Theology

The Power of Sacred Canon: Examining its Boundaries

By: Alexander Ciurana

Co-Cath_-_Central_detail_of_the_ceiling

(originally delivered at the Mokarow Bible Conference, The Woodlands, Texas)

Since the dawn of the scribal arts, humankind has expressed an innate desire to record encounters with the divine. Writings manifesting themselves in sacred lore, fanciful tales, mythical-nationalistic histories, wisdom proverbs, apocalyptic imagery, poetry and various other genres have found a special place in the hearts of millions. In time, most religious traditions compiled certain texts, preferring some to others, and ascribed authority to these texts for official and/or devotional use. Today, most major religions have writings considered more or less authoritative. Some religions, however, maintain or have maintained a perpetual stream of holy writ, whereby writings of more recent times are considered worthy of special status. This dynamic is typically known as open canon. In contrast, other world religions have adopted the concept of closed canon, whereby writings of modern times are never viewed as “scripture” because it is believed the divine action of inspired literature has come to completion. Simply put, an open canon provides borders that expand; a closed canon has fixed borders.

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Dangerous Doctrines: The Serpent Seed

By: Monique Zorzella

Cain exiled. Phillip Medhurst

You may be aware of an unpopular and peculiar Biblical doctrine called the dual seed, serpent’s seed, or Satan’s seed doctrine. Simply put for those who are not acquainted with this concept, it is the teaching that Eve had a sexual encounter with Nachash (the serpent) in Gan Eden. There are variations of beliefs within this teaching, but there are a few fundamental concepts that many proponents of this doctrine would agree on:

  • Eating the fruit is what one can call a euphemism for fornication. Advocates of this doctrine believe that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil written about in the second and third chapter of Genesis symbolizes knowledge or realization of sexuality. Eve eating the fruit of the forbidden tree was the writers way of describing fornication with the serpent, who is commonly assumed to represent Satan (Revelation 12:9, 20:2).
  • Cain was conceived as a result of the intimate encounter between Eve and Nachash. This was how Satan established a physical bloodline on Earth. Some believe that the bloodline of Satan was eliminated completely in the flood, while others say that Satan’s bloodline still lives on today.

This article seeks to determine the validity of this doctrine by reviewing the evidence given in support of its underlying beliefs.

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Relevant Faith: A Transpersonal Orientation to Christian Doctrine

By: Alexander Ciurana

A few months ago I was engaged in a conversation about Christian doctrine and whether or not certain teachings were true; that is to say real. It soon became evident that religious ethos is always accompanied by pathos. In other words, Christian doctrine evokes, and is inseparable from feeling among the devout. Therefore, a clean and tidy break between religious teaching and religious feeling is unrealistic. And, if this is granted, then religion and psychology meet without any firm boundaries. (more…)

Does Divine Foreknowledge Contradict Free Will?

By: Monique Zorzella

*Revised July 2015 & July 2016*

michelangelo-buonarroti-european-old-master-painter-sculpter-painting-the-hands-of-god-and-adam

Many skeptics wonder how a God could know all the things that have not yet happened if humans allegedly have free will. They argue that God being omniscient invalidates the concept that we have the ability to make free choices. A common formulation of argument is as follows:

If God is perfectly omniscient and knows beforehand what choices we are going to make, there is no possibility that there could be a different outcome. If there is only one possible outcome, then all choices have been predetermined. If our acts have been predetermined, then there is no such thing as free will. 

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