Updated: Jan 28
In the Trinity Sunday readings for June 11, 2017, the majority of the text comes from the Creation story. We read all of Genesis chapter 1, and go onto the first four verses in chapter 2.
In comparison, the Gospel reading from Matthew is just four verses; with the Epistle reading from Paul being only three.
There was a movie made several years back, starring Bill Murray. The title is Lost in Translation. Murray played a character that was a well-known, yet aged actor in America, who had gone to Japan. There his image was going to be used to promote a local whiskey. After the character arrived in Tokyo, he realized he knew nothing about the language or culture, with his only reason for being there (money) being little solace as time slowly passed.
The movie is a romantic comedy, in the sense that an older man that is lost in a foreign land finds comforts from a young American student he meets. Simply because they speak the same language, they are drawn together as temporary companions.
I am reminded of this movie because the Holy Bible is like a foreign land, because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. For centuries, Western Catholics were preached to in Latin, with no one seeing reason to explain what was being said (to those who were not fluent in that dead language). Christianity is a religion that is lost because of this failure to communicate the truth.
American Christians are much like the two characters whose sole appeal to one another is they both speak English in a land where they find themselves Lost in Translation. We Christians today are totally lost to what is truly written.
When I have visited foreign lands and gone to tourist attractions, they make electronic guides be available. I have said, “Give me the headset that speaks English.” I can then go through an ancient French fortress and know the history of each section there. I can go to an Italian basilica and through an English translation on tape know what famous artist or sculptor has works placed there.
That is what those who listen to the New International Version, or the New American Standard Bible, or the King James Version translations are doing, in effect. Christian tourists enter the foreign lands of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus, searching for all that knowledge to be as comfortable as if they all lived in our home towns. We want to know what everything says – in English. Otherwise we are lost.
Several times, while I toured France, English-speaking Frenchmen asked me, “Why do you come to France if you do not speak French?” That is a good question to ask. Why would I go somewhere that would make me dependent on guides and helpers? Why would I expect foreigners to speak my language? So they would tell me what I want to know in my own terms?
In the same vein of thought, why would anyone come to Christianity if it means one is dependent on those who are multilingual to explain things to them? What if people saw gullible souls who would believe anything? What if people made things up and others believed what they were told, without question?
Sound like the blind leading the blind, which Jesus referred to?
Last Sunday – Pentecost – we heard how the eleven stood up and spoke in foreign languages and the crowd of tourists in Jerusalem was amazed and astonished. Imagine how amazed and astonished you would be if Genesis were to be read to you – IN HEBREW! … and YOU UNDERSTOOD!!!
A miracle, indeed!
You would really be amazed and astonished if you had that experience, if you had never studied a lick of Hebrew prior. However, as I imagine the Roman Catholic Church has found out, reading Scripture in a foreign language, followed by a sermon equally unintelligible, all pew-sitters would be lost, without translation. Not understanding Latin means few are amazed and astonished by those spoken words.
People would leave such a service asking, “What did the good priest say?” I imagine replies would be like: “I dunno. Be good, I guess.”
I tell you this today because what was read as the text of Genesis 1 and 2 is not what was written. It is a translation that purposefully makes those who hear it comfortably lost. Simply from hearing the words, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters,” we have been given a false image of what was written.
The falseness is purposefully explained as truth by theory … that the writer of Genesis was a flawed human being. Theological theorists believe Genesis was written by some guy they call “the E writer.” They call him that because the word “elohim” begins with the letter “e” and that word is written 32 times in Genesis 1. Because “elohim” is also written in Genesis 2:1-4, we read that too today.
Theological theorists believe “elohim” translates as “God.” Thus, we read “God created the heavens and the earth” and “God said, “Let there be light.” However, “elohim” is quite clearly the Hebrew word that is the plural form of the singular “el.” “El” means “God.” “Elohim” means “gods,” with a little “g.”
This means the true translation should say, “In the beginning created gods” and the “gods said, ‘Let there be light.’”
Theological theorists believe reading that translation would leave Jews and Christians lost in translation. There is only One God, so there cannot be “gods.” Therefore, the “E writer” was some dunce who wrote the plural form of “el,” when “el” is really what he-she-it meant to say.
