Masters of the Universe

Key Precept: Conspiracy theories are no match for the fascinating truth found in ancient histories of the spirit world.

“History is a bath of blood.” This fact challenges the myth of “the noble savage” envisioned by movements such as the Enlightenment, Communism, the New Age and Evolution. Their vision of native peoples satisfied with the bare essentials, minding their own business is pure romanticism. Any psychologist or sociologist will tell you it is not within human nature to find peace by families “living off the land by hunting and gathering what it had to offer…if there was not enough food in a group’s direct vicinity, it meant they had to move around and lead more nomadic lifestyles in order to sustain themselves.”  Even apes have inherently violent natures.

As the famous explorer Captain Cook discovered to his mortal chagrin, evidence gathered by social science supports the most ancient historical documents that humanity has from the outset been murderers and thieves, with the strong oppressing the weak.

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…it is obvious that the techniques of organized warfare had been developed and were ready for extensive application at the beginning of historic times as man crossed the boundary of the prehistoric [which is to say undocumented] world into civilization. The societies of the Tigris-Euphrates and Nile valleys were forged from the outset in war, and the skill of war was one of the most important distinguishing characteristics of the early civilizations.

Fighting never ends. Truces and surrenders only provide brief respites to gather armies and stockpile weapons. When the balance of power tips to one side, it all starts again.

Every single great power has risen only to fall. Do we Americans really believe our govenment is strong enough to override this inexorable course of history?

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Deluded megalomaniac leaders believe they can, with occult knowledge and technology gained by allying with hyperdimensional beings. 

Massive resources have been expended since the most ancient times on ziggurats and astronomical calculators up to  modern day space probes and interstellar and nuclear research programs for this purpose.

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The ironic truth is that humans are actually more powerful than the hyperdimensional beings they seek to empower themselves through! Think about it for two seconds. What other reason do these powerful beings have to ally themselves with humans other than to gain access to our power in order to claim our dominion for themselves?

Scoffing already? Discarding this line of thinking as being in line with a host of paranoid conspiracy theories? Consider the possibility that your lack of interest in pursuing an inquiry is your defense mechanism against the intense anxiety this subject provokes.

Or is the following prayer your actual definition of faith?

Protect me from knowing what I don’t need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don’t know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen.

How about overcoming fear with true faith?

All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.

Or as Douglas Adams sums it up: “Don’t panic.”

I am proposing that you resolve your anxiety about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything by finding a solid basis to faith by finding truth. How? By seriously studying this subject.

One book that has never – ever – been proven to be wrong about anything it has reported in the course of human history for over 6,000 years. Oh, it has constantly been claimed to wrong, but never proven. And the battle for mastery of the universe is its theme.

According to Guinness World Records, “Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book.  A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5aagqmz3 billion.”  And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that the first section of  this book, commonly called the Torah, has been in continuous circulation for about 3,500 years.  So there is something special about this book. This blog explores how the Bible explains our world, which has deteriorated to such a degree than even adults escape into fantasy Masters of the Universe.

The Bible also contains everything that makes for a captivating story – relevance to the reader, engaging characters, meaningful themes, suspenseful core plot with character-driven subplots that unfold and deepen over time, surprise twists and turns that keep the reader enthralled, fascinating detail, stirring of emotions, and conflict that builds in intensity before it is finally resolved and brings the story to its conclusion, leaving the reader empowered through greater understanding of humanity, self-examination, and identity transformation. It is the real-life Game of Thrones, complete with dragons.

red-dragon-apo12-3“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon…and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throneAnd there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…and his angels…And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrathAnd the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 12:3-7)

Are you kidding? you exclaim. Going to church was the most boring activity of my childhood! That’s because you were dragged through a routine. Bible study is generally used as a guide to religion – how to conduct yourself, become a better person, or better equipped to serve God. If that’s what you’ve been doing, then you’ve missed the point. The Bible claims to be a guide to life – how to become alive, and survive all forces of destruction, even death.

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In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near theeBehold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake… No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” (Isa 54:14-17)

Although Bible study should result in self-improvement, that shouldn’t be our objective. The primary reason the Bible itself say we should study the Bible is to engage in a relationship with the only hyperdimensional being who can rescue us from danger and death.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:3)

“…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep [safeguard] that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (II Tim 1:12)

its-not-what-you-know-or-who-you-knowOur quality and success in life is certainly tied to the relationships we have. In any relationship the way we come to know the other person is to learn what they have to say about themselves. Flawed relationships are the result of interacting with someone on the basis of what you hope they are like, while ignorant of their true character, preferences, motivations, and boundaries.  If there is God, and we are ever going to develop a healthy and functional relationship with him, we must learn what he says about himself.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truthNeither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” (Joh 17:17-21)

Too often the Bible is treated like a database, with verses as data bytes, used to assert one doctrinal position against another.  Certainly there are important doctrinal statements like “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).  But why should you believe that?  How does that make sense?  It doesn’t, unless you know the background to Jesus’ statement.

