Why You Should Stop Reading Blogs

Picture this: You log in to your social media account. You see the same old things, pictures of cats, surreal memes, and your old high school friends who have gained a lot of weight or are trying to sell you something from a MLM. One day, your routine is changed, when you come across a blog that says drinking soda is like drinking cancer.

1.) Blogs often contain false information

Blogs are a huge reason the “fake news” is a thing, any hack can write on a blog. The most common free platforms you’ll see is .blogspot or .wordpress. (This isn’t to say anyone who uses these are hacks.)

2.) They’re a waste of time

Blogs are often a waste of time for both the writer and the reader. No one wants to read a 10 part series. Nothing new is contributed to the field they’re writing about except maybe the writer says it in a way that you’ve never heard it put before if they’re lucky.

3.) Clicks over content

Anyone can fall into this mindset. You’re thinking of the most controversial thing to talk about or something relevant so you can get the some clicks so you feel like your life is worth something. (Especially this SITE)

This is short and sweet because I don’t want you to waste too much time. Go read something peer-reviewed.

Christians, Conservatives, and Climate Change.

Christians, Conservatives, and Climate Change. Oh my! For some odd reason, scientific consensus has become a bipartisan and/or religious issue. The idea of empirical evidence being rejected for political or religious reasons saddens me.

As someone who identifies himself as “Right-wing”, I think our side has quite a bit of pseudoscientific ideas. When a fact is presented, regardless if we don’t like it, we need to accept it if we value honesty and intellectual integrity.

I realize that someone who knows X is true and rejects it for other reasons knowingly is rare. Obviously, if you thought X was true, you’d believe X is true. I do not question that people are sincere in their beliefs and truly believe they’re on the side of the evidence.

Scientific Consensus

I want to get this part out of the way before we get into the evidence. The idea of scientific consensus gets throw around on various social media posts, but consensus is not the same thing as an appeal to popularity or authority. An appeal to popularity would be saying because it is popular, it is true. An appeal to authority would be because they’re scientists, they’re right and you’re wrong. Neither of these should be occurring when someone brings up the scientific consensus, though I’m sure you could show me an unreasonable lazy thinker who just points out the percentage of scientists and then mocks you.

Scientific consensus is not a part of the scientific method, it is a consequence of it. It is not an opinion poll. Just like the term “theory” means something different than the colloquial usage, “consensus” means something different than its colloquial usage.  Consensus isn’t a popularity contest in Science, rather, it is a weighting of the evidence. This is why when fringe scientists disagree, they’re ignored unless they bring up a weightier evidential justification for their disagreement.

Climate Denier One-Liners

There are a few pithy one-liners that climate deniers use that aren’t particularly helpful. Sharing memes on the internet about how cold it is this winter is not a refutation of climate change. Blaming Al Gore won’t get you anywhere either.  The dismissive attitude towards such an important issue is alarming to say the least.

Myths Against Climate Change

Myth #1 It’s not happening

Former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin once stated: “…these global warming studies that we’re now seeing (are) a bunch of snake oil science.”

Contra Mrs. Palin, the 2009 state of the climate report of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (released mid 2010) came to the conclusion that the independent lines of evidence all point to the fact that the Earth is warming. This layman accessible 10-page summary of their conclusion can be found here.

Myth #2 The Climate’s Changed Before

This popular objection to climate science fails to take into account the reality of the effects of Greenhouse gases. CO2 and methane were huge contributors of most of the climate changes in Earth’s history. When CO2 increases, the temperature increases. When decreases, the temperature decreases. Humans have increase CO2 production by a large margin. So, it logically follows that anthropocentric climate change is occurring.

Abrupt vs Slow Change

Life was flourishing in the Eocene and other times of high CO2 in the atmosphere because the greenhouse gases were balanced with the carbon in the oceans.

Lush life in the Arctic during the Eocene, 50 million years ago (original art – Stephen C. Quinn, The American Museum of Natural History, N.Y.C)

When Global warming did happen in the past, it was destructive to the species of that period. (Triassic, Mid-Cambrian)

So yeah, obviously the climate has changed before humans, that is not in dispute. What the problem is that the symptoms of these destructive events in certain periods are the same symptoms we see with the increase of Co2. (Increase in Global Temperatures, rising sea levels.)

