Monday, April 22, 2013

Man or Hyena?

God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Ancient Hebrew family history otherwise known as Genesis 22:1-3

Marcella Gibbon again, your roving reporter, off on a desperate quest to find the son of legendary Tereh!  Perhaps you remember—you faithful ones who have read me for so long—that I interviewed Tereh oh so many years ago (I dare not even mention the number, for a proper lady never reveals such things—of course, who would ever call ME proper!).  And Tereh has passed on, not long ago, to his moon god, where, I am sure, many delights awaited him!  At that time, Tereh presented us with a mystery—the disappearance of his long-lost son, Avram, who took with him his wife, Sarai and Tereh’s grandson, Lot.  Avram left over a religious squabble with his father, and he was not to be heard from again.  Where did he go?  How did he survive?  Did he finally settle down?  Has he many children to further his father’s inheritance?  These questions were shrouded in mystery, unknown to any but the gods….

            Until now!  Through many years of perseverance, your faithful, unstoppable reporter, Marcella Gibbon, has discovered the whereabouts of Avram and his clan.  It took years of research, many bribes, much travel, and, frankly, a lucky break.  My sister’s brother-in-law’s cousin happened to be on a trade route from Egypt coming back to Babylon, and he heard of a group of communities in distant Southern Canaan that were recently destroyed in a freak firestorm.  As he was speaking of the devastation—whole cities charred to the ground, populations fried as a burnt sacrifice no matter how they cried out to the gods—he also mentioned that lost in this whole disaster was Lot, Tereh’s grandson! 

            Knowing that this tale might be years after the fact, your intrepid reporter immediately followed the scent of true news.  Should Lot be found, or lost, in a specific area, could Avram be far from that place?  They were two peas in a pod, two pearls in a shell, two twins joined at the hip… in any case, they were close.  So your reporter, Marcella Gibbon, immediately traveled to Southern Canaan in search of the lost son of Tereh, despite caravan dust and camel sores!

            Someday I will tell you of the adventures I had, but I am sure that you are ready to read the interview with Avram, now called Avraham, son of Tereh.   

            I found him in Southern Canaan, just as I suspected, near Salem, a backward town of negligible hospitality (how any community could survive without spiced fermented camel’s milk steamed over boiling water is beyond me!).  But I found, much to my surprise, that though Avram did not live in a city, nor in a country villa, guarded by a hundred slaves, but, rather in tents, living the life of a nomad, a barbarian!  But do not think that his hospitality is barbaric!  He offered me finely woven pillows, dates, freshly baked bread and a stuffed sheep’s head for the mid-afternoon meal.  As I luxuriated in baskable comfort, I asked him many questions about his background and family.

            “Avram, I notice that you are not a poor man,” I led off with in gentle, even tones.

            “Avram,” he chortled, speaking in a quiet, yet charismatic way so different from the strong presence of his father, “it has been many years since anyone has called me that!”

            My razor-sharp reporter’s mind picked up on an important clue: “Is that so?  What do they call you now?”

            “Ah, they call me Avraham.  Although I suppose it is a divine mockery.”26

            “So are you?”

            “Am I what?”

            “A father of multitudes?  Is that not what ‘Avraham’ means?”

            “Quite, quite.  But I don’t really think so.”

            “Don’t think what?”

            “That I am a father of multitudes.  I have only one son.”27

            “Any daughters?”

            “Not a one.”

            “So how is it that you, a man of some means, live out in solitude?  And you have only one son?”

            “Well, Elohim determines all.  He determines where I live.  And he determines how many children I have.”

            “Surely you have made your own choice in these matters?”

            He turned and smiled mysteriously, but darkly, “Surely I did not.”

            “And how could you not?  Did the gods visit you and tell you not to live in the city?  To live as a nomad?”

            “As a matter of fact, He did.  He said that I was not to settle down in Canaan, but to be a wanderer in it’s midst.  Always a stranger, never at home.”28

            “These seem like strange instructions.”

            “Yes, I suppose they might to you.  But he said that this land was to be given as an inheritance to my children, and that I am not to possess them myself.  Thus, though I live in this land of Canaan, it is not to be mine, except through my generations.”29

            “So you are not to have any land on which to live?”

            “We travel around.  You see that we have no lack.”

            “This is true.  But don’t you ever want to have a ranch, not be dependent on the good graces of others?”

            “Of course I do.  But Elohim determines such matters.  Who am I to say?”

            “Yet Canaan will belong to you.”

