Gospel of John, Part 2

The essay on John 1-12 developed the hypothesis that it was God’s original plan for science to emerge in Alexandria before the time of Christ. This hypothesis is developed further in the essay on John 13-17. One can see throughout John 1-12 that Jesus would have had a far more receptive audience if his listeners had known about scientific thought. John 13 to 17 describes the plan of salvation that can be implemented if one combines a biblical description of incarnation with an understanding of science.

In John 1-12, Jesus performed the steps that were necessary to descend fully from heaven to earth as an incarnation. In John 13-17, Jesus describes steps that could not be carried out at that time but eventually will be implemented during the second half of the book of Revelation.If one approaches John 13-17 from this perspective and builds upon what John says in the book of Revelation as well as in the letter of 1 John, then the following eschatology emerges:

Scientific thought will be extended to construct a rational concept of God and incarnation. This extension will be rejected by the mindset of Judas, and have to contend with the three denials of Peter, but will lead eventually to what I call the theoretical return of Jesus. This theoretical return will open spiritual doors, making it possible to develop what could be referred to as spiritual technology. This will challenge the existing worldview, leading to a major backlash from the ‘dragon and the two beasts’. This persecution will force spiritual technology to expand to become a new culture of spiritually-based existence. As this new culture grows, people will start to glimpse the ultimate reality that lies behind physical reality. This will culminate in the ‘great white throne’, leading to the fulfillment of all the prophecies made by Daniel in the prophecy of the 70 weeks.

I have posted an 85 page essay on John 13-17.

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Gospel of John

The Gospel of John begins by describing Jesus as the Word made flesh. My thesis is that the first 12 chapters of John make cognitive sense as a description of incarnation descending from God in Teacher thought to humanity in Mercy thought. John emphasizes that the starting point for incarnation is righteousness, because Jesus repeatedly says that he only does what he sees the Father doing.

Science can also be described as the word made flesh, because it combines the word of mathematical equations with the flesh of natural process and experiment, and science has also descended from the heaven of abstract theory to the concrete human experience of technological devices.

My hypothesis is that it was God’s original plan for the Jews and Greeks to discover science in Alexandria before the time of Christ. As one goes through the Gospel of John and examines the process of incarnation descending from God to humanity, one can see that Jesus would have had a much more receptive audience if scientific thought had emerged in Alexandria. Thus, I suggest that the Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah really occurred before the birth of Christ, when Judaism chose to pursue mysticism and nationalism rather than scientific thought. Current Christianity continues to practice this same error by insisting that incarnation is an incomprehensible mystery.

I have posted a 176 page two part essay on John 1-12 that provides a rational cognitive analysis of incarnation. This analysis respects incarnation as God and does not bring Jesus down to the level of some semi-deluded Jewish Rabbi. It is a verse-by-verse analysis of the text of the gospel of John that looks at the original Greek and interprets the text both literally and symbolically.

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1 & 2 Thessalonians

Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians talk extensively about the second coming of Christ.  The book of Revelation describes two main aspects to this second coming:  A rational understanding of God is unveiled in Revelation 10 and 11 leading to a theoretical return of Christ at the end of Revelation 11. This rational understanding is then extended to all aspects of society, leading finally to a concrete return of Christ in Revelation 19.

Matthew 24 describes the dismantling of the ‘temple stones’ of  religious truth that prepares the way for the theoretical return of Revelation 11.

1 Thessalonians is written to a group of individuals who are attempting to follow a rational concept of God before the events of Matthew 24, while 2 Thessalonians  is written to a group right after the events of Matthew 24, in which the challenge is to apply the rational understanding that has just been unveiled.  I have added a 30 page discussion of 1 & 2  Thessalonians  to the end of the essay on Matthew 24.

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1 John

I have suspected for a while that the book of 1 John describes a sequence, but I did not know exactly what kind of sequence it contained until I looked at the book in more detail. It appears that 1 John:

  1. Describes the process of personal transformation.
  2. Examines the transition from absolute truth to universal truth that Jesus outlines in Matthew 24.
  3. Describes the highlights  of Revelation 11-19.

Because 1 John is like a series of cognitive snapshots, one must understand the book of Revelation in order to recognize what John is saying in 1 John.

I have posted a 45 page essay on the book of 1 John.

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Matthew 24

Jesus discusses the ‘end times’ in considerable detail in Matthew 24. (Luke 21 and Mark 13 are parallel passages.) I recently presented a new interpretation of the book of Revelation. If this is a valid interpretation, then passages such as Matthew 24 should fit easily into the chronology of Revelation.

arch_of_titusJesus predicts in Matthew 24 that every stone of the Temple will be torn down. This happened literally in A.D. 70. However, I suggest that Matthew 24 is also describing in symbolic language the dismantling of the stones of religious absolute truth. I have posted a 25 page essay that looks at Matthew 24 as a description of the fall of Christendom and the rise of the post-Christian society.

