Antony Flew’s “There Is A God”

If Antony Flew’s “There Is [a]No[/a] A God” has not yet been (thoroughly) discussed on this forum, would anyone care to join me in (re)discussing it?

I begin attempting to read it tonight. I have to read around my work schedule (and varying levels of consciousness resulting from said schedule).

I am not yet prepared to discuss it.

From Wikipedia:

In a 2004 interview (published 9 December), Flew, then 81 years old, stated that he now believed in the existence of an intelligent designer of the universe, and explained that he had become a Deist In the article, Flew stated that he had renounced his long-standing espousal of atheism. In order to further clarify his personal conception of God, Flew openly made an allegiance to Deism, more specifically a belief in the Aristotelian God, a Divine Watchmaker removed from human affairs but responsible for the intricate workings of the universe, and dismissed on many occasions a hypothetical conversion to Christianity, Islam, or any other religion. He stated that in keeping his lifelong commitment to go where the evidence leads, he now believed in the existence of a God.

During that same 2004 interview, Flew explicitly rejected the idea of life after death, of God as the source of good (he explicitly stated that God has created “a lot of” evil), and of the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact, although he had allowed a short chapter arguing in favor of his resurrection to be added into his latest book. Flew was particularly hostile towards Islam, and said it is “best described in a Marxian way as the uniting and justifying ideology of Arab imperialism.” In a December 2004 interview, he declared: “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins”.

Controversy over his position
In October 2004 (before the December publication of the Flew–Habermas interview), in a letter written to the internet atheist advocate Richard Carrier of the Secular Web, Flew stated that he was a Deist, and wrote “I think we need here a fundamental distinction between the God of Aristotle or Spinoza and the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations.” Flew also said: “My one and only piece of relevant evidence [for an Aristotelian God] is the apparent impossibility of providing a naturalistic theory of the origin from DNA of the first reproducing species… [In fact] the only reason which I have for beginning to think of believing in a First Cause god is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms.”

When asked in December 2004 by Duncan Crary of Humanist Network News if he still stood by the argument presented in The Presumption of Atheism, Flew replied that he did and reaffirmed his position as Deist: “I’m quite happy to believe in an inoffensive inactive god.” When asked by Crary whether or not he has kept up with the most recent science and theology, he responded with “Certainly not,” stating that there is simply too much to keep up with. Flew also denied that there was any truth to the rumours of 2001 and 2003 that he had converted to Christianity.

His 2007 book There is a God revisited the question, however, and questioned contemporary models: “the latest work I have seen shows that the present physical universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis to get the job done.” He added: “The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of-life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’? Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem”.

However, in spring 2005 when atheist Raymond Bradley, emeritus professor of philosophy at Simon Fraser University and a member of the editorial board of The Open Society journal, wrote an open letter to Flew accusing him of not “check[ing] the veracity of Gerald Schroeder’s claims before swallowing them whole,” Flew responded strongly to that charge in a letter published in the same journal in summer 2006, describing the content of Bradley’s letter “extraordinarily offensive” and the accusation made by him as an “egregiously offensive charge”; he also implied that Bradley was a “secularist bigot,” and suggested that he should follow Socrates’ advice (as scripted in Plato’s Republic) of “follow[ing] the argument wherever it leads.” Other prominent atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, suggested Flew’s deism was a form of God of the gaps.

Flew said in December 2004:
I have been denounced by my fellow unbelievers for stupidity, betrayal, senility and everything you can think of and none of them have read a word that I have ever written.

Restatement of position
A letter on evolution and theology which Flew published in the August/September 2004 issue of Philosophy Now magazine closed with, “Anyone who should happen to want to know what I myself now believe will have to wait until the publication, promised for early 2005, by Prometheus of Amherst, NY of the final edition of my God and Philosophy with a new introduction of it as ‘an historical relic’.”