            “Through my children, yes.”

            “Speaking of children, you say you have only one son?”

            “This is true.”

            “But why is this?  You could have as many children as you wanted!”

            “As I say, my descendants are in the hands of Elohim.”

            “Perhaps with one wife, but you could have as many as you wanted.”

            “Oh, I could never have any other wife than Sarah.”

            “Sarah?  I thought her name was Sarai?”

            “Elohim changed it.”30

            “I see.  But back to your children.  Even if you had only one wife, you could still adopt as many sons as you needed.”

            “Yes, this is true.  I even offered this to Elohim, but he refused.”31

            This constant talk of his god was beginning to irritate your reporter, faithful readers.  Could he truly be so devoted that every subject that is brought up revolves around this “Elohim”?  “You could also have concubines, and Sarah could adopt such children as her own.”

            A look of discomfort crossed his face, “Yes, we did that.”32

            Ah ha!  Now we’re getting somewhere!  “So you do have more than one son?  Or is that how you came by your only son?”

            The look of discomfort was slowly churning his face into agony, “Well, Elohim had me send him away. Once Sarah had our own son.”33

            Your reporter was aghast and appalled, “Send away!  Your firstborn son!  Isn’t that illegal?  Certainly it is immoral!  Would a god truly command such a practice?  Wouldn’t he have you raise both sons?”

            “I hate to speak of it.  It is very painful, as you can imagine.  Elohim wanted only one son to be the blessed one, the one to receive the blessing that I had so many years ago.  And although Ishmael was born first, he was the son of Hagar, not my wife Sarah.  Sarah never liked Ishmael.  And Ishmael was beginning to insist upon the rights of the firstborn… Sarah insisted that I send him and his mother away.  I… couldn’t.  I shouldn’t.  I knew that then, as well as now.  To send them away, into what?  How could they be kept safe?  A boy and his mother… but Elohim insisted.  He said that he would protect them.  I do know that long ago, when Ishmael’s mother ran away while pregnant, a messenger of Elohim appeared before her and assisted her.  Elohim has kept every promise he has ever made.34  I trusted him to do this as well.  So… I sent them away.”

            “To where?”

            “To the hands of Elohim.  I know not where they traveled. But I am sure that they were, and are,  blessed by Elohim.”35

            These words disgusted your reporter, and she had to excuse herself for the evening.   Such irresponsibility!  Such blind faith!  Avraham was so focused on the wishes of his demanding god, that he ignored the realities of life!  He sent his firstborn son into the wilderness, probably to starvation or slaughter by a horrible animal!   And his avoidance of even basic responsibility for his own actions!  Is he truly a man or a hyena hiding behind the shadow of his god?  Your reporter was to find out all too soon!

            The next morning, your reporter was following her usual ritual to arise in the very early morning, before sunrise, to be prepared to worship the Sun as it first peeked its loving head over the mountains of this very strange land.  But as she began the purification ceremony, your observant reporter spied another, in the distance, moving in the dark.  At first Your Eyes in Canaan thought it was just a servant beginning work early, but the movements were odd, not the usual motions of daily labor.  An animal was being packed, with quite a few provisions for a multi-day journey.  But why make such preparations in the dark?  And before anyone was awake?  The answers to such questions eluded your reporter, and so she sneaked in to observe more closely.

            As she peered closer, she saw a figure stooped over a bundle of wood, lifting it manfully and carefully on the back of his animal.  As recognition set in, however, your reporter was forced to exclaim, uncontrollably, “Avraham!”

            Your reporter fears that she might have unintentionally visited our subject with a coronary.  He jumped up, then fell to the ground.  “Oh my,” he breathed, once he was inhaling again.

            “Forgive me, dear, are you all right?”

            “Oh… yes… I’ll be just … fine.”  He bent to stand up, but found himself flailing.  Your compassionate reporter gave him an arm, and faced him closely.  Observant though your reporter is, she had never noted before the deep lines in Avraham’s face, the weathered skin and aged hands.  It was as if in the night, Avraham had aged twenty—nay, forty—years.  Perhaps his confidence on the night before gave him a aura of youth, even exhilaration.  But after his rest, he seemed so frail, so unable to face the storms of life.  Yes, he was working, and his strength was magnificent, but he trembled as if too weak to stand.

            “Is everything all right?”

            “Why shouldn’t it be?” he said as he avoided the question.

            “Well, you seem so…  you seem to be having a hard time, here. Is there a problem?”

