Archive for September, 2008

Glossa Ordinaria Electronica

September 30, 2008

The Glossa Ordinaria is attributed to a 9th century German man named Strabo, who compiled commentary on the Bible, including quotations either from or attributed various church fathers. This gloss never seems to have been officially sanctioned by the pope, but was referenced as being of high authority by Thomas Aquinas. It was popular in the medieval period, and consequently is a valuable aid both for polemicists/apologists and historical theology buffs, as it has an influence to one degree or another on medieval theology.

Now, the scans of a 1603 printing of the Vulgate together with the Glossa Ordinaria have become available, thanks to Sorry, it is still only in Latin.

The following are the pages for each of the six volumes as well as a link to the Black and White pdf available for that volume (other formats of the scan are also available).

Volume 1 (b/w pdf) (about 134 MB)
Volume 2 (b/w pdf) (about 116 MB)
Volume 3 (b/w pdf) (about 162 MB)
Volume 4 (b/w pdf) (about 180 MB)
Volume 5 (b/w pdf) (about 139 MB)
Volume 6 (b/w pdf) (about 128 MB)



H.T. to Historical TheoBlogy (link) for bringing this to my attention.

Response to Victor Reppert on 1 Samuel 15

September 29, 2008

Victor Reppert wrote (not to me … but it is also relevant to me):

How can you be so strongly pro-life on abortion and also defend killing “babes in arms” as enjoined by I Samuel 15?

I answer:
a) Killing is ordinarily a lawful and just part of warfare; and
b) More particularly, Israel’s genocide of the Canaanites was specifically authorized by God as a punishment on the idolatry, necromancy, etc. of the nations of Canaan; but
c) Killing is not ordinarily a lawful and just part of life; and
d) More particularly, killing of unborn infants (at any stage of development) is not ordinarily authorized by God.


Cory Tucholski on Mary contra Bellisario

September 29, 2008

Cory Tucholski has provided a new post (link) on the subject of Mary’s alleged Immaculate Conception, against a previous post by Mr. Bellisario. Cory sets out to demonstrate that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is an unnecessary tradition that actually denigrates the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation.


The Child Inside You

September 28, 2008

Those women who are pregnant, have been pregnant, or think they may one day be pregnant, would do well to check out one of the most advanced set of images I’ve seen to date showing what is inside the woman from the 6th week onward. (link) It’s not just a lump of tissue – its a tiny person developing and growing in ways that are normally impossible to observe.

And though we know a lot more about when it happens than did our ancestors, even now the growth of children in the womb is quite a marvel to observe.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.


H.T. Melinda at Stand to Reason for bringing this to my attention (link).

Proverbs 1:5-6

September 28, 2008

Proverbs 1:5-6
5A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

The Scriptures, and especially the proverbs, are not only for the foolish man to become wise, but also for the wise man to become wiser. In this regard, we may compare the Scriptures to the widow’s cruse (I Kings 17) that was replenished daily, so that it never was depleted. So to, repairing frequently to the Holy Scriptures will not cause us to deplete the resources of wisdom, but instead will give us greater wisdom.

Notice that by hearing the wise man becomes wise, increasing his learning. Furthermore, notice that the understanding of the proverb is encompassed within this attainable knowledge together with the interpretation – the words of the wise and those things that harder to understand, the “dark sayings.”

Original (Hebrew)
Proverbs 1:5-6
5ישׁמע חכם ויוסף לקח ונבון תחבלות יקנה׃ 6להבין משׁל ומליצה דברי חכמים וחידתם׃

LXX (Greek)
Proverbs 1:5-6
5τῶνδε γὰρ ἀκούσας σοφὸς σοφώτερος ἔσται, ὁ δὲ νοήμων κυβέρνησιν κτήσεται 6νοήσει τε παραβολὴν καὶ σκοτεινὸν λόγον ῥήσεις τε σοφῶν καὶ αἰνίγματα.

Vulgate (Latin)
Proverbs 1:5-6
5audiens sapiens sapientior erit et intellegens gubernacula possidebit 6animadvertet parabolam et interpretationem verba sapientium et enigmata eorum


George Bryson Open to Debating Again?