The preface of God and Philosophy states that the publisher and Flew went through a total of four versions before coming up with one that satisfied them both.[citation needed] The introduction raises ten matters that came about since the original 1966 edition. Flew states that any book to follow God and Philosophy will have to take into account these ideas when considering the philosophical case for the existence of God [page needed]

A novel definition of “God” by Richard Swinburne
The case for the existence of the Christian God by Swinburne in the book Is There a God?
The Church of England’s change in doctrine on the eternal punishment of Hell
The question of whether there was only one Big Bang and if time began with it
The question of multiple universes
The fine-tuning argument
The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for the development of living matter from non-living matter
The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for non-reproducing living matter developing into a living creature capable of reproduction
The concept of an Intelligent Orderer as explained in the book The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God by Roy Abraham Varghese
An extension of an Aristotelian/Deist concept of God that can be reached through natural theology, which was developed by David Conway.

In an interview with Joan Bakewell for BBC Radio 4 in March 2005, Flew rejected the fine-tuning argument as a conclusive proof: “I don’t think it proves anything but that it is entirely reasonable for people who already have a belief in a creating God to regard this as confirming evidence. And it’s a point of argument which I think is very important – to see that what is reasonable for people to do in the face of new evidence depends on what they previously had good reason to believe.” He also said it appeared that there had been progress made regarding the naturalistic origins of DNA. However, he restated his deism, with the usual provisos that his God is not the God of any of the revealed religions. In the same interview, Flew was asked whether he was retracting belief in an Aristotelian God, but answered no.

One month later, Flew told Christianity Today that although he was not on the road to becoming a convert to Christianity, he reaffirmed his belief in Deism: “Since the beginning of my philosophical life I have followed the policy of Plato’s Socrates: We must follow the argument wherever it leads.”

In late 2006, Flew joined 11 other academics in urging the British government to teach intelligent design in the state schools.

In 2007, in an interview with Benjamin Wiker, Flew said again that his deism was the result of his “growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe” and “my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source.” He also restated that he was not a Christian theist.

Thanks, Bob.

I will read that in more detail later, but preface the discussion from my perspective will not focus on Christian theism except when it comes up explicitly in his book, which it does. And just to treat the poisoned well back to neutral: It is endorsed by Christian theists.

Again, thank you.

Gentlepeople… start your engines.

I find it difficult to return to a book that presents quite familiar arguments rather than discussing them themselves. Although Anthony Flew played a significant role in the resurgence of interest in rational theism within analytic philosophy at a time when logical positivism dominated the philosophical landscape, I find the situation has generally changed. The marginalisation of discussions about God and religious beliefs is down to disinterest caused by caustic religious personalities and the widespread revelation of hypocrisy in religious institutions, which also weakens any moralistic imperative that the church has used in the past.

Flew was unusually open to reevaluating his positions based on reasoned arguments despite being an atheist for much of his career, which is why, later in his life, he changed his views on atheism and became a deist, acknowledging that evidence and reason led him to reconsider his earlier stance. Many philosophers and thinkers identify as rational theists and engage in reasoned discourse to support their belief in the existence of God or the rationality of religious faith. The term “rational theist” generally refers to individuals who assert that belief in God is compatible with reason and can be intellectually justified. Flew had debated some of them, like William Lane Craig, in the past, and it seems their arguments opened a gate to reconsideration.

It is important to say that although I dislike William Lane Craig for personal reasons, when I overcome my bias, some of his arguments require closer attention. However, I think it is also important to point out that panentheists like myself can be included in the category of rational theists that Craig would probably reject because our theological perspective holds that what we call God is both transcendent and immanent, meaning that God is more than the universe (transcendent) and at the same time present in it (immanent). It has the implications of analytic idealism, and I have suggested elsewhere that the non-duality of Advaita Vedanta often appears to figure in what Jesus was teaching.

So, there are reasoned justifications for panentheistic beliefs, and we can engage in philosophical and theological discussions about the nature of God, the relationship between God and the world, and the rationality of our overall worldview. However, panentheism differs from classical theism in its understanding of divine immanence, as did Flew’s deism.

I am open to panentheism (it makes sense of time), but a lot of stuff that gets associated with it, not so much. Probably similar thing going on with why the word eros is not in the Bible.

I will keep my eye out for Flew’s position relevant to panentheism.

You might not find Flew referencing panentheism because although deism and panentheism are theological perspectives that involve a conception of God, they differ significantly. However, there are some points of similarity and overlap, particularly in their rejection of certain aspects of traditional theism.