We would be lost hearing “gods” creating this and “gods” commanding that, while saying everything is “good” … right? We would become as despondent and bored as Bill Murray’s character hearing those words, causing us to be open to clinging onto someone who speaks a language we recognize. It would make us long for someone who could bring all the warmth and comforts of our ole time religion, the one we miss, which is always in standard English, requiring no thought to understand.
“They say “gods” here; but I only believe in One God.” tourists lament.
We fall in love with pretty, young theological theorists … even though we are happily married to Jesus and firmly believe in the one Father; we can’t fathom how angels are “gods.” Even though we know all human beings (and probably our pets too) have eternal souls, which could be classified as “gods” because they never die, we still feel uncomfortable thinking there are any other “gods” that we have to consider in the Creation.
It is essential to realize that all lower-g “gods” were created by the One God. It is to be assumed that the Creation was from that One … from God. Still, what are the laws of mathematics … the laws of Motion, the law of Gravitation, and all the laws of Science and the Physical (Nature) … if they are not “gods” in their constants, as eternal beings?
Was not the Creation governed by the laws God created to govern the material realm? Would those “gods” not be created first, before our known universe was set forth, described as “a formless void” that spread “deep,” like an expansion of released “waters”? Does not physics, gravity and motion all come together as an explanation that says, “Let there be light”?
In Psalm 8, when David wrote, “You have made [man] but little lower than the angels,” did he not just recognize the angels as “gods”? Could it be that angels helped create the universe? If there are indeed angels, apart from God like us earthlings, wouldn’t they have been created first?
In Matthew we read, “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” What did they doubt? Did some of them see a man, unable to see a god that had returned to life?
Those four verses that end Matthew’s Gospel are called “The Great Commission,” where Jesus sent out disciples to begin Christianity. First, the disciples had to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so they could bring light to the world.
Is that not like a parallel to the Creation Story? Did not the Apostles-to-be, and all those Jews and Gentiles they converted, become the same as “gods” of Jesus Christ … which “In the beginning [Jesus Christ] created”? Mere men became immortal Saints, who would then act just as Jesus acted; and through them the void of truth that was deep and dark was breathed upon by those faces of Jesus-created gods.
Did Jesus Christ have to physically walk the planet for thousands of years, personally transforming humans into Christians in order to turn the void of humanity into the goodness of Christianity?
Seeing how Jesus created Apostles to do the vast work of Salvation, then why would anyone think that God would have had to go about personally forming stars and planets, then putting His hands on the Earth to mold vegetables and animals, before tinkering with man and woman? We must see this as the reading:
“So “elohim” created humankind as likenesses, in the likeness of “elohim” created them; male and female created them.”
Cannot one then also deduce:
“So Jesus Christ created Apostles as likenesses, in likeness of Jesus Christ created them; male and female created them.”?
God likewise created gods to do His work in the material plane. The “elohim” were (are) the extensions of the One God. Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he is one of the “elohim“ that were Created in the beginning. The Apostles, as extensions of Jesus Christ, are then in the likeness of God. It is a repeating Trinity!
Remember how John wrote in his Gospel:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”?
Sounds a lot like Genesis 1, doesn’t it?
The Jews refrain from saying … or even spelling … the names of God, which is part of their translation and understanding of the Ten Commandments of Moses, in particular the one that says not to take the Lord’s name in vain. This means “elohim” becomes an assumption of God, without the need to explain the Creation came from God. It was God (without need to say that) who, “In the beginning created gods (elohim).”
That is what we find in Genesis 2 (after the parts read today), where the “E writer” vanished and the “J writer” took up the pen (J is for Jehovah , the German form of Yahweh). That writer then began calling God “Yahweh elohim.” Those words are translated to say “LORD God,” but the reality is it means “LORD of gods.” It confirms that God created gods.
So, on this Trinity Sunday, we believe what Paul said:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” God wants to Create us in His image, as “elohim.”
A Christian can only be created by that Trinity being within one human being. The Greek word translated as “communion” is “koinōnia,” which actually means “spiritual fellowship.” It means the Christ Mind must join with our eternal souls, so we become one of the “elohim” that shares a deep “love of God.” We share our being with God, through His Holy Spirit giving us the Christ Mind.
It takes more than a wafer and a sip of wine to reach that state of godly fellowship. So, don’t get lost in the translation of “communion” and think kneeling at the rail is all you have to do.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you,” said Jesus to his disciples.
Just as God said to His lower-g gods, you have to be holy and blessed by the Father, doing as He commanded all mankind:
“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.”