Sunday, December 27, 2020

What is the human condition?

I have heard lots of sermons on 'sin'. There is one here delivered Christmas Day from an old friend. He, as others have, 'explains' sin using the arrow analogue, to miss the mark. I thought I could not carry this back into the Hebrew where sin k'ta has no analogy or metaphor connected to the root. Arrow shares (kx) one letter. Like a single word, a single letter doesn't seem to provide a reliable association of thought. But I noted in a comment on the sermon that I did translate k'ta one place in the Scripture using that analogy. It is highly suggestive in the context of Judges 20:16, 

From all this people, seven hundred men chosen were hampered in the right hand.
All these could sling with a stone at a hair and not miss.

This is my artificial hapax. I could hardly make it a foundation of a doctrine of sin. The first Testament is song. The explainers of the Newer seem to get lost in explanations. In my humanity, I share the inheritance of Adam. I am from the ground, though not much is made of this until Paul. And I share the inheritance of David in whom I see the heart of Yahweh in action. And by my baptism and tradition, I share the inheritance of Jesus. I seek to emulate the character of Yahweh as there portrayed. I have not been very good at this. But - in other words, I follow. 

Carrying forward my question in the post on Psalms 93 (who is this Yahweh) and further reflecting on the character of David as portrayed by Psalms 51, let's hear more about Yahweh from Psalms 148. This is all to show that the one who bears this name can stand having people ask him personal questions. How near are we?

Psalms 148
הַ֥לְלוּ־יָ֨הּ ׀ הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֑יִם
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בַּמְּרוֹמִֽים
a hllu-ih hllu at-ihvh mn-hwmiim
hlluhu bmromim
1 Hallelu Yah. Praise Yahweh from the heavens.
Praise him on the high ground.
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ כָל־מַלְאָכָ֑יו
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־צְבָאָֽיו
b hlluhu cl-mlaciv
hlluhu cl-xbaiv
2 Praise him all his angels.
Praise him all his hosts.
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ שֶׁ֣מֶשׁ וְיָרֵ֑חַ
הַ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־כּ֥וֹכְבֵי אֽוֹר
g hlluhu wmw virk
hlluhu cl-cocbi aor
3 Praise him sun and moon.
Praise him all stars of light.
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ שְׁמֵ֣י הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם
וְ֝הַמַּ֗יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ מֵעַ֬ל הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
d hlluhu wmi hwmiim
vhmim awr myl hwmiim
4 Praise him the heaven of heavens,
and the waters which are above the heavens.

יְֽ֭הַֽלְלוּ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה
כִּ֤י ה֭וּא צִוָּ֣ה וְנִבְרָֽאוּ
h ihllu at-wm ihvh
ci hua xivvh vnbrau
5 Let them praise the name of Yahweh,
for he gave the commission and they were created.
וַיַּעֲמִידֵ֣ם לָעַ֣ד לְעוֹלָ֑ם
חָק־נָ֝תַ֗ן וְלֹ֣א יַעֲבֽוֹר
v viymidm lyd lyolm
koq-ntn vla iybor
6 And he makes them stand now and forever.
He gave a decree and it will not pass away.

הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ
תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים וְכָל־תְּהֹמֽוֹת
z hllu at-ihvh mn-harx
tninim vcl-thomot
7 Praise Yahweh from the earth,
dragons and all abysses.
אֵ֣שׁ וּ֭בָרָד שֶׁ֣לֶג וְקִיט֑וֹר
ר֥וּחַ סְ֝עָרָ֗ה עֹשָׂ֥ה דְבָרֽוֹ
k aw ubrd wlg vqi'tor
ruk syrh yowh dbro
8 Fire and hail snow and vapour,
tempestuous wind doing its thing.
הֶהָרִ֥ים וְכָל־גְּבָע֑וֹת
עֵ֥ץ פְּ֝רִ֗י וְכָל־אֲרָזִֽים
't hhrim vcl-gbyot
yx pri vcl-arzim
9 Mountains and all hillocks,
fruit trees and all cedars.

הַֽחַיָּ֥ה וְכָל־בְּהֵמָ֑ה
רֶ֝֗מֶשׂ וְצִפּ֥וֹר כָּנָֽף
i hkih vcl-bhmh
rmw vxipor cnf
10 The animal and all cattle,
creeping organism and winged bird.
מַלְכֵי־אֶ֭רֶץ וְכָל־לְאֻמִּ֑ים
שָׂ֝רִ֗ים וְכָל־שֹׁ֥פְטֵי אָֽרֶץ
ia mlci-arx vcl-laumim
wrim vcl-wop'ti arx
11 Sovereigns of earth and all tribes,
nobility and all who judge on earth.
בַּחוּרִ֥ים וְגַם־בְּתוּל֑וֹת
זְ֝קֵנִ֗ים עִם־נְעָרִֽים
ib bkurim vgm-btulot
zqnim ym-nyrim
12 Youths in their prime and even maidens,
the aged with youngsters.

יְהַלְל֤וּ ׀ אֶת־שֵׁ֬ם יְהוָ֗ה כִּֽי־נִשְׂגָּ֣ב שְׁמ֣וֹ לְבַדּ֑וֹ
ה֝וֹד֗וֹ עַל־אֶ֥רֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם
ig ihllu at-wm ihvh ci-nwgb wmo lbdo
hodo yl-arx vwmiim
13 Let them praise the name of Yahweh, for set on high is his name, his alone,
his splendour over earth and heaven.
וַיָּ֤רֶם קֶ֨רֶן ׀ לְעַמּ֡וֹ תְּהִלָּ֤ה לְֽכָל־חֲסִידָ֗יו לִבְנֵ֣י יִ֭שְׂרָאֵל עַֽם קְרֹב֗וֹ הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ id virm qrn lymo thilh lcl-ksidiv lbni iwral ym qrobo hllu-ih 14 And he will exalt the horn of his people, a praise of all those under his mercy, of the children of Israel, a people near him. Hallelu Yah.
Time is of the created order. Character is spooky action at a distance. Birth is the split beam experiment, and death, the measuring device.

I was working on this post in my head when I read this recent presentation on this subject of the human condition by Psalter Mark, an online acquaintance. Apparently, like me, an engineer rather than a pastor.


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