Deism typically posits a distant and non-intervening God. Deists believe God created the universe but does not actively intervene in its affairs, such as performing miracles or responding to individual prayers. Panentheism also tends to emphasise a transcendent God, but it includes the idea that God is immanent in the world, intimately connected to and involved with the universe’s ongoing processes. While panentheism doesn’t necessarily require God to intervene personally, it allows for a more intimate relationship with the created world than classical deism in proposing that all living creatures are expressions of the underlying consciousness that initiated the world.

Deism often emphasises the rationality of the universe and the idea that God created a world governed by natural laws. God’s role is mainly seen as the Creator who sets the universe in motion according to a rational design. Panentheism also recognises the rationality of the universe, but it goes further by suggesting that the divine is actively present in and through the natural order. The emphasis on immanence allows for a more dynamic relationship between God and the world’s evolving processes.

Deism rejects anthropomorphic attributes of God, such as emotions or personal relationships. Panentheism also rejects anthropomorphic attributes but often allows for a more nuanced understanding of divine immanence. It doesn’t necessitate a pre-defined goal, but rather, we see a curiosity at work that investigates all possibilities.

You had me until the last paragraph… that’s a form of panentheism I would reject as not maximal.

p.s. I’m on page 18.

For me the book really starts at page 85

I liked how he countered Dawkins’ & others’ “he’s preparing for the afterlife in his old age” (lump sum) with still not believing in the afterlife… then said it is prudent to know where we stand as if the afterlife is now (increments), basically. It sort of begins like The Republic, and riffs off Socrates’ Apology. He hasn’t understood grace yet. Well, at the time of writing. Ironic that just came up in ILP.

I think I’ve only read preface, intro, & ch.1.

More tonight.

I like the Einstein quote against positivism.

So, um. I’m on 48. Y’suspect!

on 65. good stuff.

I’m at 85 now. I’ve been making a lot of scribbly notes along the way. I’m going to save it for the end.

The beginning of the book focuses on the fact that Antony Flew was a well-known atheist and philosopher famous for his advocacy of atheism and secular humanism, and how, in the later years of his life, he underwent a significant shift in his beliefs, moving from atheism to a form of deism. Whilst this may be used to indicate how views can change, I didn’t find it particularly riveting.

The details of Flew’s journey and the reasons behind his change of mind about the existence of God were more interesting, but it is more a reconsideration of his atheistic stance than a conversion. Critiquing some of the key tenets of atheism and presenting his reasons for finding certain atheistic positions untenable, he merely shows that these views are often not fully thought through. The conversation that Alex O’Connor had with Richard Dawkins made that very clear.

One significant aspect of Flew’s change of mind was his openness to intelligent design, particularly in the complexity and order of the universe. Too many creationists jump on the bandwagon in this area, but Flew is too sophisticated for that. His contention is validated by the fact that mathematicians have sat with palaeontologists, have calculated based on what we believe to know, and realised there is not enough time for random events to lead from the planet’s beginning to intelligent life.

We don’t even know the basis of reality because matter has form at a microscopic level, form needs patterns, and patterns suggest information. If you placed salt on a metal plate and used a violin bow to make vibrations, the salt organises itself into patterns, so perhaps vibration has a role to play. We know that solid material has a higher frequency than soft material. But where do vibrations come from? This potential that had a beginning somewhere seems to have an intention behind it, although I don’t believe the anthropomorphic interpretations that many fundamentalists believe in.

The tree represents life well because it defies physical impracticalities (such as gravity) to get water and nutrients to the highest leaf and draws carbon from the atmosphere to grow. The tree’s ability to overcome those challenges and its role in nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration highlights natural processes’ intricate and seemingly purposeful design.

So, Flew discusses the limitations of science in explaining certain aspects of existence, suggesting that a purely naturalistic explanation falls short of a parsimonious answer:

The reductionist view that has dominated us for over 250 years, which caused the engineering God hypothesis to be very prominent amongst believers, but as Iain McGilchrist recently pointed out:

Flew also says, “I must stress that my discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena. It has been an exercise in what is traditionally called natural theology. It has had no connection with any of the revealed religions. Nor do I claim to have had any personal experience of God or any experience that may be called supernatural or miraculous. In short, my discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith.”

Flew’s citation of Einstein’s statement is also telling: “My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

In the appendices, Flew expands on five phenomena that he says are evident in our immediate experience that can only be explained in terms of the existence of God:

1. Flew contends that the rationality inherent in the physical world, such as the order and predictability observed in the laws of nature, suggests a transcendent intelligence. According to Flew, the consistency and orderliness of the universe point to a rational and intentional Creator.