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1 Corinthians

I recently asked a Wycliffe Bible translator which book of the New Testament he found most difficult to translate, and he answered that it was Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Paul’s first letter also contains a number of controversial passages regarding the role of women in the church.paulusI have taken a look  at 1 Corinthians from a cognitive perspective, examining what is happening within the mind, as well as interpreting Paul’s examples using the symbolism found in the book of Revelation. 1 Corinthians is not a hodgepodge of unrelated topics,  nor the ramblings of a cranky, misogynistic bachelor. Instead, it explains in careful language what it means to follow the message of rebirth. More generally, it appears to be a more personal version of the book of Revelation, because both Revelation and 1 Corinthians describe the unfolding and unveiling of Jesus Christ as the incarnation of God.

I have posted a 130  page essay on 1  Corinthians.

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The Internet and Morality

Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message. While I think that this is an overstatement, I have found that there is a strong tendency for the medium to shape the message. This essay looks at the message of morality and personal transformation that is implicitly conveyed by the medium of computers and the Internet.

internet-networksI am not suggesting that all of the content of the Internet is good. However, it appears that the structure of computers and the Internet is a physical expression of the type of thinking that emerges when a person goes through the three stages of personal transformation, which are personal honesty,  righteousness,  and rebirth. I have posted a 28 page essay that attempts to explore this correspondence.

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Kabbalah

The Wikipedia page for Christian theology is extensive, while the page for Jewish theology redirects to Jewish philosophy. Kabbalah has the reputation of being something mysterious, and its history is shrouded in mystery, but it is actually the Jewish substitute for theology. It begins with the assumption that monotheism means worshiping a God of mysticism. It then uses the interaction between mysticism and rational thought as a starting point for constructing a general theory, and this theory of mysticism is then interpreted as a cognitive model.

Tree_of_LifeKabbalah describes the interaction between mysticism and rational thought quite well, and the cognitive interpretation also contain some insights. However, the mystical side of the theory does not fit with the cognitive side. And despite being a Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah contains surprisingly little content from the Torah. That is why I refer to it as a substitute for theology.

I have posted an 84 page essay that analyzes the fundamental concepts of Kabbalah from a cognitive perspective.

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Meine Reise nach Palästina

My grandfather, Isaac P. Friesen, took a three-month trip to the Mediterranean in 1910, and he wrote a book in German about his travels entitled Meine Reise nach Palästina. This book is out of print and is not on the Internet, so I have made the text available, and have also scanned some souvenirs from this trip. As the title of the book suggests, the main focus of the book is the portion of the trip that was spent visiting Jerusalem, Jericho, and Bethlehem, which were then part of the Ottoman Empire.

cruise300px-FriesenIP

This book also has broader appeal because it is a record of travel to the Middle East during the brief period of time when modern technology coexisted peacefully with King, Kaiser, and Sultan. And not everyone’s grandfather has climbed (almost) to the top of the great pyramid of Giza.

 

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Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Louis Berkhof taught at Calvin Theological Seminary for almost four decades and was the president of the seminary for 13 years. His 830 page book on systematic theology is still regarded as a standard textbook of reformed theology.systematicMy basic premise is that thinking is not done in a vacuum, but rather is guided by fundamental assumptions, which themselves are shaped by the structure of the mind. Postmodern thought deconstructs authors by pointing out their fundamental assumptions, leaving a person with nothing. Cognitive analysis puts the pieces back together by using a cognitive model to explain why an author thinks in a certain manner. This makes it possible to compare and evaluate different authors on the basis of mental wholeness. Does a system of thought promote mental wholeness, or is it guided by natural assumptions that end up fragmenting the mind?

Most of Berkhof’s systematic theology can be explained as a combination of religious attitude, overgeneralization, and biblical fundamentalism—in that order. Religious attitude believes that the source of religious truth has far greater emotional status than personal identity, leading to the feeling that I am nothing compared to God. Religious attitude plays a dominant role in most religions. Overgeneralization occurs naturally whenever factual knowledge is limited and one is dealing with universal topics. Overgeneralization also plays a dominant role in most religions because God is a universal being while knowledge about God is limited.

The religious attitude is usually sensed personally within Mercy thought. Reformed theology treats it as an overgeneralized theory within Teacher thought and then uses technical thought to place scriptural content within this overgeneralized theory of ‘total human depravity’.

I have posted a 79 page essay on Berkhof’s Systematic Theology with extensive quotes that show that most of Berkhof’s system of theology emerges naturally as a result of this combination. I have also included an analysis of R.C. Sproul’s video series on predestination.

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