Myth #3 It’s All The Sun’s Fault

The Sun has actually shown a cooling trend while temperatures are increasing. The Sun cannot be the main controlling factor when the energy levels are lowering while the temperature is rising.

Below is a chart that shows the sun’s 11 year cycle of energy compared to the temperature.

credit: Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics LISIRD site.

 

Myth #4 Animals and Plants Can Adapt

Southeast Asian extinctions projected due to habitat loss (source: Sodhi, N. S., Koh, L. P., Brook, B. W. & Ng, P. K. L. 2004)

A large amount of extinctions have been causally linked to global warming.[i]

Theological Objections to Climate Change

In reality, there really isn’t a theological objection to climate change. The Concordist can easily fit it into their model and the ANE non-concordist has no need to defend it on biblical grounds. The rejection of climate change seems purely political. It’s what “my party” believes, what my friends believe etc. rather than an actual objection. I recommend a very interesting work that evaluates the relationship between Christian theology and Climate Change.[ii]

Conclusion

Since 1950, the atmospheric carbon dioxide has never been above around 300 parts per million. After 1950, the carbon levels are now closer to 400.  [iii]It is 95 percent probable that humans are involved [iv]in this carbon dioxide increase.[v] Politics are more at play than theology in the Christian rejection of Climate Change.

[i] Botkin & Saxe et al. “Forecasting The Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity” BioScience Vol 63 Issue 12 published in The American Institute of Biological Science.

[ii] https://www.macalester.edu/religiousstudies/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2016/10/Daniel_Rocklin_2011_Thesis.pdf

[iii] B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,” Nature vol 382, 4 July 1996, 39-46

[iv] Gabriele C. Hegerl, “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method,” Journal of Climate, v. 9, October 1996, 2281-2306

[v] B.D. Santer et.al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes,” Science vol. 301 (25 July 2003), 479-483.

Thou Shalt Not Spank: Why Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child Is Unbiblical

In approaching this difficult and emotionally charged topic, I want to lay my cards on the table. Though I have some experience babysitting children, I do not have any of my own. My assumption is that if the Bible teaches anything prescriptive about how to discipline a child, we should take heed. (As opposed to a descriptive text, that just explains what a person did or what the practices of the time were.)
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How To Be For Everything The Bible Is Against

Bible verses getting you down? Tired of those old “Go to Church every Sunday” Christians? Like, I can’t even with them either, so here is a helpful list of things you can do to condone everything the Bible is against, while still claiming to worship the God who inspired it!

 

 

 

 

 

1.) Use the Imago Dei as an excuse to misgender God. 

 

Like really, what is God if we can’t make him into our own image? All these (cis)sys assume God is a male, but like, there is a feminine noun or something when referring to the Holy Sprit, so obviously these readers are just misogynists.

 

 

 

 

2.) Make your faith all about money.

 

All these old time Christians, saying that faith in God means we have to suffer? Like what? Do they think we are Buddhists? The Christian faith is about making lots of money and always being happy. What’s that? Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his side and he responded his grace was sufficient? Clearly, Paul didn’t have enough faith, silly!

 

 

 

3.) Only pray for the people you like. 

 

Everyone likes Jennifer, she’s bubbly, so of course when she asks for prayer you’re right there! But…uh-oh, Derek wants prayer. We don’t like Derek. He probably isn’t even a Christian…and did you hear that he called a girl fat once and he thinks those shoes match with that jacket? Like, unredeemable, I can’t even.

 

 

 

4.) Block anyone with a dissenting opinion.

 

Jesus never talked with people who disagreed with him, so you shouldn’t either, if people aren’t enlightened to your point of view already, do they really have hope? Don’t waste your time, block them from all social media and laugh about them with your friends!

 

 

 

 

5.) One-up everyone in pride

 

Joseph and Zachary really think they can read more books than me? Haha, that’s a joke. I read more books in a week than they will in their lifetime. I shouldn’t encourage them to read even if they are slow readers because they’d  just embarrass themselves.