            “No, no problem.  I—“  Then he faltered, and quickly turned away.  Was that a tear in his eye?  Has the great rock of faith come against a difficulty he could not blithely lay at the feet of his god?  “I must go…”

            “But Avraham, where?  Where are you going?”

            “I must leave.  With my son.” He became wistful.  “My only son.  Isaac.  Whom I love.  I—I will be back.”

            Blind her eyes may be at times, but a divine spark struck your reporter, and it all became clear now.  The bundle of wood.  Provisions for days.  A secret journey.  And a god who demands unreasonable sacrifices.  “Avraham, no!”

            He looked at me, with knowing eyes.  “I must.  Elohim requires it of me.” 

            “Your only son!”

            “I know.  He came to me in the night.  He spoke so lovingly, so compassionately, knowing that what he was telling me was the most difficult thing I had ever heard in my life.  He called me and I obediently said, ‘Here I am.’  And he asked me to do this deed.  This horrible deed.  But he could not mean it.  He couldn’t…”  Tears flowed freely now down the old man’s face.

            “Just disobey.  Perhaps it is a test.  A test to see if you would do that which your god would never want you to do.  Just tell him no.  He will understand.  Didn’t he give you your son? How could he ask you to throw him away?”

            Avraham’s eyes cleared and he looked up.  He stood straighter.  “Yes.  He gave me my son.  Every promise he ever gave me rests upon Isaac.  My son.  My only son.  He reminded me of that, you know.  ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love.’  He reminded me that Isaac is the only one.”  Avraham’s eyes focused on me, now, “Did I tell you that Elohim promised that I would have so many children that they could not be counted?  As the stars in the sky, as the sand on the shore….   Did I tell you that my descendants would own this whole land—from Sinai to the river Euphrates?  This is what Elohim promised.  This is what he said.  And he has never broken a single one of his promises…”  Avraham became stronger and began packing his animal again.

             “But Avraham, if this is to be so, Isaac—he is the only one through whom these promises could be met!  He is the only one!”

             “Yes.  You are absolutely right.  He IS the only one.  That is the point.”

            Your reporter, though brilliant, at times misses the understanding of the great philosophers.  “So you can’t sacrifice him.  If you do, all hope is lost!”

            At this point, Avraham shocked your reporter to no end.  Avraham did not cower to the unassailable logic of your reporter.  He did not shrink away in fear.  Rather, he laughed.  Laughed so loud that your reporter was surprised that others did not awake in the rising twilight.  “You do not know my Elohim.  Not at all.  It was on his promise of inheritance and generations uncountable that I came to this land—not even knowing where I am going!  It was on Elohim’s promise that I wandered around this putrid country, living off of my wits, when I could have built a city and taken ease.  It was on Elohim’s promise that I rejected all other means of gaining children, even sending away my firstborn, Ishmael, in the distant hopes that another son would be born.  And Issac is the son. He is the fulfillment of all of Elohim’s promise.  Elohim will not take him from me.  Isaac will not be lost.  I don’t care what Elohim said last night.  Isaac is my son for all time.”

            “So you will refuse?”

            Avraham laughed again, “Of course not!  To disobey Elohim at this point is to reject all of the promises he offered me.  Remember this, Marcella, above all you must trust.  Yes, it may seem crazy.  But Isaac is not mine, but Elohim’s.  Elohim gave him to me, and he will do as he pleases with him.  But Elohim promised me Isaac.  And he will not take him away.  I will do as Elohim says.  And it know I must be mad.  But I will give away, even the salvation Elohim has given me, if he so demands it.  You must trust, and all will be well!”

            So off he went, to gather up his son, to go on his journey, and to kill all of his hopes, the mad fool. 

            Your reporter apologizes to her faithful readers.  Life is not just about celebrity balls, births and juicy divorces.  At times your reporter digs and sweats, only to carry to her readers a story of true tragedy.  Thus must be done this day.  Your reporter left that morning, not wanting to look on the sorrow, the funeral, the unending grief.  She has had enough grief in her life.  But know this: for Babylon, the only thing needed to know about Avraham is that he is a foolish servant of Elohim.  If you pray for him, pray for greater wisdom, and a more realistic dream.

