Very clear and cool illustrations Mig!
Thanks Sam! You may really dig the next one. I got some keen drawings planned for the next few pages.
I have to say that as an atheist, it is not very compelling that 1000s of years later, John explained the beginning of god. What reason was there to be mysterious about the beginning of god (or as was explained there not being a beginning) in the first place? How could the New Testament commenting on the Old Testament be seen as any different from the Book of Mormon for instance commenting on both combined and claiming to be the new proper way towards salvation. More specifically to the point, what differentiates the retroactive New Testament commentary that seemingly clarifies the mysteries of the Old Testament, from any other myth, or modern interpretation of the mythology of Yaweh (The Koran for instance).
The Old Testament and the New relate on profoundly deep thematic levels. Their interrelationship is so strong that it has spawned libraries of books on the subject. So why is it any more valid than the Koran or the Book of Mormon?
Have you read the Koran or the Book of Mormon? Neither of those even begin to approach the themes developed in the Old testament.
Here’s a quick crash course on the OT.
The OT is composed of The Law, or instruction (Torah), The Prophets (Nevi’im), The writings (Ketubim). All of these combined are the Tanak, known to Christians as the the Old Testament. The order of the books is a little different, and some of the names changed, but it is largely the same for Jewish people and for Christians.
The Torah is made up of the first five books. They narrate a God’s giving of the law to his people, the law is actually the Torah itself. So it narrates its own origin. The Torah is seen as God’s words which are to be pored over with as much fine detail as possible. This sentiment is exemplified in David’s Psalm 119.
So then the Ketubim offers a narrative of the reaction to the Torah. How did the Hebrews put into practice the Torah, and how did God reward them and punish them for it.
The Nevi’im are the writings of the many messengers God sent to his people in order to convey His anger and sadness toward them as they slowly decayed in their adherence to the Torah. For example, Joshua begins with the high of a military victory over Jericho, but Judges ends with the sickening, tragic rape and dismemberment of a woman. This theme of Human failure in the face of God’s law is precisely why the end of the Old Testament is such a downer.
What funny is that if you read the book of Isaiah, it reflects the structure of the Bible. The first half is filled with condemnation. The second half (beginning at chapter 40 foretells of the great hope that is yet to come).
So then, the Old Testament is all about showing the futility of Man’s efforts in reaching God. Man is hopeless in trying to remain sinless. But Isaiah and offer hope:
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NASB95)
Jesus himself insisted on arguing for his legitimate claim to Messiah based on the OT:
“Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”” (Luke 24:44, NASB95)
Notice he says ” The Law of Moses, The Prophets, and the Psalms” which is the the long way of saying “The Tanak” or The Old testament.
The entire book of Hebrews was written to demonstrate the deep connection between Jesus and the Tanak. Romans is also a detailed argument that the Gospel Jesus preached, is the same one promised in the OT.
The Koran doesn’t even try to make these arguments. The Jesus of the Koran is a talking head who comes out of nowhere says something and disappears. Nothing as complex or rich in Old Testament allusion as the Sermon on the Mount ever comes from the Koranic Jesus.
The Book of Mormon is even worse. Besides padding its length by plagiarizing enormous sections of the King James Bible, its theology is completely confused. None of the distinctive beliefs of the Latter Day Saints are even mentioned in it. It’s connection to the Tanak only goes as far as Joseph Smith understood the Old Testament as found in the King James. In literary terms, it’s a mess compared to the complex logic and deep philosophical thinking that marks all of the New Testament.
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