 

 

 

6.) Always Claim to Be More Christian than someone else.

 

Ethan is in college? Well, he has a tattoo, probably will turn liberal, he doesn’t have discernment like me.

 

Emily is getting married? Well, I could have been married like 3 times, but I don’t have time, I’m busy doing godly things.

He thinks he’s a Christian for getting baptized in a heated pool? I was baptized in a cold November river! Top that, heathen!

 

 

 

7.) Never admit you’re wrong,

 

Now, as you can see clearly, my dear mama, 1+1 is clearly 3.

“But it’s 2”

No, no, no, silly mother, it is 3, just open your eyes to the truth.

 

 

 

8.) Make non-essential issues essential for salvation.

 

You’re Old-Earth? Haha, come on dude, you need to believe the Bible.

 

A Cessationist? Do you have fun quenching the spirit?

 

#DatPostMil, do you really think the world is going to get better? I mean, look at newspaper, because that’s where I get my eschatology.

 

 

You’ve done it! 

 

After you follow these easy eight steps, you will become a prideful, arrogant, and most importantly intolerant professing Christian who believes in a prosperity gospel and judges the truthfulness of God’s word with their feelings. Congratulations, you’re a cultural Christian!

Zakir Naik Tries to Soften the Blow on Beating Women In The Qu’ran

Dr. Zakir Naik, a popular Muslim apologist has said on numerous occasions that the teaching of the Qu’ran regarding beating your wife is a symbolic beating. Not only that, it’s on the third warning you give your wife while she is being disobedient. Never mind the idea of treating a woman like a dog that is acting up is a disgustingly misogynistic idea, instead of trying to shy away from that at all, Naik instead opts to say the beating is symbolic of disapproval with the wife’s actions.
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Why Everybody Should Be Pro-Vaccine

Anti-Vaxxers, they’re everywhere. From religious people on Facebook, to actors who were married to former playmates, people have had their suspicions on vaccination for a long time. This is especially sad to see in the Christian community and the Reformed Christian community (a subset of the christian community.) Because of this, I have sought to answer the two major objections to vaccines that I see repeated all the time. It is my hope that if whether you’re religious or not, you consider what is being presented instead of angrily typing in the comments about how I just want your children to have autism.
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The Flood: Global or Local?

The Global flood has long been subject to critique from secular scientists and religious scientists alike. I remember when I first started thinking about the flood outside of what I was taught about it, I wondered to myself “Did the underwater creatures die during the flood?” This was the beginning of the probing questions I had and led to me to research this issue further.

I want to start by saying that I don’t think either view is theologically problematic. If you believe in a global or local flood, rest assured you won’t have me angrily typing in caps lock against you. However, I am of the opinion that one of the views is better supported by the available evidence.

Here are the facts that we do know. There was a flood that covered almost 100 kilometers.[i] We know that due to increased volcanic activity, our ancestors were forced into small groups[ii], making them easy targets for a local disaster, such as a flood.

There is evidence that in Arabia, around 13,000 years ago, there was a flood that would correspond with the biblical data. In a 2014 peer-reviewed paper[iii], the authors write “The formation of several wadi canyons and funnel cuts along the entire Tuwaiq clearly suggests that the breaching of this conspicuous escarpment was sudden and rapid, as the northern outlet of this mega-lake was sufficient to discharge the water

When I first became a Christian, I was a Neo-Ussherian. I accepted what I was told about the Earth being 6,000 years old, that Evolution was a lie and that essentially much of mainstream science was wrong. I can resonate with those still stuck in this type of mindset and I don’t seek to belittle them, because I’ve been there. Let me share with you my “wow” moment that changed the way I thought about Science and Religion and still impacts me to this day.

As I was reading science books from the library, I came to see that a lot of scientific “problems” that I thought were obvious falsehoods, were assumed in pop science books and explained by the more scholarly works. I started comparing what the Neo-Ussherians were saying with what the scientists were saying and I saw a huge difference in rhetoric and standard of evidence.