26. Abram means “father of many.” Abraham means “father of nations”.  See Genesis 17: 5-6. Abraham truly did become a father of many nations.  Isaac was the father of the Hebrews, as is well known.  Ishmael became the father of the Arabs.  Later in his life, Abraham was the father of a number of other sons, one of whom became the father of the Midianites.  Also, Esau, one of the sons of Isaac became the father of the Edomites.  Not only did Abraham become the physical father of these nations, but he became the spiritual father of all Jews, Christians and Muslims—the majority of the world today.  As to the difference between “Abraham” and “Avraham”, the “b” in Hebrew is often pronounced as a “v”.
Ishmael was Abraham’s first son, but Abraham doesn’t actually know if he is even alive.  Certainly Isaac is the only son Abraham was caring for and living with at the time.

27. Genesis 13:14-18.

28. Genesis 15:13-21.

29. Genesis 17:15-16.

30. Genesis 15:2-4; 17:17-21.

31. Genesis 16.

32. Genesis 21:8-15.

33. Genesis 16:6-14.

34. Which is exactly what happened to Ishmael and his mother, Hagar.  At first, she thought they would die, but they survived and they became a great nation within a single generation.  Now the Ishmaelites have become the Arabic peoples from Iraq all the way across North Africa. Genesis 21:11-20; Genesis 37:25-28.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No Little Drummer Boy Here: The Real Christmas

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,
and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
 to the glory of God the Father.
         Ancient letter to a church plant, otherwise known as Philippians 2:3-11

Father walks into Son’s bedroom.  Son is laying on a single bed, playing with what looks like marbles in a box.  On the wall are posters and bumper stickers: “Creation: Love It Or Leave It” and “You Deserve A Sabbath Today” and “Next Time You Think You’re Perfect, Try Walking on Leviathan” and “The Few, The Proud, the Creators.” 

Father: (Cautious) Hey, Son.

Son: (Sulking, but trying not to show it) Hey, Dad.

Father: Haven’t seen you around lately.

Son: Been busy.


Father: (Trying to sound interested) Oh, really?  Doing what?

Son: You know.  The usual.

Father: (Sighs)  Let’s pretend I don’t know, okay?

Son: Whatever.  Well, right now I’m trying out a new atomic number.

Father: That sounds cool.  Is it stabilizing?

Son: I’m sure it will.  Just need a bit more dark matter.  Few more quarks. 

Father: Great.  That sounds great.

(Pause.  Son keeps playing with marbles in the box.)

Father: So…  I haven’t seen you around lately.

Son: Yeah, you said that.

Father: I kinda hoped that you’d show up at the last staff meeting.

Son: Oh, you wanted me to be there?

Father: Since you are on the Creation staff… yeah, I thought you might want to show up.

Son: I don’t really see the point.

Father: Since you were so significant in starting this whole mess,13 I thought you might want a part in cleaning it up…

Son: Dad, don’t put that on me again…

Father: Look, we need to talk about this.  You were instrumental in the initiation of this project, and at first you were at the heart of sustaining as well, but your heart just hasn’t been in it lately.  Why?  Is there something wrong?  Something I did?

Son: Dad, no, I mean, you’re perfect.

Father: That’s true, but I’m trying to understand your perspective.

Son: It’s just… I’m still disappointed.

Father: About what?

Son: About the humans.

Father: What about them?

Son: Well, look, Dad.  I thought that maybe you’d finally put me in charge of something.    I’m old enough now, I think.  Maybe you don’t think I’m responsible enough—I don’t know.  And here was this project.  The big one.  We were remodeling the earth—again—but this time I really thought we had hit on it, we had done it right.  This was the final try.  But instead of being put in charge of the project, you handed it off to… him.  The human.  I mean, he was a great idea—brilliant, really.  The capstone of the whole project.  But whose idea was it to put him in charge?14 

Father: I think you know…

Son: Yes, Dad, it was your idea.  And I know you’re perfect and all, but—  but—…   What a lame idea!  It wasn’t too many generations later that the whole project had to be wiped out and drafted again, all because of those humans.15

Father: Noah was a good man.

Son: Yeah, fine, when he wasn’t drunk out of his skull!  You told him about fermenting grape juice didn’t you?16

Father: He had a long, hard life.

Son: Sure he did.  That’s because all of these humans—all of them, from Adam to Noah on down— are all STUPID!  As a group they are technologically brilliant, but whether in a group or individually they are moral imbeciles!17  They are just as likely to worship a stump of wood as they are a true god.18  And the way they treat each other—paranoia, lack of empathy, rejection and being rejected for the most idiotic reasons—“Oh, you’re stepping on my land, looks like I need to kill you…”  Just ridiculous!