Iain McGilchrist also addressed this aspect:

This is a point I have discussed elsewhere: the experience of all living things contributes to the knowledge of the intelligence that started it all. Whether that happens in time or out of time, the purpose of our lives is to be the feeling, experiencing tentacles that extend into physical existence.

2. He emphasises the capacity for life to act autonomously, especially in living organisms. He argues that the autonomy and purposeful action exhibited by living beings imply a source of life that imparts purpose and direction rather than mere random processes.

Of course, this is also an aspect of ethical teaching and judging what is good and right. The fact that we have a discussion in contemporary times is a sign that autonomy may indeed be a sign of sophistication, but so much so that it can become a burden. Coming from nursing, I can relate well to the following:

3. Flew considers consciousness, the ability to be aware, as a phenomenon that requires explanation. He contends that the existence of conscious experience, particularly self-awareness, suggests the presence of a transcendent mind or consciousness that is foundational to our own.

McGilchrist calls upon Bergson to explain how all the expressions of consciousness, our sensations, emotions, and ideas, ‘display a double aspect: one is clear, precise, and impersonal; the other is confused, infinitely mobile, and inexpressible, because language cannot grasp it without immobilising its mobility’. This obviously supports his hemisphere hypothesis, which shows how attentiveness is twofold and is so throughout the animal kingdom. This makes a gradation of consciousness possible, which could support the theory I put forward that “God’s” inquisitiveness spreads throughout all living beings, not just those we deem sentient.

4. Flew points to the human ability for conceptual thought, the power to articulate and understand meaningful symbols, particularly language. According to Flew, the capacity for abstract thinking, communication, and the use of symbols indicates a higher intelligence behind the human ability to engage in meaningful thought and expression.

Of course, conceptual thought needs language, but it may have been expressed in other ways before the development of written language. The primordial linguistic attempts probably grew out of enactment or artistic portrayal, which means showing rather than trying to describe using symbols. It is interesting that human beings seem to have been engaged in megalithic building before the first examples of expressive language. We have found tablets containing lists and symbols, but nothing in that age that can be conceived of as mythology, legend, or narrative.

5. Finally, Flew addresses the concept of the human self as the “center” of consciousness, thought, and action. He suggests that the existence of a unified and self-aware center of experience, the “I” or self, raises questions about its origin and nature, pointing to a transcendent source that provides coherence to personal identity.

The interesting thing about self is that our idea of self is a brain function that can be inhibited or even disrupted by injury to the brain. Our awareness of a bodily self changes when people have a stroke, for example, with right hemispheric damage leading to a neglect of everything on the left and even a reduction of reasonableness. This is illustrated by patients not even believing that their left arm is theirs, as I have often experienced in nursing practice. This indicates that a balanced idea of self depends on both brain hemispheres working together. McGilchrist suggests that we can habitually disengage with the more reasonable right hemisphere, for example, when we think we are threatened or in danger.

But we also have another problem, which can come from using one side of our perception, namely what Meister Eckhardt called the intellect:

Intellectually, we may “ransack every corner of the Godhead” and never understand. The broader intuitive experience of the transcendentals, truth, unity (oneness), beauty, and goodness impart an insight that the intellect cannot access. This means that Flew’s rational enquiry is limited. Positing that the existence of God provides a more plausible explanation for the depth and complexity of these phenomena, indicating an underlying purpose and intelligence in the universe, requires that we must leave the rational enquiry, that brought us so far, behind us, and enter unknown terrain.

Thanks, Bob. I’ll read you later and catch up with you and share some of my own thoughts. I am almost done with the book, on 163.

I finished the book this morning. I still need to read your replies.

I like how on 44 & 48, Flew accepts that pain is something theists let count against (falsify) the hypothesis that God loves humankind, so that it is not an empty hypothesis, and things can count for (verify, though less stringently defined) that hypothesis, as well. I like that he agrees with Heimbeck’s critique that he was wrong to collapse the distinction between “counts against” and “is incompatible with”. It becomes an issue of – is it a defeater? Flew references the free will defense (73), and distinguishes between the moral movings of action/will and the physical motions of necessary will – seeing design in both (110…). No algorithm without a programmer; no automation without design.

