How Do You Get to Have A God For A Father?

by fulltimestudent 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    The answer is simple, a god must impregnate your mother.

    I gave this some thought, as I read the following National Geographic article, having had my mind thoroughly impregnated by holy spirit in the 40 years I spent as a temple slave, serving the Chief god YHWH and his side-kick Jesus, who, unlike me, had been completely begotten by holy spirit.

    So with interest, I read about Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, who told her son (Alexander) that he had been begotten by the chief god Zeus, who had turned up on night in her bed and had accepted his advances,

    Olympias is an interesting woman. In a era when society had conservative notions about women's role (not dissimilar to JW standards) women, "were supposed to be quiet, passive, stay out of public life, and maintain the family," Olympias grew up believing that the Greek hero (and demi god) Achilles had impregnated her mother resulting in her (Olympias;) birth.

    According to Plutarch (a Greek biographer) Olympias told her son, Alexander (Who became 'great') that she also had also experienced a divine sexual experience, when the chief Greek god, Zeus had turned up in her bed and impregnated her, leading to the birth of Alexander.

    Alexander's belief was pictured by the Italian artist Giulio Romano in the 16th century fresco that he created on the the wall of the Sala di Psiche of the Palazzo del Te in Mantua, Italy. In the fresco Zeus is visualised as a sea-serpent about to have intercourse with a naked Olympias.

    Did Alexander believe this? As he started his Empire building wars, he took time off to visit an oracle in the Libyan desert, where he was pronounced to be the son of the Egyptian chief god, Amon, who in Greek thought was supposed to be Zeus.

    Which set me to wondering how many young women in hellenised Judea thought their bed had been visited by a god? And, how many young men got to think that some god or the other was their real father?

  • Carmichael

    It is rare, but not totally unheard of, in ancient Jewish usage, that YHVH gets called "Father." One of the rare times in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures, is at Isaiah 63:16.

    One of the reasons this did not occur is due to the very reason Fulltimestudent brings up. It's a heathen and pagan concept that you will note does not occur in Jewish mythos. Not until the Christians begin composing their Gospels do such stories of the Holy Spirit making the conception of the Virgin Mary possible do we see the pagan/heathen concept again, but then this is not Jewish but Christian.

    In modern Jewish liturgy, God is rarely spoken of in any human terms except for the High Holy Days, which are upon us with the beginning of the month of Elul (Rosh Hashanah is one month away at this writing). A popular Jewish prayer sung during the season is "Avinu Malkeinu," which means "Our Father, Our King."

    The title itself comes from Isaiah 63:16 and 33:22, playing off of two popular but contrasting sobriquets that Jews have used for their Ineffable God. God is both Father and King and God is neither, and so in the prayer, God is addressed humbly and at the same time inadequately.

    The truth, of course, is that Jews neither believe God is a literal father or king. If they did, the prayer would make no sense. But this is not true of Christianity where God is literally both, especially due to Jesus Christ and the position each individual Christian claims to have with respect to God.

    It should be noted that prior to the time of the Greeks, before the Davidic dynasty, it is likely that the Jews practiced various cults alongside YHVH worship that believed in myths where women slept with their gods. (Compare Genesis 6:1-4) The idea did not have to wait before the Hellenization of Judea or the invention of Christianity. It was far older. But such practice did not survive once it was wiped out when the nation of Judah adopted the worship of YHVH as the state religion. According to the theology of the time, YHVH's earthly presence was female, the Shekinah, and thus did not impregnate women as the pagan gods did.

  • WingCommander

    @Carmichael: Thanks for the very educated response. A rare sight on here lately, it seems.

  • waton
    The answer is simple, a god must impregnate your mother.

    fts: that answer you gave for us is not simple but simplistic.

    Unless the universe made itself (unlike the Wuhan waterparks),

    the possible creator, one way or another, provided us with mothers. that would make him our great^n father. Even if sex developed to facilitate selection in evolution. so:

    keep comments about our mothers to yourself. or

    Are you from east of Kaliningrad? denigrating mothers is a favoured attempt to have powerful expressions there.

  • JoenB75
    Sons of God occur both in Genesis 6 and Job. The only time God baby symbolism is used is in John's gospel
  • HowTheBibleWasCreated

    "YHVH's earthly presence was female, the Shekinah, "

    Uh that is a verylate Jewish concept. The book of Proverbs, Wisdon of Solomon and Sirach all written in Hellenistic times have a 'Sophia' between YHWH and humans but the concept of god being female is foriegn then. Earlier YHWH had Asherah (mentioned in Jeremiah) who was worshipped alongside

  • fulltimestudent

    Carmichael, Thnx for you response and the useful reminder of Genesis 6:1-4, that biblical reference to 'mysterious' erotic divinities.

    My own comment was simply to show what may be another possible example of an inter-cultural Hellenistic influence among the people living in what we may still call Palestine.