This study analyzes the Bible as a student would analyze any piece of literature, from the perspective of an unfolding story that has to be read from the first sentence to the last to be completely understood. Our knowledge of the main character grows as the story progresses, and our understanding of the plot thickens as the action proceeds. Every author chooses every word carefully, and plans ahead with every statement supporting and leading to the ultimate conclusion. Mystery stories are the best. When the final revelation is made, the reader can go back to the beginning and recognize the clues that had been woven into the story all along. We simply can’t understand bits and pieces of any book without getting the whole story.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Rev 10:7)

An American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, starts with “You don’t know about me, without which you have read a book by the name of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer…” The same should be said about the Bible. We don’t know about the Son of God in the episodes written by John in his gospel and Revelation unless we’ve read the episodes written about him in the book of Genesis. In both books recounting the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Jesus Christ, their “...preeminence derives from… inspired characterization, the author’s remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book’s understated development of serious underlying themes: “natural” man versus “civilized” society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics.”

“But there are so many different denominations based on different interpretations of the Bible!” you protest. Which is the “right” interpretation? There is a true interpretation, because “God is not the author of confusion.” (I Cor 4:33) However, it is not for me to tell you what that is.

My goal in this blog is to support you in studying the Bible objectively, for yourself, not to put blinders on you to make sure you believe only what I believe. Why do you believe what you believe? Because it is what your parents taught you? Because it is what respected theologians or your familiar denominations teach? Have you ever really studied what the Bible itself teaches? Or for that matter, what your schoolteachers taught you, or what politicians say, or anything you encounter on the internet?

Being in a scientific profession, I have applied scientific research methods to this study.

NOTE: If this is where your eyes glaze over and you find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over, you can skip this part. It is, however, the foundation for you having any reason to take seriously anything following, so if you do skip this and move on immediately to the more interesting parts, when you find yourself rejecting anything 417700_362740043799136_1268472845_nyou don’t already believe, I encourage you to come back to this section and read this before discarding a new concept out of hand. What is the basis for you believing anything you believe? Comfort? Convenience? Blending in with the crowd? This blog is for people who believe, or at least suspect, that knowledge is power, and that knowing the truth can set you free, but freedom does cost us something.

Define the problem

A research study starts by defining a problem which needs to be solved. This study looks at the tragic state of mankind living in perpetual personal, social and political conflict even while individually destroying one’s own home and collectively pushing the whole world to the brink of extinction, knowing it all ends in death anyway. Scientists agree that this is the biggest problem facing humanity today.

The research problem is often put in the form of a question. This helps focus the search for a solution to the problem. This investigation asks the the most important question of all:

“Is the Bible an accurate and trustworthy account of the nature and history of humanity, including the explanation for and solution to man’s apparent self-destructive nature?”

Review available literature on the problem

Next, the research study reviews the available literature on the subject to examine their opinions. If science is, at it claims to be, the absolute and final authority on reality, i.e. what is right, AKA right-eous, it will not only hold up to comparison to other explanations such as the Bible, it will silence the opposition in any debate, and vice versus. Literature and media that realistically portray the human condition will also either support or refute biblical concepts, as well as one’s own personal experiences.

Focus the scope of the investigation

Next the researchers use what they have found in the initial literature review to focus the scope of the investigation to a manageable size. In this case, the problem narrows from all humanity to the individual. “Can I rely on the Bible as the written word of God to overcome the destructive forces in my life and at death?”

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Ex 31:18)

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy  [communicating and reinforcing revealed truth] of the scripture is of any private interpretationFor the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Pet 1:20-21)

Define terms

Next, the researchers clearly define terms and concepts used in the study.  Readers of the study may impose a preconception on certain key words, and thereby miss a significant finding.  At the simplest level, Strong’s Concordance is used to discover the other ways and contexts in which a word is translated elsewhere in scripture, allowing the Bible to be its own dictionary.