For example, I was a big fan of Kent Hovind in my early days, he used to have great rhetorical prose and he made sense to me. However, looking at his work now, I don’t know why I was thinking the way I was. When he started his doctoral dissertation with “Hi, I’m Kent Hovind.” and says he will lick a Jupiter rock (Jupiter is a gas giant) I was astonished at the lack of self-awareness that Mr. Hovind had regarding his scientific claims. In the same way, I think a lot of well-meaning Christians can fall into these anti-scientific traps.

Psalm 104:9 is an important biblical text regarding this issue. The debate is whether or not Psalm passage is referring to creation or the flood. We can deduct from the literary context what answer is more probable.

Verse Psalm 104 Other Creation Passages
2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
Who alone stretches out the heavens, And tramples down the waves of the sea; (Job 9:8)
Several creation passages refer to the expansion of the heavens1
3 and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens, And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth, The LORD is His name. (Amos 9:6)
4 He makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants.  
5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Psalm 102:25)
My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. (Isaiah 48:13)
that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:13)
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand– I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.'” (Isaiah 51:16)
he who builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land– the LORD is his name. (Amos 9:6)
This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: (Zechariah 12:1)
He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Hebrews 1:10)
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. (Genesis 1:7)
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, (Proverbs 8:27-28)
Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
When I made a cloud its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band, (Job 38:9)
The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens, And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth, The LORD is His name. (Amos 9:6)
7 But at Your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of Your thunder they took to flight; And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)
For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, (2 Peter 3:5)
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the rivers. (Psalm 24:2)
8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place You assigned for them. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10)
To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; To Him who spread out the earth above the waters, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; (Psalm 136:5-6)
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth. when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. (Proverbs 8:29)
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. (Psalm 33:6-7)
…For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it. (Jeremiah 5:22)
“Or who enclosed the sea with doors, When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb…And I placed boundaries on it, And I set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’? (Job 38:8-11)

Psalm 104 seems to describe the creation of the universe in the same way that Genesis 1 does. We start with a creation model similar to that of the big bang (Psalm 104:2, Genesis 1:1), a stabilized water cycle (Psalm 104:3-5, Genesis 1:6-8) and the earth is described as a place completely covered in water. (Psalm 104:6, Genesis 1:9) God causes dry land to appear (Psalm 104:7-8, Genesis 1:9-10) leading us to verse 9 where God Is said to have set a boundary at creation, that the waters would no longer cover the entire earth after God created the dry land.

The other way this can be interpreted is that while Psalm 104 does have some similarities to the creation event, it is a text about a global flood and verse 9 is simply reiterating God’s rainbow covenant promise that he won’t flood the earth again.

Both are exegetically tenable; however, I think one view stands out over the other. The Psalmist seems to use language that would indicate it is talking about creation rather than the flood. The Psalmist’s reference to “boundaries of the deep” reek of a reference to creation, since boundaries are not referred to any other flood passage, while it is referred to in other creation passages. (Proverbs 8:29, Psalm 33:6-7, Jeremiah 5:22, Job 38:8-11.) A quick note: the figure of speech where earth is referred to as being “covered in a garment” occurs in undisputed creation passages, but not undisputed flood passages.

When anyone wants to point out modern science, you might get the same old tired response that you’re just a compromiser of biblical faith and giving in to secularism. Contrary to that lazy rhetoric, there are two important things to note:

1.) There are commentaries that were written before modern scientific discovery that interpreted Psalm 104:9 as referring to creation.
2.) Many of these commentaries were written by Neo-Ussherians.

That second point is especially important. A Neo-Ussherian would have no ‘compromising’ motive to capitulate to science.

For example, John Gill states:
“for it treats of the creation of all things, of the heavens and the earth, and of all creatures in them; and of the providence of God in taking care of them.Psa 104:6 – Thou coverest it with the deep as with a garment,…. This refers not to the waters of the flood, when the earth was covered with them, even the tops of the highest mountains; but to the huge mass of waters, the abyss and depth of them, which lay upon the earth and covered it as a garment, at its first creation, as the context and the scope of it show; and which deep was covered with darkness, at which time the earth was without form, and void, Gen 1:2”

Matthew Henry in passing says “Psalm 104 – God’s majesty in the heavens, The creation of the sea, and the dry land. (1-9)”

John Wesley also acknowledged this as well as Charles Spurgeon who said:
Verse 6. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment. The new born earth was wrapped in aqueous swaddling bands. In the first ages, ere man appeared, the proud waters ruled the whole earth. The waters stood above the mountains, no dry land was visible, vapour as from a steaming cauldron covered all. Geologists inform us of this as a discovery, but the Holy Spirit had revealed the fact long before.

