David's Book : Cosmological Explanation

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

David's Book : Cosmological Explanation

Postby yawares » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:21 pm

Dear Members,

David's Book : Cosmological Explanation
[By Dr.David N. Snyder]

Cosmological Explanation

One possible cosmological explanation for the singular and pluralistic terms of god in the Bible
is as follows:

1. The plural form of gods in the beginning chapters of the Bible is correct, referring to the
multitude of higher beings in heaven (angels or impermanent gods) and not a singular
personal-God creator. According to the Buddhist cosmology the deities in heaven sometimes
delight in various creations and ego because of their powers and status as gods.

2. Jehovah is a god. Jehovah is the god of Israel, perhaps the ―guardian-god‖ (or angel, if you
prefer) for the Hebrew people.

The above theory has some support from historical information. The ancient Hebrews did call
their god Jehovah and Jehovah was labeled the god of Israel even in the Bible.
Historians believe that the ancient Hebrews were not really monotheistic. The ancient Hebrews
believed in a sort of polytheism with Jehovah being their god, but each of the other nations
subject to their own separate gods. Later in the history of the Hebrews the god of one nation
(Israel) gradually became the god of all nations, perhaps as an adaptation to the growing
influence of other religions which were beginning to cross the borders of their home countries.
In the first commandment of the Ten Commandments we hear the God of the Old Testament say
that he is a ―jealous god.‖ This happens again and again throughout the Old Testament. What
we must ask is, ―jealous of what?‖ If there is only one God, then what is there to be jealous of?
Also, if there is only one God, then why the name, ―Jehovah?‖ Names are used to differentiate
people or divine beings. The writers of the Old Testament clearly believed that there were other
gods and that Jehovah was simply their god, for the Jewish people.

A similar explanation could be that the plural form of god is used in the Bible to describe a
pantheistic concept of god. This pantheistic concept is fitting with the mystical traditions,
many of which developed from the traditional Biblical religions and locations of Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam. Many religions speak of god as the ―unknowable‖ or place a certain
degree of mysteriousness to the concept of god. For example, in the Orthodox Christian church,
Jesus is seen as the incarnation of god and the manifestation of god on Earth, but god-the-father
is seen and described in more mysterious, indescribable terms. The true meaning of god which
the great monotheistic religions are trying to convey is most likely that of a pantheistic god.
Culture, tradition, and misinformation and mistranslation are probably the culprits which have
not allowed the true meaning to be accepted by the masses.

Son of a man

In the New Testament we see Jesus called the Son of God in numerous verses. But, we do not
see Jesus call himself the Son of God. There is one verse in the traditional New
Testament gospels where Jesus is said to have not refuted the Roman emperor when he asks if he
is the Son of God. But in far more instances in the traditional gospels of the New Testament,
Jesus calls himself the ―Son of Man. This has been interpreted to mean the Messiah or to ―Son
of God.

As mentioned previously in this chapter on the incredible similarities between Jesus and Buddha,
the New Testament was written in Greek. The Gospel of Thomas, which was recently found,
less than one hundred years ago, shows scriptures written in a Semitic language. In the Gospel
of Thomas there are no legends, miracles, and no reporting of Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus is
seen talking like a zen master with words of wisdom pointing to the interconnection of life.
Although the New Testament was written in Greek, we know that Jesus must have spoke
Hebrew, or an ancient form of the Hebrew language. The people of the Palestine - Israel area did
not speak Greek. The Greek writers of the New Testament had to rely on Hebrew sources
for their information. When a translation goes from one language to another we can always
expect errors to be made. The mistake could even be unintentional, as different languages
have different meanings for certain words.

This is the case with the famous ―Son of Man‖ translation. When Jesus reports that he is the son
of man, this is translated to Greek and to the rest of the world with the capital ―S‖ for Son and
the capital ―M‖ for Man. Again, we must remember that there are no capital letters in Hebrew!
Again, the translators added the capital letters. By making the ―s‖ and the ―m‖ into capital form,
you have an added significance that may not have been the intent of the report by the Hebrew
sources.

In Hebrew the words and characters for ―son of man are:
In Hebrew the words and characters are minimal because vowels and certain articles of speech
are implied. For example, there is no Hebrew word for ―a. It is implied when you have a
certain combination of words. When someone writes ―son of man‖ in Hebrew, pronounced ―ben
ahdam‖ the article of speech with the word ―a‖ in English, is implied. The characters above
literally say ―son man. The words ―of and ―a‖ are implied.
Therefore, the characters above which were translated as ―Son of Man should have been
translated as: son of a man

This corrected translation is in line with the answer the Buddha gave when people asked the
Buddha if he was a god. The Buddha always insisted that he was just a man, born of a man and a
woman. Perhaps Jesus was trying to say this exact same thing. The prevailing paradigm was
better met by adding the capital letters and creating an interpretation
closer to a divine meaning.

In the Middle East to this day, many people do not have a family name for a surname. Their
names begin with the first name, followed by ―son of‖ and then the first name of their father.
David ben Gurion is one example. He was the first prime minister of the modern state of Israel.
―Ben Gurion‖ is not his family name. ―Ben is the Hebrew for ―son and ―Gurion is the name
of his father. This is written as follows:
The two characters on the far right are the characters for ―son‖ and simply report that he is the
son of, the name that follows, in this case, Gurion. In the Middle East, the formula for many is:
―your first name-son-your father‘s first name. If your name is David and your father‘s name is
Thomas, the written form would be: ―David son Thomas.
The word ―of is implied in the Semitic languages, just like the word ―a.

In the time of Jesus and in many cases still to this day, it was common for a person to say his or
her name, followed by who you are a son or daughter of. In traditional societies a person is often
identified by the family they come from. By saying that he is the ―son of a man Jesus was most
likely going out of the way, like Buddha did 500 years prior, to say that he is an ordinary man.

Bible translation conclusion

The Bible provides us with a good history of the Hebrew people and gives us beautiful
proverbs and poems. This chapter is not a critique or condemnation of the Bible, on the
contrary it is a praise of the Bible when seen from the corrected translations of key verses. The
religions of the world are much more similar than they are different. When we see the Bible
from the correct translation this becomes even much more apparent.

-----------to be continued------------
yawares
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