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Just Published by Kairos Research Centre! Christian Doctrine & Dialogue Under the Shadow of Islam

 

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AND DIALOGUE UNDER THE SHADOW OF ISLAM
by Dr. Ng Kam Weng

250 pages, 8.5” x 5.5” x 0.85”
ISBN: 9789834181727

Price of book for orders within Malaysia: RM30 per copy plus shipping charges
Continue reading “Just Published by Kairos Research Centre! Christian Doctrine & Dialogue Under the Shadow of Islam”

Book of Genesis vs Babylonian Creation (Enuma Elish) and Babylonian Flood (Epic of Gilgamesh)

Genesis vs Ancient Near East Polytheistic Myths: Plagiarism or Polemics? Part 2

A. Genesis and Babylonian Creation & Flood Accounts: Similar but Independent Accounts

The chart below lists several parallels between the Creation and Flood accounts of Genesis and the Mesopotamia Enuma Elish. [Source: Currid, p. 37-38]

Enuma Elish (Mesopotamia) Genesis
Divine spirit and cosmic matter are coexistent and coeternal Divine spirit creates cosmic matter and exists independently of it
Primeval chaos; Tiamat enveloped in darkness The earth a desolate waste, with darkness covering the deep (tehom)
Light emanating from the gods Light created
The creation of the firmament The creation of the firmament
The creation of dry land The creation of dry land
The creation of the luminaries The creation of the luminaries
The creation of man The creation of man
The gods rest and celebrate God rests and sanctifies the seventh day

How does one account for these similarities? Continue reading “Book of Genesis vs Babylonian Creation (Enuma Elish) and Babylonian Flood (Epic of Gilgamesh)”

Logos Christology vs Modalistic Monarchianism; Tertullian Trinity, Origen Eternal Generation of Son

Kairos Podcast 6: Biblical-Nicene Trinitarianism vs Early Heresies. Part 3/6

Video Link – Logos Christology vs Modalistic Monarchianism; Tertullian Trinity, Origen Eternal Generation of Son

Problem facing the early church in the 2nd century: How to maintain the unity of God while insisting on the deity of the one who was distinct from God the Father.
Answer by Logos theologians: Christ as the pre-existing Logos, was the Father’s thought and mind, and that as manifested in creation and revelation, He was its extrapolation or expression.”

Logos Christology was rejected by Modalistic Monarchianism (Sabellianism) which claimed that God is a monad (a monarchy above everything) which expresses itself in three operations. “Father, Son and Spirit are only different designations of the same revelation. The one God is known as a Trinity because of his three modes of action.

Modalistic Monarchianism was decisively refuted by Tertullian who utilised the systematic theory of the economy of salvation, with emphasis on the gradation and forms of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Tertullian was the first theologian to use the word “trinitas” and the formula, “one substance in three persons.”

Origen formulated the idea of the “eternal generation of the Son.”

Video Link – Logos Christology vs Modalistic Monarchianism; Tertullian Trinity, Origen Eternal Generation of Son

Penal-Substitution as Heart of Christ’s Atonement and its Accomplishments

Why do Christians call the day of the crucifixion of Jesus “Good Friday”? How can an execution that results from a miscarriage of justice be good? The Christian proclamation throughout history is that it is Good Friday because on the cross of calvary, Christ took the sinner’s place (Greek: ἀντί anti, ὑπέρ huper) /1/ in bearing the guilt of man’s sin and suffering the divine punishment as our substitute in order to satisfy divine justice and bring reconciliation between God and man. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” (Isa. 53: 6, 10). Penal-substitution is the heart of the atonement, Christ’s work of salvation.

In recent times, some theologians have highlighted alternative theories to the penal substitutionary death of Christ. I shall only focus on two of the more influential alternative theories today – the moral influence theory and the Christus Victor theory. The problem with these theories of atonement is not that they are entirely wrong. They rightly explain some aspects of Christ’s death. However, they are in reality attempts to avoid the stumbling block of penal-substitution which causes offence to modern sensibilities. These theories are deficient since they emphasize on secondary features or by-products of the atoning death of Christ in order to evade penal-substitution which is the heart of atonement. Continue reading “Penal-Substitution as Heart of Christ’s Atonement and its Accomplishments”