The Septuagint labels this psalm “a psalm of David concerning the constitution of the world;” and an inscription on an ancient Syriac version of Psalm 104 states: “a psalm of David, when he went to worship before the ark of the Lord with the priests; and as to us, it teaches us confession and prayer; and intimates to us the constitution of the beginning of the creatures; and declares some things concerning the angels.” (bold mine)

The Neo-Ussherian who interprets this as referring to creation, will usually say God made an exception regarding the flood, but this seems like special pleading to me.  We can conclude that it isn’t just those pesky Christians who listen to 21st century science who believe this way.

Answering Objections to the Local Flood

Because water always seeks its lowest point, how could water cover the mountains but not the whole earth?

This question needs to take into account the lack of variety in the Hebrew vocabulary. The Hebrew word for Mountain can easily refer to slopes or smaller mountains than the snow-capped ones you may be thinking of.

Secondly, water doesn’t always seek its lowest point, there have been observable floods where tidal forces and wind push water up onto land.

Why Couldn’t Noah just run away from the local flood?

This assumes that just because it was local that means it was small, like the size of a city or a neighborhood. This isn’t the case. However, what is a problem is the idea that many animals who are area specific all coming to one boat. You might think of the Pangea defense, but continental drift and the Neo-Ussherians calendar of events don’t add up with the evidence of Pangea.

If God didn’t flood the whole world, God lied.

This type of rhetoric is the most infuriating. It is circular reasoning, It presupposes the disputed topic and reeks of piety instead of honest inquiry. It’s also insulting to ask or state to a fellow Christian that they simply believe God is lying, certainly an uncharitable assessment of someone you disagree with.

Conclusion

Did God stretch out the heavens (Psalm 104:2) in Genesis 6-9 ? Did God set the earth on its foundations (Psalm 104:5) in Genesis 6-9? If it’s talking about a flood, where’s the reference to judgement? The things we expect to see if it was referring the flood is just not there.

Given the biblical parallels and the scientific evidence, I think it’s more probable that the flood was local rather than global.

[i] Rose, J. (2004). New Evidence for the Expansion of an Upper Pleistocene Population out of East Africa, from the Site of Station One, Northern Sudan. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 14(2), 205-216.

[ii] Parker A.G. (2010) Pleistocene Climate Change in Arabia: Developing a Framework for Hominin Dispersal over the Last 350 ka. In: Petraglia M., Rose J. (eds) The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer, Dordrecht

[iii] El Bastawesy, M. Arab J Geosci (2015) 8: 2577. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-014-1396-9

The God That Blinds The Unbelievers Is Yahweh: An Analysis of 2 Corinthians 4:4

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) 

As a fairly new Christian, I was taught that the little ‘g’ was supposed to indicate a false god, while an uppercase ‘G’ indicated that the text was talking about the God of the Bible. While this is an easy way to tell the difference in most cases, it isn’t always the case. There is a majority consensus among scholars and laymen alike that the “god of this world/age” must refer to Satan. But there wasn’t a consensus in early church history, which is where we will turn first.

Patristic Understanding of 2 Corinthians 4:4 

There were several prominent views regarding this passage, but we will focus on four of them.

View 1: Yahweh is that one that blinds but is not the “god of this age” that the passage refers to.

View 2: It can apply to either Yahweh or the Devil.

View 3: “the god of this age” is the devil.

View 4: “the god of this age” is Yahweh.

All four of these views can find refuge in the early Church.

View 1

View 1 has the support of Irenaeus, who in his work Against Heresies[i] argues that the Apostle Paul occasionally would arrange words against the natural grammatical sequence, it is believed he argued this way to offset any Marcionite interpretation of such passages.