September 27, 2008

Someone posting under the name “George Bryson,” today wrote: “What James White did not say is that I offered to debate him on the very interesting question: “Does Calvin or Calvinism teach that God is the cause (by virtue of His decree) the cause of sin?[”] … Why won’t James White debate George Bryson on such an important and relevant question. While I believe that the “cross-examination” issue is for theatrics I will happily allow James White the opportunity to cross-examine me if He will allow me to cross-examine him on this issue.” (full comment)

I don’t know whether it is really George Bryson … the inconsistent use of the third and first person is a bit odd. I’m not sure why Bryson would want to limit the topic in the way that he has proposed, perhaps a better resolution would be:

“Does the Bible teach that God is (by virtue of His decree) the cause of sin?”

Debating what Calvinism teaches or doesn’t teach is something that is better done intramurally among Calvinists. Debating what the Bible teaches is something that would actually edify Evangelicals of the Calvinist, Amyraldian, Lutheran, and Arminian persuasions.

But, in case, George Bryson happens to read this, I have a question back for him about his proposed resolution: “What do you mean by cause?” God is not the instrumental cause of sin, and therefore is not properly caused the “author” or to modernize the expression the “actor” of sin. The instrumental cause of sin, the author/actor of sin, is the sinner himself (whether that be a man or a fallen angel).

It is the instrumental cause of sin that bears moral responsibility for the sin. So, assuming that George Bryson is interested in the kind of “cause” that is relevant to the issue of moral responsibility, then the correct (both Biblical and Calvinist) answer to the question is “no.”

If George means “cause” in some other (or in no particular) sense, the question that springs to mind is, “Why is he even asking the question?” In other words, why would it matter if God, via his decree, were an ultimate cause or a “but-for” cause of sin?

Here is a video clip from the last time (to my knowledge) that Dr. White and George Bryson debated:


The Real Turretin on: Creation of Souls

September 27, 2008

Chelms Varthoumlien at Oikodomē has provided a sizable quotation from the real Francis Turretin on the issue of Creationism vs. Traducionism (link). This is not the “Creationism” debate we normally hear about today (vs. Evolutionism) but instead about the issue of whether souls are created or propagated. Turretin quite properly and aptly defends the Creationist position.


Proverbs 1:2-4

September 27, 2008

Proverbs 1:2-4
2To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

This brief passage sets forth the purpose and point of the book of Proverbs. It is also more generally a principle purpose of the Bible as a whole. In fact, it is the point of didactic books generally: its purpose is to inform – to teach.

People who try to hide the Bible from the unlearned are themselves fools, for the Bible is the light the illumines the dark mind. The simple man becomes wise through reading the Bible, for it gives him wisdom: it conveys knowledge to him.

It is especially essentially for young men. Since most of my readers are young men, I expect, I hope you will all take this verse as a particular exhortation to you to seek out and study the Holy Scriptures.

For those classically inclined here is the original and two ancient translations:

Original (Hebrew)

2לדעת חכמה ומוסר להבין אמרי בינה 3׃לקחת מוסר השׂכל צדק ומשׁפט ומישׁרים׃ 4לתת לפתאים ערמה לנער דעת ומזמה׃

LXX (Greek)

2γνῶναι σοφίαν καὶ παιδείαν νοῆσαί τε λόγους φρονήσεως 3δέξασθαί τε στροφὰς λόγων νοῆσαί τε δικαιοσύνην ἀληθῆ καὶ κρίμα κατευθύνειν, 4ἵνα δῷ ἀκάκοις πανουργίαν, παιδὶ δὲ νέῳ αἴσθησίν τε καὶ ἔννοιαν·

Vulgate (Latin)

2ad sciendam sapientiam et disciplinam 3ad intellegenda verba prudentiae et suscipiendam eruditionem doctrinae iustitiam et iudicium et aequitatem 4ut detur parvulis astutia adulescenti scientia et intellectus


Mohamed Did Not Believe that the Old Testament was Corrupt

September 26, 2008

Today, many Islamic apologists like to claim that the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is corrupt. They feel the need to claim this, because they are aware of the fact that the Bible is inconsistent with Islam.

There is a problem for their position: it is not the position of their prophet, assuming that Surah 62:5 is itself not corrupt.

Surah 62:5 The similitude of those who were charged with the (obligations of the) Mosaic Law, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the Signs of Allah: and Allah guides not people who do wrong.