Genesis vs Ancient Near East Polytheistic Myths: Plagiarism or Polemics? Part 1

Many critical scholars in Western universities suggest that the biblical Creation and Flood stories borrowed ideas from Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET). For example, the Creation story in Genesis must be influenced by the Babylonian creation story of Enuma Elish since the story in Genesis is briefer and the preserved records of Genesis belong to a later date. However, Kenneth Kitchen rejects this notion. He writes, “The common assumption that the Hebrew account is simply a purged and simplified version of the Babylonian legend (applied also to the Flood stories) is fallacious on methodological grounds. In the Ancient Near East, the rule is that simple accounts or traditions may give rise (by accretion and embellishment) to elaborate legends, but not vice versa. In the Ancient Orient, legends were not simplified or turned into pseudo-history (historicized) as has been assumed for early Genesis.”/1/

On the other hand, the relationship between Genesis and the Babylonian Flood story of the Epic of Gilgamesh could be more nuanced. There are some similarities, but also differences (the form of the Ark, duration of the Flood and the birds sent out by Noah). Perhaps, the similarities and differences arose because the memories and traditions of the event of the Flood were transmitted differently by Israel and its neighboring societies.

More importantly, Genesis displays vocabulary similar to ANET not because it borrowed ideas from ANET but because it is mounting a polemical theology against the pagan polytheism of Israel’s neighbors. Continue reading “Genesis vs Ancient Near East Polytheistic Myths: Plagiarism or Polemics? Part 1”

Early Heresies – Ebionism, Gnosticism and Adoptionism (Dynamic Monarchianism)

Kairos Podcast 6: Early Heresies Part 2/6

Video Link – Ebionism, Gnosticism and Adoptionism (Dynamic Monarchianism)

One paramount issue facing the early church was how to harmonize belief in the deity of the Son of God with monotheism. The early church had to clarify the relationship between Jesus and the one God of the Old Testament.

Prominent heretical sects which offered one-sided solutions include 1) Gnosticism and Docetism which deny the humanity of Christ and 2) Ebionism and Adoptionism (Dynamic Monarchism) which denied the deity of Christ.

The early church countered these heresies with the Rule of Faith which affirmed that belief in 1) the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and 2) the life, death, resurrection and deity of Jesus Christ to be non-negotiable. The affirmation was called the Rule of Faith. Because the Rule of Faith was so universal and consistent, the early “Church Fathers” could use it against heresies. The Rule of Faith eventually took the form of the Apostles’ Creed.

Video Link – Ebionism, Gnosticism and Adoptionism (Dynamic Monarchianism)

** Related Posts:
Trinitarian Pattern in Greetings, Prayers & Worship in the New Testament

Doctrine of Trinity: A Primer

Trinitarian Pattern in Greetings, Prayers & Worship in the New Testament

Kairos Podcast 6: Biblical-Nicene Trinitarianism vs Early Heresies. Part 1/6
Video Link – Trinitarian Pattern in Greetings, Prayers & Worship in the New Testament

Critics of Christianity claim that the doctrine of Trinity was created by the church in the 4th century during the Council of Nicaea convened by Emperor Constantine to serve his political agenda.

While the word “Trinity” is not found in the New Testament, nevertheless, the Trinitarian pattern found throughout the New Testament, that is, the invocation of God in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit, and their divine functions and mutual relationships in the prayers and worship throughout the New Testament confirms that the Triune God was foundational in the life and practice right at the beginning of the New Testament church.

The problem of the Trinity was being raised and answered in the New Testament. It arose because of the development of Christian experience, worship, and thought. It was rooted in experience, for men were conscious of the power of the Spirit and the presence and Lordship of the risen Christ. It was rooted in worship, because men worshipped in the Spirit, offered their prayers to God the Father through Christ, and sometimes worshipped Christ himself. It was rooted in thought, because the writers tackled first the Christological problem, and then, at any rate in the Fourth Gospel, the threefold problem. The whole matter was based on the life and resurrection of Jesus himself, who received the Spirit during his earthly life and imparted the Spirit to others after his resurrection (Oscar Cullmann).

In short, the New Testament account of the work of God through Christ in the Spirit, which was based on the believers’ concrete experience of salvation rather than speculative, abstract metaphysics, provides the basis for Christian thought about the Triune God.