However, the only way to understand the true meaning of words and passages in the Bible is to determine how the original writers understood the meaning of words, expressions, and concepts. I once read instructions for an electrical appliance made in China that duly informed me that it must be “earthed”. Oh, you mean “grounded.” In the case of the Bible, that means Greek and Hebrew must not only be translated into English but the subtle differences in which any single word is translated into one of multiple possible English words must be determined. These often change over hundreds of years, which is why new versions of the Bible are published regularly to meet the consistently lowering educational levels of society. This is counterproductive to elevating our understanding of God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The depth and breadth of scholarship of the men who translated the King James Bible from the original ancient languages into English is impressive. It certainly beats my own limited education, and the objective of translations that intentionally reduce the scholarship of the Bible down to uneducated levels.

By the time King James I and Archbishop Richard Bancroft (ca. 1544–1610) were organizing in 1604 the Bible translation project that would become the KJV, the advances of biblical scholarship since Tyndale’s time had been so profound that the two men were able to design and staff a translation committee that would comprise six companies of about nine translators each, with scholars drawn from the two great British universities (Oxford and Cambridge) working from three locations (the two universities and Westminster Abbey in London). All were thoroughly at home with Biblical Hebrew and Greek and the wide range of the Greek and Latin classics; most also knew other ancient and modern languages, and many had learned from youth to read, write, think, and discuss in Latin. The renowned Cambridge linguist Lancelot Andrewes (1555–1626) is a prime example of the impressive depth of the KJV translators’ scholarship and preparedness at this point in history. Proficient in all biblical and cognate languages and several dozen modern languages, a spellbinder in the pulpit who often preached from the Greek New Testament, Andrewes exemplifies the “collective genius” of the KJV in terms of the scholarship these translators brought to the project.

Next, the researchers define the population to which the findings of the investigation will apply, such as pregnant women or men with cardiovascular disease.  In this case, it is everyone in the whole world.

“,,,this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mat 24:14)

Develop study protocols

Next, the researchers develop a plan of action – how to go about conducting the study. The way in which the study is conducted is the proof of the value of the findings.  In order to prove that the results of your study are worth acting on, researchers have to demonstrate that the results of their investigation are reliable and valid. 

  • Reliability = consistency.  Does our study show that the same source says the same thing in different places and at different times under different conditions? Internally, the Bible itself demands this.In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established…Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me…” (II Cor 13:1-3)

Any new revelation or prophecy or church policy or practice that is a private interpretation of scripture, without corroborating testimony by two or three other scriptures, will be discarded, regardless of the reputation of that teacher. This will eliminate the denominational distinctions. Likewise, any scientific teachings that are a private interpretation of scientific evidence will be discarded.

“What! Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I [Paul] write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” (I Cor 14:36-37)

A big difference between the biblical creation story and the other creation stories of the same era and place is the consistency of the biblical account. It has endured, unchanged, for thousands of years. The others?

Question: Could you talk about the Mesopotamian creation myth?

The key question here is, of course: which one?

“Mesopotamian mythology” is really an umbrella term for the ancient religions of the cradle of civilization (centered mostly in what is now Iraq). The largest of these are the Sumerian civilization, which was centered on the city of Sumer (4500-1900 BCE); then the Akkadian Empire, which focused on Akkad (2334-2154 BCE); then the Assyrian Empire with its center in Assur (2200-605 BCE); and finally the Babylonian Empire, based in famous Babylon (1895-619 BCE). As you can see, there’s lots of overlap in time – Sumer continued to be relevant for the entire existence of the Akkadian Empire and into the beginning of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires, and the Assyrian Empire arose while Akkad was still a power and also coexisted with Babylon for several centuries.

And also, as we can see, they’re all on top of each other geographically as well. So it’s no wonder they have religious features in common – or rather, they all very nearly share the same religion, each adding their own features, which is why we usually talk about them all together. There isn’t a ton of difference between Akkadian mythology and Babylonian mythology, so in the interests of not nitpicking very tiny things like who wears a fish symbol where, we just talk about it all in one big bowl of Mesopotamian Myths.

  •  Validity = accuracy.  Does our study show that other reliable studies say the same thing? In our case, that would be the results of scientific studies.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Ro 1:18-20)

Research bias will contaminate findings. To that end, I encourage you to clear your mind of preconceptions and objectively examine the evidence, including scientific claims. In this study only one version of the Bible, the King James, is used for its authority and worth as proven over five centuries, consistency in maintaining one single version during cross-referencing, and reduction in the risk of investigator bias deriving from preferentially drawing from sources whose English translation fit a preconception.

Apply hermeneutics

The Eight Rules of Literature Interpretation, AKA hermeneutics are followed. They are not unique to Bible study. They have been used by scholars since Socrates, and are equally applicable to legal, historical, and scientific documents.