John Chrysostom also held this view. He argues in his 8th Homily[ii] that Yahweh does blind people, but only after he has permitted a certain amount of suffering. The historical context to consider regarding his response is that Chrysostom was responding to both Maricionism and Manicheanism.

Augustine was another proponent of view 1. He starts off by charging the Manicheans with dualism, Augustine’s response to Faustus[iii] was that Yahweh is the one who blinds, as Faustus insisted that 2 Corinthians 4:4 referred to the devil.

View 2

Pelagius[iv] is the only big name that is clearly advocating for View 2. He states that in one sense, it can be the devil because the devil rules over unbelievers. On the other hand, It can refer to Yahweh because he is reacting to the unbelief of the people (punishing them for not believing.)

View 3

Origen argues[v] that the “the god of this world” blinds the minds of unbelievers for retribution. Essentially, Satan is doing God’s dirty work. He identifies clearly that the “prince of this world” referred to in John 16:11 is the same being referred to in 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Tertullian also held this view, his argument was in response to Maricon[vi] and he found the idea that 2 Corinthians 4:4 referred to Yahweh as not fit for the creator but rather identified him with the being of Ephesians 2:2.

View 4

The fourth view finds support in several figures in church history, such as Hippolytus, Ambrosiaster, Didymus The Blind, etc. but the person I want to focus on is Cyril of Jerusalem.

Cyril sees no issue with 2 Corinthians 4:4 being applied to Yaweh and insists contra the gnostics that the God of the OT and the God of the NT are the same and they both blind people in the way the scripture describes. He even goes so far as to attribute the actions to Jesus.[vii]

Now that we have covered a little bit of how this passage has been interpreted in church history, let’s move on to more modern interpretations of 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Modern Arguments for and against Yahweh as “the god of this age”

Against

It seems to be the plain reading that the “god of this age” is referring to Satan.[viii] Shillington, dripping with sarcasm states “Imagine Paul as a missionary preaching that the God of his gospel blinds the minds of those for whom that gospel is intended.”[ix]

It should be noted before we continue that Shillington’s comment is a strawman argument. Typically, when someone believes that the “god of this age” is Yahweh, they’re saying that God blinds the unbelievers minds who were never intended to get the gospel, not that God is having this internal struggle of begging to save and blinding to damn.

There is an interesting discussion regarding the use of Beliai, the apocalyptic god. This in my opinion is the strongest argument against the position that 2 Corinthians 4:4 is referring to Yahweh. You can read more about this argument here. [x]

 

For

Three points are brought up in favor of this interpretation by Dr. Donald E. Hartley, who states:

“If 2 Cor 4:4 refers to the devil/Satan, it would be the only place in Scripture

where he is referred to as ‘the god.’ In contrast, Satan, the Serpent, and even Belial seem

to be Paul’s preference in 2 Corinthians.72 This view also requires that Yahweh use this

‘god’ as an instrumental agent of blinding. But this interpretation introduces an

unnecessary intermediary as well as assumes that blindness is transformative and judicial

(retribution) rather than deprivational and non-judicial. If congenital hard-heartedness is

held and divine hardening is construed as a circumlocution for withholding

regeneration, then it would be difficult to sustain this view. It appears unlikely that Paul

would use oJ qeo/ß in this sense without a great deal of confusion.

THE JOHANNINE EXPRESSION IS NOT EQUIVALENT WITH PAUL

The Johannine expression should be treated differently for five reasons: (1) John

uses a‡rcwn not qeo/ß. (2) John uses ko/smoß rather than ai˙w¿n. (3) There is no mention of

blinding in John as it relates to the “ruler/prince of this world.” On the contrary, John

depicts blindness as both congenital and an effect of a divine act (John 9:35-41; 12:38-

41).73 (4) It requires one to define Paul by John rather than Paul by Paul. (5) Paul

elsewhere refers to the devil/Satan using the same term a‡rcwn as John (Eph 2:2b) and

this strongly argues against taking 2 Cor 4:4 as referring to the devil/Satan or at least

shifts the burden of proof significantly. Paul may very well use oJ qeo/ß because he is

referring to Yahweh not the devil/Satan. Although the references to Belial and his

domain are indeed parallel with the Johannine expression and some of Paul’s too, it

may not be legitimate to equate these with the phrase in question.