Video Link – Trinitarian Pattern in Greetings, Prayers & Worship in the New Testament

Related Post:
Doctrine of the Trinity: A Primer

Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) Does Not Mean Solo Scriptura (Scripture Only – Biblicism)

What is Biblicism?
To be Protestant is to believe in biblical authority. However, biblical authority and biblicism are not synonymous. Biblicism moves beyond believing in the final authority of the Bible to imposing a restrictive hermeneutical method onto the Bible. Biblicism can be identified by the following symptoms:

(1) Ahistorical mindset: Biblicism is a haughty disregard (chronological snobbery in the words of C. S. Lewis) for the history of interpretation and the authority of creeds and confessions, chanting an individualistic mantra, “No creed but the Bible,” which in practice translates into “No authority but me.” Sola scriptura is radicalized into solo scriptura. As a result, biblicism fails to let theology inform exegesis, which is designed to guard against heresy.

(2) Irresponsible proof texting: Biblicism treats Scripture as if it is a dictionary or encyclopedia, as if the theologian merely excavates the right proof texts, chapter and verse, tallying them up to support a doctrine. Biblicism limits itself to those beliefs explicitly laid down in Scripture and fails to deduce doctrines from Scripture by good and necessary consequence. Continue reading “Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) Does Not Mean Solo Scriptura (Scripture Only – Biblicism)”

Bonus Lecture: Thomas Aquinas, Soul’s Powers (Faculties), Cognition & Proof of God’s Existence

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
(1225-1274). Painting attributed to Botticelli, 1481-82.

Video Link – Thomas Aquinas, Soul’s Powers (Faculties), Cognition & Proof of God’s Existence

Contents of Video

Aquinas’ hylomorphism
– Soul and body are distinguishable realities, ‘incomplete substances’; but together they form one substance, the human being.
– The Soul as a Subsisting Form Configuring Matter.
– Soul survives death (contra Aristotle).
– Powers (faculties) of the human soul.

Aquinas on Cognition-Knowledge
– Common sense, phantasia, agent intellect, possible intellect.
– Sensible species, phantasms
– Active intellect & intelligible species, inner word or concept, possible intellect
– Four different stages – the reception of sensible species; their processing into phantasms; the abstraction of intelligible species; and their processing into intellected intentions.

Arguments for Existence of God
– The First Way: God, the Prime Mover
– The Second Way: God, the First Cause
– The Third Way: God, the Necessary Being
– The Fourth Way: God, the Absolute Being
– The Fifth Way: God, the Grand Designer

You can watch the video at
Thomas Aquinas, Soul’s Powers (Faculties), Cognition & Proofs God’s Existence

Forthcoming Uploads – New series of videos on Biblical-Nicene Trinitarianism vs Early Heresies.

Federal Court Rules Kelantan Shariah Criminal Enactment as Unconstitutional


CJ says challenged provisions under Kelantan Shariah criminal enactment mandated by state not Allah, cannot be construed as act against God

Malaymail Online By Kenneth Tee
Friday, 09 Feb 2024 1:38 PM MYT

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 9 — The country’s top judge said today a constitutional challenge brought by two Muslim women to nullify 18 provisions under the Kelantan Shariah criminal enactment cannot be construed as blasphemy since the laws had been mandated by the state legislative assembly and not Allah.

Earlier, the Federal Court in a majority verdict of 8-1 struck down 16 out of 18 provisions under the Kelantan Shariah criminal enactment as unconstitutional, ruling that the Kelantan State Legislature does not have the power to enact laws on said offences because there are federal laws covering the same. Continue reading “Federal Court Rules Kelantan Shariah Criminal Enactment as Unconstitutional”

Bonus Lecture: Aristotle Matter-Form & Aquinas Essence-Existence

VIDEO LINK – Aristotle Matter-Form & Aquinas Essence-Existence

Contents of Lecture
Part 1. Basic Concepts in Aristotle’s Philosophy
Basic agreements and disagreements between Plato and Aristotle
Aristotelian realist metaphysics
Matter, Form and Substance
Categories
Hylomorphism – matter + form
Path to knowledge – experience, abstraction and insight into universals.
The Four Causes – 1) matter, 2) form, 3) agency/efficiency, 4) purpose /teleology
Potentiality-Actuality in a hierarchical dynamic universe
Prime Mover – Pure Actuality

Part 2. Thomas Aquinas (Introductory Comments)
Essence & Existence of God.
Contrast between Aquinas & Avicenna
Exod. 3:14 – Act prior to existence
Aquinas as a moderate realist (vs Plato extreme realist). Universals exist in the intellect, but they have an immediate basis in reality.

You can watch the video at
VIDEO LINK – Aristotle Matter-Form & Aquinas Essence-Existence