Here’s a falsifying defeater: If there is no demonstration of God’s love in a context understood by the community in which it was demonstrated (47), the claim that God is love is not real/actual – it does not apply.

This got me thinking back to…

If there IS a good (loving), omnipotent God, THEN there is a problem of evil.

If there is no good (loving), omnipotent God, there can be no problem of evil, because without real/actual goodness, there cannot be its privation (evil).

Those who affirm evil is a problem must accept (in order to remain consistent) there is a real/actual good, omnipotent God of which evil is the privation.

If there is a real/actual good, omnipotent God of which evil is a privation, there will be a demonstration of that goodness (love) in a context understood by the community in which it was demonstrated (47). Everything before that demonstration would be prefiguring/foreshadowing in order to “teach the language” and prepare the message of the demonstration (living, incarnate parable, 46) to be understood.

That relates to panentheism, because how can a God who is merely transcendent communicate an eternal truth (“God is love”) experienced/applied immanently in human history?

I like this quote from Varghese in Appendix A, 183: “If we are centers of consciousness and thought who are able to know and love and intend and execute, I cannot see how such centers could come to be from something that is itself incapable of all these activities.”

It is an echo of where Flew writes in agreement with Thomas Tracy how God (spirit) would be identified: “To say that God is loving is to say that God loves in concrete ways, shown in his actions, and these actions represent his identity as an agent.” (150). If love is not love without demonstration, then said demonstration (active love) is eternally concurrent, omnipresent & omnitemporal, subsuming the sequence (“timeline”). I believe this agrees with his discussion of Brian Leftow following his discussion of Thomas Tracy, if by “outside” of time, one just means “not subject to, but instead subsuming as source.” “At the very least, the studies of Tracy and Leftow show that the idea of an omnipresent Spirit is not intrinsically incoherent if we see such a Spirit as an agent outside space and time that uniquely executes its intentions in the spacio-temporal continuum,” (153-154). To me that is panentheism, but not an impersonal creator/mind (oxymoron).

I take issue with N.T. Wright’s Appendix B where he says, “Only it isn’t through the Word and wisdom and the rest. It’s in and as a person,” (192). Word, wisdom, person… same, same. And, “I think he knew he might actually be wrong,” (193). That doesn’t make sense of the evidence. There must be some subtle cultural thing going on with that sentence to where Wright didn’t actually mean that.

Is Flew really a deist if he thinks God did not just wind up the designed watch & let it go, but intricately wove together life? Is he really a deist if he is open to God making his love actual in human history? He says in his concluding reflections, “Is it possible that there has been or can be divine revelation? As I said, you cannot limit the possibilities of omnipotence except to produce the logically impossible. Everything else is open to omnipotence,” (213).

I am interested in knowing how Flew’s contribution as an atheist to “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” (with Habermas and Miethe, published 2003) differs from his contribution as a deist to “Did the Resurrection Happen?” (again with Habermas, published 2009).

A quote from Flew that sticks from his preface to Wright’s appendix:

“I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honoured and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true. There is nothing like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul. … If you’re wanting Omnipotence to set up a religion, this is the one to beat,” 185-186.

I regard this argument about pain as a strawman. It distracts us from the real issues and leads to a theoretical discussion.

The concept of agape doesn’t, in my view, mean that God must protect us from pain and suffering because, from a panentheist perspective, he is right there with us. Pain and suffering are important aspects of living, without which we fail to learn. Even the Buddha left his paradise to suffer, and after enough, he finally sat down to reach a conclusion. Physical existence is suffering as far as I am concerned, and it is just a question of degree. The eightfold path ends above all the suffering of wanting a pain-free life, and any cultivation of good habits that become flesh-and-blood is a method against falling into depravity.

We can learn to lean into chronic pain by using mindfulness meditation to cope with the downward spiral of suffering. Trying to avoid it or imagining that life must be pain-free is an illusion. I say this at a point in life when chronic pain begins to increase, and yoga and exercise are habits needed to keep the joints “lubricated.” Pain is a problem because it seems to force us to lose our grip on good habits, and degeneracy takes over, which can also be immoral because it leads in the opposite direction to cultivating good, healthy habits. Morality is nothing more than the methodical prevention of mental decay into bad habits that are bad for mental health and social interaction.

