Sunday, October 3, 2010

Debunking Christianity: Harry McCall on God, Yahweh and Elohim

John Loftus has posts an interesting exchange between Harry H. McCall and Brad Haggard. I agreed with Brad's point and was amazed by how much wrong McCall got wrong. Some of his comments almost deserve a Facepalm but I'll restrain myself. One of the more interesting comments is as follows:
So, in Genesis 1:1, did an assembly of male gods create the heavens and the earth or did one god create? (If you want to play the Trinity card, then I’ll let your explain the other names of אל + prefixes in the MT text.)
Can you show me why the divine name יהוה does not occur in the entire New Testament? Could it just be that “son of god” fit the Hellenic context of the Greek would while יהוה would have been an abhorrent pagan name for them, especially after the Jews were expelled from Rome in 46 CE?
Secondly, my view is in line with that of Edward Gibbons The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Weather or nor Gibbons was anti-Christian, his views of the end of the Roman Empire agrees with mine.
Another insider's look at how Christianity really worked in the late Empire is discussed in G.W. Bowersock’s award winning book: Julian the Apostate.
Julian, the grandson of Constantine, gives a horrific story about members of his own Christian family were murders and why he remained a non-Christian ("pagan", a derogatory term
What I want to focus on is the point about how the Tetragrammaton (יהוה or YHWH) does not occur in the entire New Testament. McCall is wrong. It does. Recall that the New Testament was written in Greek not Hebrew. Therefore what you want to know is what does the name look like when it is translated into Greek. A great Old Testament text to use to study this point is Exodus 3:14.   יהוה is the name by which Moses was to identify God with to the Israelites. It is often pronounced "Yahweh" although we don't know how its really supposed to be announced (but that is another story I don't have time for now). Let's look at Exodus 3:14 in English, Hebrews, and Greek (as it appears in the Septuagint). Please note that Hebrew is read right to left not left to right.

God said to Moses, "I am who I am .  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' " 

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־ מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֲלֵיכֶֽם׃

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν καὶ εἶπεν οὕτως ἐρεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς  
The Tetragrammaton comes over to English as "I AM". In Greek it is ἐγώ εἰμι. So now ask yourself..."Does this name appear anywhere in the New Testament? Further who is this name applied to in the New Testament?" Of course ἐγώ εἰμι appears in the New Testament and Jesus applies the divine name to himself that is why the Jews wanted to stone Him. The best indisputable place to see this in John 8:58

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 

εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί.  
 Let me be clear: Jesus applied the same Name - "Yahweh" ("ἐγὼ εἰμί") to himself that God used when God spoke to Moses on Mt Sinai!

Debunking Christianity: Harry McCall on God, Yahweh and Elohim
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