THE ALLUSION IS TO ISAIAH 6:9-10

Isaiah 6:9-10 is the backdrop for 2 Cor 4:4 and here Yahweh is the actor. He

hardens (‘fattens’), blinds, and deafens, not the devil/Satan (not even instrumentally).

Paul states in verse 3 that the Gospel is hid to those who are lost (state) and then

develops this in terms of the divine intent in verse 4 (purpose). This is very similar to the modus operandi of Isa 6:9-10 and its traditional trajectories.”

Hartley offers many more arguments for the position, I encourage you to read the entirety of his work.[xi] (For my Calvinist audience, Hartley is Dr. James White approved.


Conclusion and Implication

In this overview, I sought to present the historical background and the modern views on how to interpret 2 Corinthians 4:4. Though I do hold to a view, I have sought to represent each position with honesty and sought for the best arguments I could find. The implication if 2 Corinthians 4:4 is talking about Yahweh is that Calvinists may have a stronger argument for unconditional election. More importantly, we ought to seek what Paul actually means and what scripture actually says.

 

 

 

[i] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.7 1-2 (Can be read for free here)

[ii] Chrysostom, Homily 8 on 2 Corinthians (Can be read for free here)

[iii] Augustine, Contra Faustus 21.1-2 (Can be read for free here)

[iv] Pelagius, Commentary on 2 Corinthians cited in Gerald Bray, ed., 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS, ed. Thomas C. Oden, vol. 7 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999) pg. 228.

[v] Origen, Commentary on John 11.14 (Can be read for free here)

[vi] Tertullian, Against Maricon 5.11 (Can be read for free here)

[vii] Cyril of Jerusalem First Catechetical Lecture 6.28-29 (Can be read for free here)

[viii] Hughes, Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 126.

[ix] V. George Shillington, 2 Corinthians, Believers Church Bible Commentary, ed. Williard M. Swartley (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1998), 92

[x] 2 Corinthians 4:4: A Case for Yahweh as the ‘God of this Age.’ Donald E. Hartley, Ph.D. The 57th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society Valley Forge, PA 16–18 November 2005

[xi] Ibid.

The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Thou Shalt Not Plagiarize 

Plagiarizing is intellectually dishonest and takes credit from the work other people do.

Thou Shalt Not Write Fluff

Cotton Candy writing, where you use as many words as possible to make that word count like a college student working on an essay is annoying, boring and a waste of time.

Thou Shalt Cite Sources 

When you don’t cite what you’re responding to, it makes you look unprofessional and gives your reader no confidence in your honesty integrity and analysis.

Thou Shalt Not Curse Out Your Opponents 

Atheists might curse you out, but as Christians we shouldn’t call each other naughty words not fit for our Christian minecraft servers.

Thou Shalt Accept Correction 

If you’re proven wrong on a subject, admit it and retract it. Don’t become the fake news of Christian apologetics.

Thou Shalt Not Write Blog Series
Blog series are long, draw-out fluff-filled pieces meant to get more clicks to a blog.

Thou Shalt Not Share Your Blog to Every Group On Earth 

Only share your blog in groups where it would make sense, or groups that allow people to share their blogs.

Thou Shalt Not Turn Off Comments 

It makes you look bad when you turn off comments, you don’t have to read them all but making it impossible for people to respond to you or to each other is only going to work towards your detriment It’s good to hear other people’s opinions.

Thou Shalt Not Sell Things When Thou Hastn’t Made It 

If you’re not even in the top million on the Alexa Traffic Ranking, you probably shouldn’t be selling T-Shirts with your logo on it or books that you’ve written. It comes off as amateurish.

Thou Shalt Not Make An Apologetic Blog Your Career 

Having a career in Apologetics sounds nice but there are a variety of factors that need to come into play. Credentials is an important one. If you aren’t studying theology in college or have some type of credential, people typically won’t take you seriously. Apologetics as a career successfully I might add, is about as likely as becoming an NFL player.