Father: Moses wasn’t ridiculous.

Son: Yeah, he’s the only one who would pay attention to you.

Father: Avraham paid attention.

Son: Sometimes. But the incident with Abimelech…19

Father: Hey, he’s only human…

Son: That’s the point!  They’re ALL only human.  Yeah, Dad, you chose some great ones there (although I still have some questions about Samson) but still, as a race they have no right to rule.  No right to be in charge of my project!

Father: So, you see this as really being yours?

Son: Oh, no, Dad.  It’s yours.  All yours.  I wouldn’t want to be in charge of it now. 

Father: Oh, really?

Son: No way, it’s all too messed up now… (Father stares at the Son)  Stop it!  Stop this omniscient bit, it’s getting really annoying.

Father: You would like to be in charge of the project.

Son: Well, I think I could do things better…

Father: Then why not show up to the staff meetings?

Son: C’mon, Dad.  The staff meetings are a joke.  You know that Satan’s plan is just to wipe the whole project out.  He’s got most of the staff in his pocket, and they are all subtlety subverting all of humanity against you.  They are trying to force you into a corner to just destroy the whole project and start with something else.  So the staff meetings end up being as ironic as a human committee: (Begins imitating the council) “This human’s great!”  “Oh no, Most High, let me show you what he’s really like.”  “Well, you can try.” 20  And there are these manipulations of nations that end up changing nothing at all.  It just doesn’t matter if it’s Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome—humanity is still just as stupid and just as immoral. 

Father: So you think you could do better.

Son: You bet I could!  We just need to get rid of these gods that encourage evil and guide them into following your law.21  Who knows, perhaps even humans can be trained to do right, if they had the right guidance.

Father: So you want to replace the gods?

Son: Dad, look, they’re taking all the credit that belongs to you.  All creation honors these lesser beings and ignore the Most High.22  You’d think they’d know better, but they don’t.  If we got rid of the gods, we can retrain all of creation and not have to wipe it out again.

Father: Hmmm… good plan Son.  Of course, the gods wouldn’t like that.

Son: So who cares?  You just get rid of them.

Father: I could… if I had a good enough reason.  I can’t just willy-nilly get rid of whatever power in heaven I want to.

Son: Why not?  You’re the Most High, right?

Father. Of course.  Technically I can do whatever I want.  But for me to be just, I have to have sufficient reason to do away with any being.23  I don’t just destroy life because I can.  Well, look Son.  I’ve always though that you had the best aptitude to deal with this project—certainly you were more involved in it initially than any of the others. 

Son: Well, sure.  I got to spend time with my Dad.

Father: Yeah.  It was great, wasn’t it?

Son: It sure was. (Pause.) I’m sorry, Dad.  I… guess I could show up to more staff meetings.  Participate more.  It’s enough to know that you’d listen to me, even if no one else does.

Father: Thanks for the thought.  But I have another committee in mind for you.

Son: (Unsure) Really?  Not the Subcommittee of Restricting Unapproved Epiphanies?  I really think that those guys are…

Father:  No, this committee is really… unique.  And I think you alone have the gifts to do it.

Son: What is it?

Father: I want you to train the humans.  Yourself.

Son: Dad… you know what happens.  You get a group of humans, and there’s all this bowing and “Almighty” this, and nothing ever gets done, and no one listens to you.

Father:  But it might be a way to train the humans not to worship the other gods.

Son: And replace them for me instead.  Sure, I can train them, but it seems wired into the human genome to worship any old slug, as long as it’s got something “glorious” about it.

Father: Not if you are human yourself.

Son: (Shocked)  What?  Be a…  I don’t think you know what you’re asking.

Father: I sure do.  It’s the biggest challenge anyone’s faced.

(Long pause)

Son: But humans… breathe, Dad.  All those germs constantly entering into their lungs, then passing through the tissue and entering the blood stream.  The bacteria they have in their intestines.  Their mouths—they are like a living, walking, zoo!  Disgusting!

Father: I understand.  If you recall, I made the design.

Son: But I’d have to give up creating.  Give up my life’s work…

Father: You won’t stop creating.  Just think of it as just finishing the work you had begun.

Son: I don’t know, Dad.  I mean, if they just saw some human descending from heaven, they’d certainly think that I was a god, no matter what the body…

Father: That’s why you’d have to be born human.

Son: In a womb?  Floating in amniotic fluid for nine months?

Father: Yep. 