    Since Jesus wrote nothing (that we know of) we are dependent on the writings of his followers in order to know anything about the early days of Christianity. All of his first followers were, of course, culturally Jewish, but as we are gradually learning, a Jewishness that had been influenced by the around 300 years of a dominant Hellenism. I was attempting to provoke thought concerning my original post. Why was it neccessary to think of Jesus in terms of a virgin conception? Were people (jewish) aware of the legends about Alexander, and therefore, the first Christians started to describe Jesus in terms that elevated him about ordinary men?

  • Carmichael
    Why was it neccessary to think of Jesus in terms of a virgin conception? Were people (jewish) aware of the legends about Alexander, and therefore, the first Christians started to describe Jesus in terms that elevated him about ordinary men?

    Being Jewish myself, I cannot say that I know anything from that era that suggests that the first Christians were influenced directly from the legends of Alexander to state that Jesus was born of a virgin. But were those Jews aware of the legends surrounding Alexander's birth, the answer would have to be yes.

    But to jump to the conclusion that just because two things appear to be alike that one must be borrowing from the other is not right to do without conclusive evidence. What I do know is that the Jews of the time did not know that women had an ovum that needed to be fertilized by the semen of men.

    Instead, the Jews believed that women had all the product within themselves necessary to bring forth humans. Psalm 139:13 speaks of the "fluids" within the womb that God "knits" together, speaking of them in Hebrew as if they are like curdled milk that can be molded. The act of adding the "seed" of man was the generative force or principle that would activate the natural process of forming the new human body.

    By the time that the Gospels were composed, there were already Greek disciples in every congregation or area in which each of the gospel books were composed: Mark was likely written in Rome, Matthew was written in Antioch, Syria, while Luke wass a Gentile writing in Hellenistic Greek for a Gentile audience, and John was composed in Ephesus or Antioch. None of the gospels originated from the Jerusalem Church or were composed by the Jerusalem bishop, James the Less.

    This means that Greek thought was definitely going to be influencing the gospels, not to mention that they were composed in the Greek language. Remember, Jesus and his apostles spoke and taught in Aramaic and Hebrew. All his speeches would be translated into Greek for these gospel narratives, so it is obvious some things would be lost in translation.

    The Jewish view that the male "seed" would "kickstart" the process of generating the human form in the womb might work in the case of Jesus--if the starter were God, except for the fact that there is no Jewish prophecy that states that the Jewish Messiah is to be born of a virgin.

    The idea in Matthew 1:23 is the only place where any of the Gospels mentions that Jesus was born of a virgin as fulfilling prophecy. And even there, the writer makes no note of this as a marvel. He mentions it only as if in passing. He concentrates, instead on the fact that Jesus is "Emmanuel" or "God with us." Isaiah 7:14, which is being quoted here, is not a text about the Messiah.

    Commentators agree that the author is concentrating not on the fact that Jesus is born of a "virgin," but that Jesus is fulfilling the role of "Emmanuel," that Matthew is calling Jesus "God incarnate" or "God with us." The reason is that Matthew is quoting a verse from Isaiah that by chance renders a word that reads as "virgin" in Greek but is not the point of Matthew's use of the verse. In the past too many have focused on the word "virgin" when the author was making the point of the word "Emmanuel" and Jesus being the "God" who is now "with" his people in the person of Jesus.

    Regardless if the authors were inspired by Hellenistic thought or not, the idea was, as you stated, to describe Jesus in terms that elevated him above ordinary human beings. I am likely to lean toward saying that Hellenistic thought had to be influencing the Gospel movement because these ideas were not part of the Jewish hope regarding the Messiah.

    The Jewish Messiah, in the Second Temple era, had to be the son of a man who was of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David. If he was born of a virgin and was the son of a deity, he could not be the Jewish Messiah.

    The tales of Jesus' sonship came some 30 years after Jesus' death. The details of the Jewish Messiah had to be known during his lifetime, meaning they had to be highly public as he would had to be a public figure. Jesus of Nazareth, especially in the Gospel of Mark, constantly told people to hide the fact that they knew he was the Messiah or that they saw him work miracles that proved he was the Messiah. These "miracles" had to be public, like the works of Moses, to be considered worthwhile.

    The story of Jesus' birth begins like a legend and reads like a legend because, with all due respect, it is a legend. While I believe in the historicity of Jesus, and I do believe he was a rabbi and sage when he grew up, and he was later crucified by the Romans and declared Messiah by his believers, he never rose from the dead. The stories about him are powerful, awe-inspiring, encourage faith in Jesus--but they are not real or true.

    Like the many Hebrew myths found in the Jewish Bible, the Christian Scriptures repeated much of the same elements in their stories to draw believers in their movements. Their Bible is also filled with the same contradictions and errors that plague the Hebrew Scriptures too. Christians may not like to hear this, but unlike the Jews they are often not exposed to critical thinking and analytical study and practical application of their tradition.

    It wasn't the Jews who wrote the legends of Jesus. It was the Christans, the amalgamated group that had to make something new up after their leader was crucified. Much like the failed 1914 date when the world didn't end for the Rusellites, the Christians had to make something of their leader being put to death. The new spin? They made him into a God who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead after being put to death as a criminal.

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