In reading about the life of Christ and the various Gospels, the range of beliefs in early Christianity is quite remarkable.
It’s hardly news that there were a lot of early sects with their own interpretation of the Gospels (in the same way that there are a lot of modern sects with their own interpretations of the Gospels). And it is certainly an interesting theological exercise to speculate upon whether Judas understood his role in the ultimate apotheosis of Jesus, or whether he was a stooge unwittingly manipulated by God/Jesus, or whether he had free will and willingly betrayed Jesus who knew he was going to do it. Personally I try not to think too harshly of poor Judas - he had his role in the drama to play whether he knew it or not.
However, whether this and other excluded texts and apocrypha have any validity (and were suppressed by the Church for “political” reasons), it’s pretty much impossible to tell objectively. Either you trust that God knows what he’s doing regarding the transmission of the Gospels or you don’t and all bets are off. That’s part of what the whole “faith” thing is all about.
Well! Now I don’t know what to believe
My work here is done.
Or almost done: here’s some more grist for the Biblical inaccuracy mill.
The RSV I used as a study text thirty-odd years ago bracketed these verses and appended a footnote to the effect that some ancient manuscripts omitted them, so we’re hardly breaking new ground here.
Given Lucifer’s subtlety and personal attention to conversion as opposed to His counterpart’s global bids for total submission backed by threats of eternal torment, as well as the countless bloodbaths and general misery in the name of the latter, I’ve long been of the mind that This Yahweh/God Person is actually the Evil one.
Still, He may possibly be the crator of Everything. But that doesn’t mean we should shun Him like we would a violently abusive parent and run to the comfort of the Dissenter from misery.
I guess this is as good a place as any to bring this up.
By tempting and tormenting mankind, driving us to God and testing / strengthening (tempering) our faith, is Satan not doing the work of the Lord? Just because he’s the Prince of Darkness doesn’t mean he’s not on the payroll.
And speaking of pay-days, why would His Devilish Nobs submit to prophesy fully knowing the torment that awaits him? Why wouldn’t the Devil take one look at the coming of Armaggedon and say “Screw this, I’ll be at the titty bar if you need me.”? By submitting to prophesy is he not also doing the work of the Lord?
Which brings me to my point. Isn’t Good and Evil more of a human thing than a universal or cosmic thing? Isn’t it basically a point of view issue? YHWH is Good, Lucifer is Evil, Jehovah is Evil, Bezelbub is Good. It’s all a point of view really; God does good stuff for you and He is good, He does some wicked shit to you and He is bad. The Red Guy just kind of hangs around and does what he’s told.
Your first sentence there pretty much sums up The Book of Job.
And one could* well argue that all things serve the Lord and His plan for Creation, even Satan. He not only made the rules, He made the game and all the playing pieces in it, and He’s the only one able to read the inside of the boxlid.
*if one was so inclined
Things really need to be put into better context.
For example, last night I was reading The Middle Ages by Morris Bishop. Some of the things that so-called enlightened rulers did as a matter of course (without thinking the slightest thing wrong with it) would today get them sent to The Hague as war criminals.
The world was a much rougher place back then, and we should cut the guy some slack.
But yeah, some of the things “God” allegedly does or decrees make no damned sense at all for an allegedly benificent diety.
Gnosticism is fascinating reading and sheds a lot of light on the development of early Christianity. I can recommend some books if anyone’s interested.
Sophia was quite the whore