Son: Unable to speak for… years?  Humiliated by human parents every day?  Never seen as more than a slave?  And then… puberty? 

Father:  All of these experiences are a part of what makes one human.  If you are going to have the experience, you have to have the full experience.

Son: Adam didn’t, and wasn’t he fully human?

Father: And look how he turned out.

Son: I don’t think being pushed through a vagina would have changed him that much!

Father: (Smirking) You never know until you try.

Son: Dad, this is disgusting!

Father: Yes, I know.  And it is even worse than that.  You will be abused by those who need you the most.  There will be attempts to kill you and there will be nothing you can do.  The gods will come after you, but I will protect you in some limited ways.  But all of this, all of your power, all of your knowledge—you’ll have to set it aside.  The only things you can do or know will be what I give you on a day by day basis.  It’s a tough job.

Son: I just can’t.  This is too much!  Asking me to give up everything I know.  Only to become one of those filthy creatures you erroneously placed in charge of that chaos?  I can’t imagine.  It just isn’t worth it.

Father: It isn’t worth rebuilding all of creation?  It isn’t worth finishing the project you began?  If the project isn’t worth some self-sacrifice, think of this.  All along, you regretted the fact that I gave humans the opportunity to rule the planet.  I believe you called them “filthy worms” at the beginning.

Son: Well, I was exaggerating…

Father: Fine, I accept that.  But the fact of the matter is, I DID give humans rule over creation.  And I can’t just take it away.  That’s one thing I will never change, if I make a promise, I keep it. 

Son: Didn’t you promise Moses you’d kill off the Israelites?

Father: That wasn’t a promise, it was a threat.  You’re getting off the subject.  One way or another, it is a human who will rule all creation.  That’s the foundation of the whole project.  A human will rule, not a heavenly being, but one bound to the earth, made from earth…

Son: Yeah, so, a human will rule…  Oh, I see.  So this gives me the rule over creation. (Brightens) You are giving the project to me!

Father: I’m giving you the OPPORTUNITY to have the project.  It must be given to a human.24  If you become a human, it is possible for you to be in charge of the whole project. 

Son: And the other gods?

Father: If they don’t become human, they aren’t even in the running.

Son:  And Satan?25  

Father: Don’t underestimate him, Son.  He will do everything he can to stand in your way.  And it is possible for him to stop you. You will have to defeat him.  But remember this—you can’t defeat him through your creation powers.  You can’t defeat him through a human army.  There is only one way to defeat him…

Son: Which is…?

Father: We’ll talk about that later.  What I need to know now is, are you going to make the attempt?

Son: To be human?

Father: Yes.  And to be completely obedient to me.

Son: I always do what you say, Dad.

Father: Yes, but trust me, your submission to be will be tested to the utmost limit.

Son: Are you telling me to do this?

Father: Only if you want to.

Son:  If I want?  Of course not.  It is the most horrifying thing I could ever imagine.  Being one of those crawly beings on that planet.  Giving up all the honor and power I have here.

Father: So your answer is…

Son: Yes!  Oh, yeah.  The possibilities… wow.  I’ll have to start making plans.  Thanks Dad, this is a great opportunity.  Thanks for giving it to me.

Father: (Smiling, he shakes his head)  You are such a weird kid…

13. Jesus was at the heart of creating all things.  John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17.
14. Genesis1:26.
15. Genesis 6:5-8.
16. Genesis 9:20-21
17. Humans are smart as a group: Genesis 11:6.  Humans are stupid as individuals: Ecclesiastes 7:20-29; Ecclesiastes 8:17; Isaiah 29:13-14; Jeremiah 8:9; I Corinthians 1:19-21.
18. Isaiah 40:18-21
19. Genesis 20
20. Job 1:6-12.
21. The members of heaven’s council were called “gods”, such as in Psalm 82. Deuteronomy 6:14-18.
22. Isaiah 40:18-21; Romans 1:20-23.
23. Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 27:25; Ezekiel 18.
24. Psalm 8:4-6.
25. The term “satan” in Hebrew is not a name, but a title, the “Accuser” or the district attorney.  The one who accuses humanity of sin before God.  We can see his function in Job 1-2 and Zechariah 3:1-4, as one who accuses the best of humanity of being unacceptable to stand before God.  Satan in the New Testament is one who is the ruler of demons and of gods, and who is ultimately the ruler of the human world (Matthew 12:24; II Corinthians 4:4; Acts 26:18).  To take the world for humanity is truly to take it from the slavery of Satan.