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Out there with the Lord

Page history last edited by pinkhamc@... 1 year, 5 months ago

This page is for thoughts that don't fit into any of the other categories on Mentiscopia.  It will be a jungle/jumble of ideas.


How old were Simeon and Levi when they killed the circumcised Shechemites? 20 02 18

In Gen 31:38 Jacob is running away from Laban with his two wives and their two maidservants, and 11 children Laban catches up with Jacob and they confront one another. Jacob says, “I have been with you for twenty years now.”


Now flash back to year one, and we find Jacob beginning a 7-year indenture to gain Rachel as his wife. So, for the first seven years he worked for the right to marry Rachel, whom he loved. At the end of those 7 years, Laban tricked him by giving him Leah (Rachel’s older sister) first (Gen 29:19-20).


While in Haran, the two women and their concubines gave birth in order (or perhaps with some overlap) to 11 sons.


Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel to overcome her barrenness, gave Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah: Dan, Naphtali. Then Leah to overcome her barrenness after her first four children, gave her maidservant, Zilpah, to Jacob: Gad and Asher. Then Leah now no longer barren: Issachar and Zebulin and “some time later,” Dinah. Then Rachel, finally no longer barren: Joseph (Gen 29:31-30:22). Rachel gave birth to Benjamin when they had reached Canaan and she died in childbirth (Gen 35:19).


Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel to overcome her barrenness, gave Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah: Dan, Naphtali. Then Leah to overcome her barrenness after her first four children, gave her maidservant, Zilpah, to Jacob: Gad and Asher. Then Leah now no longer barren: Issachar and Zebulin and “some time later,” Dinah. Then Rachel, finally no longer barren: Joseph (Gen 29:31-30:22). Rachel gave birth to Benjamin when they had reached Canaan and she died in childbirth (Gen 35:19).


So, lets establish a timeline, assuming 11 boys were born before any girl (Dinah) and a year between births and no overlap between wives/concubines or nine months between births or it takes Rachel two years of barrenness before she turns over Bilhah and overlap between wives and opposite maidservants


Year 1-7 (Jacob is a bachelor)

Year   8: Reuben                          year 7 + 9 months

Year   9: Simeon                          year 8 + 6 months

Year 10: Levi                                year 9 + 3 months                    Dan                            Gad

Year 11: Judah                             year 10                                   Naphtali                      Asher

Year 12: Dan                                year 10 + 9 months                Issachar                      Joseph

Year 13: Naphtali                         year 11 + 6 months                Zebulun

Year 14: Gad                                year 12 + 3 months

Year 15: Asher                              year 13

Year 16: Issachar                          year 13 + 9 months

Year 17: Zebulun                          year 14 + 6 months

Year 18: Joseph                            year 15 + 3 months

Year 19: no birth                          Dinah?

Year 20: no birth


In Canaan: year 21?? Benjamin


The story seems to support the first timeline, but we cannot rule out the second or third. In any event, it seems that the story of Shechem occurred soon after Jacob reached Canaan (Gen 24), so at best, Simeon and Levi who killed the circumcised Shechemites were only 12-11 and 11-10 years old, respectively.


While we are on the subject, it looks like Joseph must have been sold to the Midianites approximately 12-15 years later since Gen 37:2 says Joseph was 17 years old when the trouble that led to his being sold started.


Is God a deistic god? 21 01 06

First, let's be clear on what we mean by the first use of "God" in this question.  This is the God of the Bible--the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the Universe.  The second one is, well, something else.  What else is generally agreed to be one who starts it all and then goes away on vacation while his creation unfolds and changes with time, not the least bit interested in how it unfolds and changes.


By that criterion, the God of the Bible is clearly not deistic.  At the very least, we can know this because in Genesis 1:1-2:3 He tells us He was directly engaged with His creation in the beginning and did not cease doing so until His creation was finished with the creation of man on the 6th day. Yes, In Genesis 2:2-3, He tells us He rested on the 7th day, so that means His engagement is somehow different once man was created, but even resting involves engagement. If you happen to be one of those who accepts deep time and theistic evolution, then you may entertain the possibility His engagement-resting began with His creation at the time that Adam and Eve evolved. Or perhaps you maintain His engagement-resting started with Noah who became the father of all people after the flood. If that doesn't satisfy you, He certainly engaged-rested with His creation when He established the covenant with Abraham to make him the father of many nations (Gen 17:4-5). This especially seems reasonable considering that this covenant ultimately lead through Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross to intimate engagement with His children (1 Jo 3:1-3): people who have believed in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.


But suppose you are a theistic evolutionist, like me. That appears to leave the bulk of the 4.5 billion years of chemical and biological evolution of life on earth free from God's direct care.  Or even worse, that appears to leave the vast bulk of the 13.8 billion years of evolution of cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution free of God's direct care.


I argue this is not so on two counts.