Notice that the Surah compares the Jews to Donkeys carrying “huge tomes” that they do not understand. Notice that the Surah alleges that the Jews “falsify the Signs of Allah,” but the most natural reading of the Surah (at least in this translation) is that they falsify not through destroying the text, but through misunderstanding or misinterpreting the text.

Notice that is says “huge tomes” not “no tomes” or “tattered tomes.”

And, in another translation, we see the same concept:

62.5 The likeness of those who were charged with the Taurat, then they did not observe it, is as the likeness of the ass bearing books, evil is the likeness of the people who reject the communications of Allah; and Allah does not guide the unjust people.

Notice how the text parallels “books” and “communications of Allah.” Notice also that in this translation they are described as rejecting them – presumably because like donkeys they don’t understand what is in them – perhaps simply because “Allah does not guide” them.

And it is not the only place in the Koran that such an idea can be found. Recall that it is recorded:

[2.285] The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.

And in another translation:

Surah 2:285 The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His apostles. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His apostles.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”

Notice that it is says “books,” not “book.” What’s even more interesting is that we are told that the Surahs were themselves orally proclaimed at first – which would suggest that the “books” do not even include the Koran. There is no need, however, to go that far. The fact that the plural form is used is enough to establish the fact that Mohamed did not hold to the idea that the books were corrupted, for if they were corrupted why would he teach that he believes in them?

And we need not rest on only those two places, for there is at least one more:

[20.133] And they say: Why does he not bring to us a sign from his Lord? Has not there come to them a clear evidence of what is in the previous books?

And again, in another translation:

Surah 20:133 They say: “Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?” Has not a Clear Sign come to them of all that was in the former Books of revelation?

Note how Mohamed here actually states that there is “clear evidence” or a “clear sign” as to what the content of the “former books” or “previous books.” These are not books hopelessly lost in obscurity in the mind of the author of this Surah.

The problem here is that Mohamed simply was not well informed. He did not know the content of the books himself, for we have no reason to believe he was ever provided with an Arabic Bible, and he could not read the Greek or Hebrew original languages.

If you are a Muslim, doesn’t this sort of thing cause you a bit of concern? Aren’t you bothered by the fact that your prophet accepted the books and “believed in them,” while you must not? For the books declare that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God – God incarnate – the sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God and bring forgiveness to all the people of God.


The Result of Ignoring Biblical Wisdom

September 25, 2008

Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Many people today believe that there is a financial crisis, in which banks are failing because they have loaned money to people who do not repay their loans. In turn, with the banks failing, other people who were invested in the banks risk losing their money. A governmental insurer, however, is provided to make sure that those people with money in the banks don’t lose their money.

Proverbs 22:26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

It seems that there is a serious problem here, because the Wisdom of Scripture has been ignored. Men have rushed to purchase houses that they cannot afford, failing to count the cost. Bankers have rushed to provide credit to such men, themselves failing to count the cost. The government has (in essence) made itself a surety for debts, specifically the debts of the banks to their deposit customers (the people from whom the banks get money in order to make loans).

Proverbs 26:10 The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

God brings judgment on those who foolishly ignore Scriptural wisdom, whether that wisdom relates to things temporal or things eternal. It is worth noting, of course, that the financial crisis (however painful it may seem) is far less worrisome than the spiritual crisis – with eternal destruction looming for the many who have turned aside from Scripture to follow false prophets, false teachers, or simply their own imagination.

Jeremiah 17:11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

There is now talk of a “bail-out” plan to divert money from those who earned it through hard work to those who squandered what they had. No doubt, if the plan is passed, billions will be given to those who know how to operate the political levers, but will such wealth be of lasting significance? Certainly not.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

God as judge is no socialist: he gives to all what they deserve. Men may try to avoid the temporal punishments and chastisements that come upon them in this life, but they will not escape the wrath to come. There will be no leveraged buy out of bad debt before the judgment throne of the Most High God.

And how great is that debt!

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

But for all this debt – debt that no man can manipulate – there is, in fact, one way of escape. That way is by repentance from sin and faith in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Men may find ways to delay God’s temporal judgment for spending money they didn’t have, for loaning money to people they should not have, and for being the surety for debts of the unwise. Men may even repent of this foolishness and find ways to avoid making these same mistakes in the future. But eternal judgment is coming, and our God is a consuming fire. Let us then “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


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