In another topic, I have said that I follow a soft determinism, by which I mean that our freedom is restricted to a few choices, but most of what comes our way is out of our control. We must have good habits in place that prevent a downward spiral. I also do not believe life is perfect, but we are moving towards completion, which may be only after death and a prospective reunion with the sacred Unity. I could even entertain reincarnation for souls needing another chance, but I have no proof. What I am really getting at is that the “algorithm” is continually updating, which I believe Physicist James Gates found in the Fabric of Space.

I am very much a friend of the idea that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts etc. We can’t think of God; We can only feel his presence. We can use metaphors and stories to tell what that feels like; we can use allegories and fables, but they are all fingers pointing to the ineffable. We can imagine using science’s theories, but ultimately, we must wait and see. Therefore, our speculations, interpretations of experience, and metaphorical images may suggest agape, but perhaps we are wrong. It is helpful and meaningful to speak of a paternal reality as the ground of all being, and it offers some consolation, but the God in us, or in our midst, throws us back on introspection and the Hindu concept of Atman/Brahman.

This is important because we must follow the philosophical maxim to “know thyself” to understand God. We approach this from the wrong angle when we read scriptures about God and then try to understand ourselves. If we know ourselves, we recognise two directions that physical life can draw us. Up or down is a common description because it feels that way, and anyone who has suffered depression can tell you that they stumbled into a downward spiral of bad habits, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is only by developing new habits that they get out of that, and it is by projecting a goal and working towards it that helps us overcome a maelstrom down towards the wreck that they were.

One habit is visualising what the personified good would look like, and many traditions practice this, whether it is Jesus, Mother Mary, God the Father, Saints, Quan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Kuan Im, or some other real or imagined figure. This is why people have idols and why religious images in Christian theology have played a role in the liturgical and devotional life of adherents of certain Christian denominations, even if it has its dangers. Intercessional prayers asking that deities do the work I need to do can be contra-productive, but habits like the rosary prayer can keep us focused.

A better habit may be to go out each morning with the intention of doing some good, whether by helping, visiting, or caring for someone. Some people greet people purposely on the street with a friendly word. Prayer or Metta chanting can underline this habit, believing that the sacred Unity is a compassionate accord, and agape is its nature, thereby falling in line with that spirit. Habitually thinking of people takes the focus away from bad habits and egotistical thinking.


To say God is loving is to say that it is the nature of the divine Intention who gave us sentience to appreciate and perpetuate the maternal love that grows out of the discomfort and pain that most of us experience. The inherent quality of awareness and wisdom that has come to bear in humanity and possibly other creatures is a potential that was present from the beginning, possibly giving rise to the mythological Sophia at the beginning of creation. This is the demonstration of love that I see.

I tend to agree with Flew when he says, “I think Jesus staked his life — quite literally! — on his belief that he was called to embody the return of Yahweh to Zion. Now, embody is an English word. The Latin equivalent is incarnation, of course. But I prefer to say embody, because, at least in the places where I preach, people can relate to this better than to a technical Latin term. But it means the same thing.”

I also believe that Paul took the idea of the Messiah’s embodiment and saw it in the “body” of the Ekklesia, or the church, comprised of the nations that were previously not the people of God. Christ was that collection of souls, not just the historical Jesus, although he was the “first fruit” that had emptied himself, and Paul believed he was elevated because of that.


Before I fully digest and engage with your reply, if you haven’t yet read and processed the words of Jesus arranged to combine parallel passages/concepts & flow in an ordered progression, I will be referring to it: … he+Kingdom

Note my audio does not match the most recent edits.

Granted: It takes from all four gospels rather than leaving the gospels as-is, and it is not in the original languages. But it is all Jesus.

And it is always a welcome subject to the review of like minds.

Teehee. But srsly.

Okay, it is a falsification. Each Gospel has an agenda, and the diversity of agendas shows us their intentions. It isn’t ever Jesus himself, but the narrated version. There are also contentions with the interpretation of his words, translated into Greek from Aramaic, and perhaps today, the Syriac Christians and the Peshitta version represent the Aramaic/Hebrew faction, but even that is a translation from Greek back into Aramaic. So, you have spent a lot of time for nothing in my view.