  1. Definition – correctly define terms, as noted above. If science is defined as the use of a certain method to determine facts, then a process that fails to use that method cannot be called science.
  2. Usage – recognize when slang, idioms or cultural mannerisms change the usual meaning of a word, for example:  cool, hot, cookies, mouse.
  3. Context – as in, don’t take words out of. For example, “If any man will come after me, let him (Mat 16:24)” is not a scriptural justification for immorality.
  4. anachronism-lincoln-laptopHistorical and cultural background adds not only accuracy but depth and richness of understanding. We can’t expect to just read the Bible and interpret it from our 21st century paradigm. It is arrogant to impose our limited and culturally biased interpretation on any message given to us by others.
  5. Logic – using well-established principles of reasoning to draw a conclusion. For example, “In the Bones of a Buried Child, Signs of a Massive Migration to the Americas” there is no logical reasoning in the account that follows that headline. There is simply a massive leap of faith to an absolutely unfounded conclusion that would not be accepted as proof in a court of law.
  6. Precedence – as in the justice system, once the evidence for a case has been examined and a decision made, this judgment covers subsequent similar cases.
  7. Unity – any document must be analyzed and interpreted as a communication of a coherent, unified message. Any part of the communication must be consistent with the rest of the message. This prevents imbalance and excesses in misapplying pieces of the whole, like instructions “to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates” (Titus 3:1) since, when there is a conflict of interest,we ought to obey God rather than man.” This also prevents splintering into denominations by segregating out and highlighting certain phrases while ignoring other, moderating, passages. Most of all, this prevents “unhitching the New Testament from the Old Testament” which inevitably degenerates New Testament Christianity into a New Age self-centered entitlement program ignoring humanity’s utterly corrupt sin nature and desperate need for a merciful God as demonstrated over thousands of years of proven history in the Old Testament. Old Testament scriptures are the key to unlocking New Testament teaching as demonstrated by the numerous references and quotes and explicitly stated to be so in the case of the revelation of Jesus Christ.”And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
  8. Inference – deducing a non- observable fact through logical reasoning from observable facts. We can’t see God, but there is enough evidence of the existence of a Creator and Sustainer in the phenomenally complex yet orderly physical world to infer his existence. Contrarywise, we can’t see the process of, or any evidence of, evolution but science infers that it must have happened based on the belief (not scientifically established facts) that there is no creator God. You can infer from this what I personally believe.

Understand the mind of the speaker

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l0076931-margaret-mead-sitting-between-two-samoan-1024x502Only the originator of a communication can truly explain what was meant. This takes on special significance when communicating across widely separated times and cultures, and even dimensions. Try to explain colors to a person blind from birth, or music to a person who has always been deaf. Spiritual things can only be understood by those who are connected to the spirit dimension.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God…neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” {I Cor 2:12-14)

Remember what it was like to be in school, transforming into someone with the knowledge and skill to work on computer, or mechanical, or electronic, or medical, or whatever kind of systems. This is no different.  It takes time, commitment, and effort on your part, and taking in a Bible 101 lecture on morality once a week on Sunday morning isn’t going to be enough. You have to have hands-on practice.

“…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [as in a court case] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Ro 12:2)

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (Ja 1:21-22)

There is great value in preaching and teaching, and we should all take full advantage of opportunities to learn from others who know more than us, but no-one can claim perfect knowledge. And it is a hard truth that we have to be alert to leaders who use “knowledge is power” to build a cult following.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation  [behavior or way of life]Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.” (Heb 13:7-9)

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (I Tim 4:1)

We are protected when we build our own knowledge base directly on what the Bible says and can measure what someone is teaching against the standard. This is the only way to know when some charismatic teacher is creating his own following, or even when some well-meaning but uninformed preacher is failing to guide us into the truth that we need to succeed in overcoming the challenges of our lives.

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth….But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth.” (I Joh 2:20-27)

Study does take time and effort, but is more easily managed than ever with the tools available on the internet at our fingertips.  Like every complex subject, we shouldn’t expect to understand every statement as it stands alone, especially at the beginning of the book. How many mystery stories do you understand when a clue is first dropped into the story? How many clues did you not even realize were clues when you first encountered them?

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim 2:15)

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Ro 16:25-26)

Studying the Bible is a challenge, but the most rewarding project you’ll ever tackle. Eventually you’ll come to realize that every great story ever written is rooted in the Bible. As you recognize biblical elements in your favorite stories, you will also see the Bible come to life in your imagination. The tame tableaus that made up most of our Sunday School lessons will be replaced with vivid drama.

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The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sunIs there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecc 1:9-10)

I invite you to become absorbed in the most fascinating and most meaningful history ever written. No, not my blog. The Bible.

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