasion from the north. In particular, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was the servant of Yahweh, was going to come to this land in order to take away its inhabitants. Note that the king of Babylon was considered a servant of Yahweh, not his opponent. This usage indicates Jeremiah’s favoritism towards Babylon. Yahweh was going to utterly destroy them and their neighbors, so that they would be an object of horror, with people hissing at them in disgrace.

A New Jerusalem (Isa 65:17-65:20)

“I am about to create new heavens.

I am about to create a new earth.

The former things

Shall not be remembered.

They shall not come to mind.

But be glad!

Rejoice forever In what I am creating!

I am about to create

Jerusalem as a joy.

I am about to create

Its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem!

I will delight in my people!

No more shall the sound

Of weeping be heard in it.

No more shall the sound

Of the cry of distress be heard in it.

No more shall there be in it

An infant that lives but a few days.

No more shall there be in it

An old person

Who does not live out a lifetime.

One who dies at a hundred years old

Will be considered a youth.

One who falls short of a hundred years old

Will be considered accursed.”

Yahweh was going to create a new heaven and a new earth. All the past things would be forgotten. Jerusalem was going to be a joy and a delight for its people, since there would be no more weeping or crying in distress. Infants would not die at child birth. Old people would live a long life. Anyone who died before 100 years of age would be considered a cursed youth. Good times would come to this new Jerusalem.

A good cluster of grapes (Isa 65:8-65:10)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘As the wine is found in the cluster,

They say.

‘Do not destroy it!

There is a blessing in it!’

So I will do for my servants’ sake.

I will not destroy them all.

I will bring forth descendants

From Jacob.

I will bring from Judah

Inheritors of my mountains.

My chosen ones shall inherit it.

My servants shall settle there.

Sharon shall become

A pasture for flocks.

The Valley of Achor shall become

A place for herds to lie down.

My people have sought me.”

Yahweh here makes an exception. He would not destroy all of them. Just like a good cluster of grapes should be saved for wine, so too, he would save the good Israelites. No one wants to destroy a good cluster of grapes because it was considered a blessing. Yahweh was going to bring descendants from the people of Jacob. The people from Judah would inherit the mountains. These chosen servants of Yahweh would inherit this land and live there. Sharon, the northern coastal plain area, would become a place for flocks to pasture, while the arid valley of Achor, west of the Dead Sea, would also be a great place for herds to rest. Yahweh is doing this because some of his people had sought him out.