1) If God were to remove His sustaining presence from his Creation for even one nanosecond of those 13.8 billion years, the universe would have ceased to exist. God is outside of His Creation. He is transcendent. But for it to continue, He is everywhere in it as well. He is immanent. I have no proof, of course, but I believe His immanence is necessary for the existence and continuation of the universe, and I am not alone.1


2) God's plan for His creation is so perfect, it does not require tweaking anywhere along the way from the Big Bang to you and me. Each requisite condition and the provisions for it to be met2 and its consequences were carefully planned before (if "before" has any meaning before the creation of time at the Big Bang) God said, "Let there be light." Yet, because this is going on, if you will, in Him -- in that immanent presence of Him, He is there guiding the quantum spin of each particle, and that's how He is engaged in the moment-to-moment flow of cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution.


Perhaps Genesis 2 says God rested on the 7th day, because that which He intended to create from the instant of the Big Bang, mankind, had finally arrived. It was now time for God to be deeply engaged with the intended object of His creation.  He engaged with specific men and women occasionally in Person (as Theophanies) and occasionally in Spirit in preparation for that time when He could engage with all men and women who opened their hearts to Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit who comes when we accept Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice. 


In this sense then, God is somewhat like a deistic God.  His earnest engagement with the intended product of His Creation did not begin until His early Theophanies (as preincarnate Christ) and temporary indwelling of His (Holy) Spirit in selected people who were pivotal to His ultimate plan for mankind.  Then, when the time came for his ultimate plan to be realized, He (Jesus) fulfilled the Old Testament (Tenach) prophecies by giving Himself as the genuine substitutionary sacrifice that opened the gateway to intimate engagement with anyone in His creation who was willing to welcome Him in.  Perhaps this is why, in the Old Testament, God is sometimes referred to as "the Ancient of Days."  Before His creation was ready for His intimate engagement as the Holy Spirit and the Son, effectively, He was engaging His creation solely as the Father.


1Could God Really be Outside His Creation? (This link is external to Mentiscopia)

2Eight Phenomena Which Recur Often in Cosmological, Chemical, and Biological Evolution That Suggest a Creator (This link is internal to Mentiscopia)


The Path Ahead and Behind 22 01 05

As we grow, we walk an upward path toward God. This path brings us to places where past beliefs can become convictions and new beliefs that God asks us to embrace can seem strange, even heretical.


Yet, as our Lord lovingly and patiently guides us along our path, we begin to see the wisdom of what earlier seemed strange. As we look back along that path, we see others, traveling behind us, who may have the same level of understanding as we had at those earlier places or even a better level. At the same time, they may regard our level of understanding as strange.


We come to recognize that the Holy Spirit is Sovereign, and we must learn lessons in His sequence and time, not ours, even though, like Paul before King Herod Agrippa, we may wish everyone could be like us and have the understanding that we have (Acts 26,29).


God does not give us all the same lessons at the same time on our paths. Those who have learned different lessons than ours are so enthusiastic about what they do know, that they expect us to be where they are, not somewhere ahead of or behind them.


Some are so enthusiastic about what they have discovered about Him that they condemn anyone who is not where they are. They point to the passages in the Bible that say we are to instruct our brothers and we are to correct them if they are wrong. And rightly so, but at the same time they overlook those passages (and there are many more) that warn against creating strife in the body; that whatever we do, we are to do it in a loving manner and in a manner, which as far as we can see, recognizes the sovereignty of God and the fact that people will be at different places at any given time.


So, we dedicate the story below to those brothers and sisters who seem to be uncompromisingly critical of those who seem to be behind or further along the walk than they. We ask them to take a hard look at what they are doing to the body, what they are doing to individuals, and what they are really saying about the sovereignty of God. What they should do is celebrate, not condemn.


The Path Ahead and Behind

Many years ago, my middle son, Kreig, and I spent two days hiking on the Long Trail (a rugged wilderness path in Vermont). There were times when I was tired, and he was ahead and other times when he was tired, and I was in the lead. The one behind could have said, “Slow down, you are racing like a madman and will get worn out.” Or the one in the lead could have said, “Come on you sluggard, catch up with me. What’s the matter with you, are you physically inept?” These comments would have produced feelings of ire. But instead, what happened is that the one in the lead would look back, wait, and encourage with words like, “Wow, you ought to see the view from up here.” Or “Be careful, that’s a particularly treacherous section you’re going over.” Conversely the one behind would say “Hey, you are in such a rush, you missed the beautiful flowers back here or these blackberries are delicious, why don’t you come back and join me?” And because of that we had a delightful time instead of being at each other’s throats.


Those further along the path can appreciate what they have learned, and desire those behind to have it. Conversely, those behind can see things those beyond did not when they were in the same place. We should celebrate each other’s unique paths and be eager to pass through the same places sooner or later.


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